Sydney Agudong Cast As Nani In "Lilo & Stitch" And Fans Are Accusing Producers Of "Colorism"

A live-action version of "Lilo & Stitch" is on its way, but fans are unhappy with the casting of Nani, Lilo's older sister and guardian.

By Gina Florio1 min read
nani lilo & stitch

We're in the era of live-action remakes of classic animated movies, and Lilo & Stitch is next on the list. The original 2002 film follows a young girl in Hawaii who adopts a pet that she thinks is a dog. She names him Stitch but soon learns that he is an extraterrestrial who escaped from a foreign planet and crash-landed on Earth. He becomes her dear friend and sidekick as Lilo finds a way to open up Stitch's heart and introduce him to the human world. An important character in Lilo & Stitch is Nani, Lilo's older sister, who is her guardian since their parents prematurely passed away. The announcement of who will play Nani in the live-action remake of the film has caused a stir online, resulting in accusations of "colorism" and white-washing.

Sydney Agudong Cast as Nani in Lilo & Stitch and Fans Are Accusing Producers of "Colorism"

The live-action version of Lilo & Stitch is set to release in 2024 on Disney+, starring Zach Galifianakis, Billy Magnussen, and Maia Kealoha. The latest addition is Sydney Agudong, who will play the role of Nani. But this decision has caused a stir online, resulting in many fans questioning why a young woman who appears to be white has been picked to play a Hawaiian character.

Sydney was born and raised on the island of Hawaii, but in many of her pictures she appears to be light-skinned. "That is a white women. Hope the little mermaid complainers give the same energy to this," someone replied in the Twitter thread.

"Nani was a dark Hawaiian woman, what is this," a person wrote.

"But Nani is a beautiful melanin legend :((" someone else said.

Sydney's headshot may make her appear white, but visiting her Instagram page offers a different perspective. She is clearly an island girl who could easily pass for Hawaiian, even if she is a little lighter-skinned than some other Hawaiians.

A release date isn't set yet for the live-action Lilo & Stitch, but we know the script was written by Chris Kekaniokalani Bright, and it will be directed by Dean Fleischer Camp.