Amandla Stenberg, known for her portrayal as Rue in The Hunger Games, rejected a role in Black Panther. She opened up about the reason why she ultimately felt she had to turn it down.
Amandla realized during her casting process that Black Panther would have huge cultural significance. She admitted to CBC Arts that saying no to the role was very difficult:
“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.'”
She ultimately felt her light skin didn’t fit with the narrative:
“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.”
The 19-year-old didn’t specify which role she was offered, but some think it may have been for Shuri, T’Challa’s sister. Despite the enormous success of Black Panther, Amandla has no regrets:
“That was really challenging, to make that decision, but I have no regrets. I recognisze 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.”