Young People to Watch: #2 - Amandla Stenberg

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First of all, a big thank you to Martha Sheridan for suggesting and encouraging me to post about Amandla Stenberg. I had been considering to post about Amandla, but I had covered her in different posts so was unsure. But she's such an inspiring individual that I think talking about her is a good idea!

This is my second post in my Young People to Watch series, number one was Tavi Gevinson. < Read there. Second of all, how stunning is Amandla? Amandla is literally one of the most beautiful girls I've ever seen. Most of you, if you pay any sort of attention to pop culture will know when Amandla Stenberg first came into prominence. If not, I'll show you:



She co-starred with Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, playing Rue a young girl from District 11 in the first "Hunger Games" film. While she was only in the film for a short amount of time, she made a huge impression on audiences. There had been controversy surrounding her being cast as Rue. Many readers were not happy with a black actress playing Rue. However, when reading the book I'm fairly sure the author never describes the character of Rue as white. In fact, Rue is described as "dark skinned"

While she hasn't had many film roles, Amandla is an actress turned social activist. For many years now she has been really vocal in calling for equal rights for African American people.

In 2014, Amandla posted a video on her Tumblr blog, titled "Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows" which brought the issue of cultural appropriation into focus among both the media and young people. In the video, Amandla shows examples of how elements of black culture have been adapted by white people, displaying how black culture is only seen to be attractive when white people use it. She uses this video to encourage others to stand up to this. She calls out singers such as Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus.



In 2013, Amandla began performing songs on the violin and released an EP called "Honeywater" in August 2015 with one of her best friends called Zander Hawley. Their genre is folk/rock and you can buy it here on iTunes. I finally got the chance to listen to the EP today, while writing this post. I can tell you, within a few seconds of listening, a smile crept across my face. In a few words, the EP can be described as "absolutely lovely" and I encourage you to listen. More information here.





In July 2015, Amandla commented on a picture of Kylie Jenner on Instagram. In Kylie's Instagram she had her hair in cornrows, where she was culturally appropriating black women's hairstyles.
Amandla responded like this:

"When [you] appropriate black features and culture but fail to use [your] position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards [your] wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter."

To which Kylie snidely replied with "Go hang with Jaden (Smith) or something".
The media went crazy, branding Amandla with the label "Angry black girl", stating that Kylie was only a young girl and it was okay to make mistakes. Even Justin Bieber decided to get involved, asking that Kylie be allowed to "just be a kid", ignoring the fact that Amandla is 16 years old, a year younger than Kylie. The divide between white and black celebrities was apparent.Whereas Amandla responded in a calm and collected manner headlines screamed the following:



Amandla "slams" Kylie, Amandla Stenberg's "Attack". Look at the phrasing and when you actually read what happened, Kylie Jenner's retort was more rude than anything that Amandla had said. That really made my blood boil when I read it. NOTE TO YOU ALL, don't read Hollywoodlife.com!
Read more on the story here.

I  wrote a post in support of black rights here, titled Black and White: Angry black girl label, police brutality and uneducated people and another post called Activism: You have a voice, please use it.


A great interview was released in the Autumn issue of Dazed and Confused magazine. I absolutely adored this interview and it definitely spurred me on to write about this girl in my Young People to Watch series.

Amandla is also friends with Tavi Gevinson, the young woman who I covered in my first post in this series. Amandla has contributed to posts on the site RookieMag.com which I'll show you here. Amandla discusses things that inspire her which I found very interesting as many of the people in the piece were African American who I hadn't heard of:


Amandla is also co-writing a comic book called "Niobe: She is Life", which will be published in November 2015. It tells the story of Niobe a young black warrior woman. This is very exciting and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product. More information here.







(Photos and videos as always as for decorative purposes only, full copyright to the owners)

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2 comments

  1. Amandla is so beautiful and amazing, I've been kind of obsessed with everything that she does, and I absolutely loved this post!

    WonderGoth

    ReplyDelete
  2. She is absolutely awesome. As a 16 year old, she's not much older than me and I can only dream to be as powerful as her.

    -M
    The Life of Little Me

    ReplyDelete

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