Marvel's Black Panther, in addition to shining a light on one of the most elite superheroes within the Marvel Universe, inadvertently served as a source of pride by holding a mirror up to Black people with darker complexions and hues. With the reason for this being that in the fictional African country of Wakanda, colonization never occurred, richer skin tones were predominantly seen over fairer ones throughout the film.
This, however, could have been different had this young actress chosen to move forward with the auditioning process. She recently revealed, though, that she personally chose to walk away since she knew what this film represented was much bigger than her.
The actress who almost made it as a part of the main cast is Everything, Everything star Amandla Stenberg.
Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images
In a recent interview with CBC Arts' Amanda Parris, she explained that while she was within arm's reach of being cast in the record-breaking film, she came to the realization that this was a moment for darker-skinned actors to be authentically represented on arguably the largest platform in Hollywood.
"One of the most challenging things for me to do was to walk away from Black Panther," she said. "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.'"
Going more in-depth with her reasoning, she added that she felt like her addition to the cast would have seemed odd to viewers.
"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.
The 19-year-old actress and activist admitted that while it was certainingly one of the hardest decisions she's had to make in her career, thus far, walking away from the role was for the best.
"That was really challenging, to make that decision, but I have no regrets," she said. "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."
Throughout the interview, Stenberg refrained from revealing which role she was close to being offered. However, given her age, fans have concluded that it was likely the role of tech genius and King T'Challa's sister, Shuri, ultimately and phenominally played by Letitia Wright.
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