Amandla Stenberg is an 18-year-old actress and activist who has been making waves in the entertainment industry and on social media where she boldly and thoughtfully shares her thoughts and beliefs on various issues of note in today’s society.
Amandla made her blockbuster film debut in 2010's Colombiana, in which Amandla plays the young version of Zoe Saldana’s character. Amandla may now be all grown up, but I for one will never forget the awe with which I watched the opening scenes of that movie where she was jumping off buildings, staring down and outrunning bad guys. I am no less awestruck now than I was then. Amandla also played Rue in the first Hunger Games movie. That she has presence and talent is undeniable. Amandla also understands that a place in the spotlight provides her a platform with which she has remained mindful about using.
Here are 3 reasons why Amandla Stenberg should be on the radar of every young, black, and natural teen.
Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows
Amandla’s video, which she did for a school project, breaks down cultural appropriation and explains why it’s an important issue in the black community. This teenager was able to eloquently and thoughtfully explain an issue many adults haven’t been able to. I cried when I watched this video because of the way Amandla handled this topic and because I felt so darn proud. Watch!
Amandla is talented
Amandla is clearly an exceptionally ambitious and talented young lady. She excels at so many things that speak to her discipline and focus. The actress turned activist is also a musician who plays multiple instruments including the violin, drums, and guitar. She is coauthor of a comic book series called Niobe: She is Life.
She’s socially conscious
Amandla takes her activism seriously. She is vocal about her stance against cultural appropriation, as seen in her Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows video. Additionally, Sternberg serves as the youth ambassador for No Kid Hungry and supports the Ubuntu Education Fund, which takes care of children in Port Elizabeth, South Africa who have been orphaned or are otherwise vulnerable.
We all have some power and a platform. Even without social media, we have families and friends and colleagues over whom we have even a little bit of influence.
In 2016, Amandla was named as one of the 30 Most Influential Teens by Time Magazine. Amandla uses her formidable presence on social media to promote her activism. She has 985,000 followers on Instagram which is no mean feat. Her social media platform is a mix of her interests and shows her in work mode, posing for magazines and on the set of various acting projects. At the same time, it shows her looking like an everyday teen. Which makes it all the more impressive that she has achieved the things she has--and continues--to do.
“I think something that's really important to me is trying to do what I can from my position of power that comes with having a social media platform to dismantle certain systems that I think are really gross and harmful” – Amandla Stenberg on Elle.com
Social media has given us all a voice. We all have some power and a platform. Even without social media, we have families and friends and colleagues over whom we have even a little bit of influence. One of the things we can learn from Amandla’s confidence is to use whatever power and platform to help right the wrongs we see everyday.