Way back in the day, when casting was revealed for the twelve tributes of The Hunger Games‘s movie adaptation, there was a hiccup of sorts. It was the first time that some fans were presented with a fact that they might have glossed over while reading the books. It was the first time I saw the “Wait, Rue and Cinna are black?” conversation happening. As I am constantly reminding myself, not everybody follows movie news as closely as others, and so this weekend the movie’s release began the “conversation” anew, and with a vengeance. Apparently, there were a lot of people out there who felt that Rue’s race “ruined” the movie, that it made her death “less sad,” made her character less “innocent,” and that, along with Cinna, the producers had made all the “good” characters black.
Rue, to make things more infuriating from the reading comprehension standpoint, is explicitly described as having dark skin and hair, and Suzanne Collins has also said outright and publicly that she and her fellow District 11 tribute Thresh are African-American. The whole thing is sad and depressing enough without knowing that thirteen-year-old actress Amandla Stenberg, the voracious reader, fan of the books, and to all appearances a very sweet and eloquent young lady who played Rue, knows all about it.