‘The Acolyte’ Lead Amandla Stenberg Claims To “Welcome Criticism Of The Show”, Suggests Large Chunk Of Negative Coverage Is “Clickbait Journalism”

Osha (Amandla Stenberg) finds herself entranced by Qimir's (Manny Jacinto) philosophy towards the Dark Side in The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 6 'Teach/Corrupt' (2024), Disney

In the opinion of series lead Amandla Stenberg, while there may be some legitimate complaints regarding The Acolyte‘s production, the negative coverage surrounding the Star Wars series is nothing more than algorithim baiting and “clickbait journalism.”

Osha (Amandla Stenberg) confronts her feelings of anger towards Qimir (Manny Jacinto) in The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 6 'Teach/Corrupt' (2024), Disney
Osha (Amandla Stenberg) brings Qimir’s (Manny Jacinto) lightsaber to his own throat in The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 6 ‘Teach/Corrupt’ (2024), Disney

RELATED: Nielsen Data Shows ‘The Acolyte’ Had Second-Worst Premiere Ratings Of Any Disney Star Wars Series

Stenberg offered her thoughts on the series’ less-than-stellar audience reception during a July 8th appearance on The View (itself notably produced and broadcast by the Disney-owned ABC).

Amandla Stenberg Talks Starring In New ‘Star Wars’ Series ‘The Acolyte’ | The View

Asked by show co-host Sunny Hostin if she could speak to the “intolerable racism” – as described by the actress herself in the Instagram caption to her previously released diss track – she claimed to have received from unhappy Star Wars fans in response to her casting, Stenberg asserted, “It’s been very painful for me.”

“It’s not something that I think you can emotionally prepare for, and we welcome criticism of the show when it comes to storytelling or performance, but when it comes to death threats, horrific, violent racist language, it’s unacceptable to me,” she continued. “And I’ve had to think really deep and hard about when you display discipline and when you display honor, and I guess what I mean by that is, when do you decide to utilize discipline to not engage in a reactive way to hatred and when do you decide to engage in honor by honoring your values and your belief system? And in this case, I decided that that was the most important thing to me, to be vocal, because I think that silence can send a message as well, and inaction can be very dangerous.”

Mae (Amandla Stenberg) finds it hard to believe Qimir's (Manny Jacinto) bravado in The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 4 'Day' (2024), Disney
Mae (Amandla Stenberg) finds it hard to believe Qimir’s (Manny Jacinto) bravado in The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 4 ‘Day’ (2024), Disney

To this end, the actress then raised the topic of her aforementioned musical response to The Acolyte‘s supposedly racist critics, informing her hosts, “So I made a diss track. It’s called Discourse and it really is about, you know, what I have been experiencing, but it’s also just about the divisiveness for the culture and how difficult it is to navigate information in this new era.”

“It’s so difficult to tell what is true, you know, online,” she further explained of the song’s premise. “And these online algorithms, they shape our realities and our thinking, and clickbait journalism and these algorithms also profit from our rage and our hatred. I feel like that’s something we’re aware of but we don’t necessarily have discourse or infrastructure around because it’s so new.”

Notably, given that she explicitly admitted to making the song in response to The Acolyte discourse, Stenberg’s note that Dscourse was written as a response to a ‘new era of clickbait journalism’ comes off, intentionally or otherwise, as a commentary on the critical coverage given to the show by not only YouTubers, but also such outlets as Forbes, ScreenRant, and even BIC.

Osha (Amandla Stenberg) agrees to help Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 4 "Day" (2024), Disney
Osha (Amandla Stenberg) agrees to help Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 4 “Day” (2024), Disney

RELATED: ‘The Acolyte’ Showrunner Leslye Headland Defends Series’ Portrayal Of The Jedi, Says It “May Feel Like I’m Criticizing The Jedi As They Exist In George Lucas’ Ouevre” But “That’s Not The Case”

For those who missed it upon its Juneteenth debut, Discourse sees Stenberg pushing back against the “silly racists” who she alleged made up a sizeable portion of The Acolyte‘s pool of critics.

Played over black and white footage of Stenberg both singing and dancing to the song as she walks around the streets of Brooklyn, the song begins with the actress clarifying that her previous admission that “making white people cry” was the goal of her 2018 film The Hate U Give was meant as a call to empathy rather than a desire to see said demographic genuinely hurt.

“I’m going viral on Twitter again / Open up the news to find some interesting things / 20 million views / Interview from 2018 / With Trevor [Noah] the king when I was a teen / I was running from city to city to speak on a story / You know the one: Police murdering a black boy / My people cried in theaters finding release / White people cried they could see us as human beings / Trevor ask what I want the people to know / I say white people crying was the goal / If they could take one thing what would it be? / I say empathy”.

Amandla Stenberg speaks with Trevor Noah about her film The Hate U Give on The Daily Show (2018), Comedy Central

Next, Stenberg asserts, “Ooooo that’s why they mad at me? / They splice lines make hate they recognize / Make it look like the same propaganda they spew / Cuz they conflate our pain with violence / And try to weaponize everything that we do / The desperation of oppressors is rising / And now they holding onto any of thing they can use / If you rely upon misinformation / That tells me you’re afraid of the truth.”

Following the first instance of its chorus – “We so bored / don’t f–k with your discourse” – Stenberg then takes issue with the evolution of the word ‘woke’ from a term used exclusively by black people in reference to keeping appraised of the different ways in which they were being socioeconomically oppressed to one used by everyone as a short hand adjective meaning ‘performatively liberal’.

“And now you listening imma tell you something fascinating / They spinning ‘woke’ bastardize it and appropriate it / last I recall woke was something we created / Speak truth to power / Keep an eye out for you silly racists / And now they use it to describe anything they threatened by / Remember when [Childish] Gambino put it in the zeitgeist? [via his 2016 song Redbone] / It was all about the people recognizing bigotry / The power of community / Not fodder for your clickbait.”

Osha (Amandla Stenberg) considers slaying Qimir (Manny Jacinto) with his own lightsaber in The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 6 'Teach/Corrupt' (2024), Disney
Osha (Amandla Stenberg) considers slaying Qimir (Manny Jacinto) with his own lightsaber in The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 6 ‘Teach/Corrupt’ (2024), Disney

“Speaking of which, journalists, I’m looking at you / Did you forget it’s your job to provide the truth? / Spreading divisiveness mining the metrics and date / Seem you gave up all your ethics for money and views / And I can tell that the people are tired / And the kids don’t trust anything that they view / We can learn something from their discernment / the future’s coming and it’s always the youth.”

After a final run of the chorus, Stenberg then closes out the song, “My sis said don’t let it get down my spirit / But I’m sick and f–kin tried of suppressing my rage / 400 years of taking their bullshit / To compartmentalize like my ancestors had to encage / If you don’t confront the pain that you live with / It’ll manifest as addiction disease and hate / I’ve seen the infection repressing can give ya / I’m not goin to be the next one sent to an early grave.”

Osha (Amandla Stenberg) dons Qimir's (Manny Jacinto) helmet in The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 6 'Teach/Corrupt' (2024), Disney
Osha (Amandla Stenberg) dons Qimir’s (Manny Jacinto) helmet in The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 6 ‘Teach/Corrupt’ (2024), Disney

The next episode of The Acolyte is on track to fumble onto Disney Plus on July 9th.

NEXT: ‘The Acolyte’ Showrunner Leslye Headland Stands Behind Qimir Bathing Scene: “From A Narrative Perspective, It Had To Happen. It Had To.”

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