OMG! There are black people in The Hunger Games

I am quick to scoff at you Twi-hards (a.k.a. Twilighters) and I frequently make fun of Potterheads, but I have a confession: I am counting down the days to The Hunger Games movie (only 127 more to go). And I got chills when I watched the recently released trailer (below).

But my blood started boiling when I read some of the comments from people who couldn’t believe that two of the main characters are *gasp* black! (Drop by Nerdgasm Noire Network to check out some examples of reactions.)

Some of you may think this is no reason to be upset. It’s natural for fans to want the cast to reflect their vision of the characters. And I’ll be honest, I was shocked that Cinna, who will be played by Lenny Kravitz, and Rue, who will be played by Amandla Stenberg, were black too. But instead of being appalled I was excited. 

Then I asked myself why was I surprised especially considering that in the book Rue is described as having “dark brown skin and eyes.” Why? Because, quite frankly, as a minority I never expect to be represented in something that’s not marketed as being for “people of color.” The fact that I still feel this way in 2011 makes me sad and the fact that it seems like some people think we coloreds need to stay out of their Hunger Games pisses me off.

Even though Rue is described as African-American and this has been confirmed by director Garry Ross and author Suzanne Collins, fans insist that she must be white because, as Nerdgasm Noire Network blogger states, “White people are considered the norm in society; the default person.” And sometimes I worry this will never change. 



  1. I assumed Rue was African American and thought she looked just like I pictured her. Cinna surprised me, but in a good way. I didn’t have a clear idea of what he looked like. I like his casting. I was confused by Gale and Peeta’s hair colors. I thought they were opposite. Katness seems too old to me. And I pictured Woody Harrelson more head shaved than Brad Pitt-ish… (please pardon any spelling errors. I listened to all of them, didn’t “read” them.)

  2. The problem with most readers is that they don’t bother to expand their spectrum while reading, despite reading that Rue had “dark skinned and eyes”, they all just assumed it was a “small white girl with an incredible tan”. Its sad that people have to find something in a great book to be upset about. If it were Hollywood making a change due to Poetic License, that’s one thing to be upset about (i.e. Kingpin in the movie Daredevil being Black), but to be upset cause the writer’s vision of the character is actually being followed? That’s stupid.

    You read to expand your vocabulary and escape from reality, don’t make the mistake of narrowing your mindset.

  3. I read the comments, and they pissed me off, too–especially the ones from people who said they felt no sympathy when they saw the black characters die in the movie, but had cried when the same presumably tan but white characters died in the book! This is exactly what people, self-included, are talking about in the national conversation surrounding Trayvon Martin’s shooting: Black life is worthless. Not worth tears. Not even worth $7 to $10 to get into a movie.

    It’s also incredibly disturbing to see these kinds of comments from people who I assume are the book and movie’s target audience: teens. We’re quick to assume bigotry is only in the hearts of old people. If we can’t even depend on young people not to be racist, Lord, help us.

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