When Amandla Stenberg first popped onto the mainstream media’s radar, it was with unexpected controversy. Some fans of Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games were enraged to find that Amandla, a black actress, was cast to play Rue… a black character. This initial controversy seems to have foreshadowed the enormous social impact Stenberg, now 17, would have on young celebrity activism, and the role she now champions as an outspoken critique of society’s treatment of black women.
These days, Amandla uses various forms of social media to spread messages of respect, inclusion, and intersectional feminism. Here are a few of her best tweets, Snapchats, Instagram posts, and YouTube videos.
- “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows: A Crash Discourse on Black Culture”
In a video for her history class, Amandla discusses cultural appropriation and its implications on mainstream perceptions of black youth. She breaks down cultural appropriation in an accessible way, stating that, “Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated but is deemed as high-fashion, cool, or funny when the privileged take it for themselves. Appropriation occurs when the appropriator is not aware of the deep significance of the culture they are partaking in.” In introducing a concept many teenagers (and adults!) don’t really understand, she offers an invaluable lesson on why understanding cultural appropriation is important, and how it is relevant today.
- What is The Misfortune of The Minority Mistress? Instagram post
In this recent Instagram post, Amandla offers “some thoughts on my consistently shifting relationships w my body/feeling shame for black sexuality.” A beautiful and complex ode to black womanhood.
- This Tweet:
- Amandla took over the Teen Vogue snapchat in January of 2016 to come out as a bisexual black woman.
“It’s a really really hard thing to be silenced and it’s deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mold yourself into shapes that you just shouldn’t be in. As someone who identifies as a black, bisexual woman I’ve been through it, and it hurts, and it’s awkward and it’s uncomfortable…but then I realized because of Solange and Ava DuVernay and Willow and all the black girls watching this right now, that there’s absolutely nothing to change.”
What makes her coming out even more awesome is the light it shines on intersectionality in feminism. Intersectionality discusses the ways all oppression (whether it be due to race, sexuality, ableism, classism, etc) is related, and requires understanding that different people have different experiences and that oppressions is multi-faceted.
- And continuing on the topic of intersectional feminism….
Sophie Tegenu is an avid reader and writer from the “Mushroom Capital” of the world. When she’s not fulfilling her duties as a Teen Advisor for the class of 2015-2016, she is eating macaroons and watching “VEEP”.