Not that I really had a problem with Evangeline Lilly’s portrayal of the character in the movie, even if a vocal number of Tolkien fans apparently did. I thought a female warrior like her provided a refreshing with the male sausage fest that dominated the rest of the cast. Maybe it wouldn’t jive well with Tolkien’s gender attitudes, but then he was a man who grew up and died in a very different sociopolitical climate from ours. I don’t believe Jackson is obligated to let Tolkien’s obsolete prejudices influence the revisions he’s making for a 21st-century audience. Furthermore, since Tolkien is dead and can’t complain about how his mythos is misrepresented, the movies are for all intents and purposes Jackson’s story. He can make it as diverse with regards to gender, race, or whatever as he wants.
I admit that an African Tauriel wouldn’t make a lot of sense given the pseudo-medieval European trappings of Middle Earth (though I did spot some African extras in the movie’s water-town scenes). However, if a female warrior in Middle Earth is enough to unhinge certain Tolkien fans, it would be hilarious to see their reaction if she was African or otherwise non-European.