Letitia Wright’s turn as Shuri in Marvel blockbuster Black Panther is one of 2018’s breakout roles and it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing her.
However, there were other actresses in the running to play Shuri and Amandla Stenberg was one of them. Speaking to ESSENCE at the publication’s annual Black Women in Hollywood event, Stenberg explained why she decided not to pursue the role of T’Challa’s tech-obsessed sister.
“I was in the audition process for it, then I decided to not continue with the process because I thought that it wouldn’t be right for me as a biracial, light-skinned American to be playing [the role],” she told ESSENCE.
Black Panther has been celebrated for its representation of dark-skinned women and for showcasing natural beauty. From the Dora Milaje to Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, Black women, specifically dark-skinned Black women, are front and center in the film.
Stenberg adds, “I don’t think visually it [would’ve] make sense and it wasn’t appropriate for me to go after that role. Black Panther is one of the only films that we have that has darker-skinned representation. That’s what was so beautiful about it.”