Marvel’s Black Panther is all about melanin magic. However, some folks have said that the film excludes lighter-skinned Blacks, which is ridiculous. However, Amandla Stenberg revealed she bowed out of Black Panther auditions because “there are spaces that I should not take up.”
The 19-year-old woke-as-hell actress said in an interview in Toronto for the TIFF Next Wave Festival, “One of the most challenging things for me to do was to walk away from Black Panther. I got really, really close and they were like, ‘Do you want to continue fighting for this?’ And I was like, ‘This isn’t right.’ These are all dark-skin actors playing Africans and I feel like it would have just been off to see me as a biracial American with a Nigerian accent just pretending that I’m the same color as everyone else in the movie.” She continued, “That was really challenging, to make that decision, but I have no regrets. I recognize 100 percent that there are spaces that I should not take up, and when I do take up a space, it’s because I’ve thought really, really critically about it and I’ve consulted people I really trust and it feels right.”
Every so-called ally or person who needs to check their privilege should have “there are spaces that I should not take up” etched in their brain. Kudos to Amandla for being aware enough to know that no matter how much she would’ve loved to be part of the project — who wouldn’t?! — that was not her space. We can’t say all actresses make that same decision… e.g. Halle Berry as an African queen named Storm. We all love Halle … just saying.
Big applause for Amandla.