I am a firm believer that we are amongst wise souls who have been here before, and through my observations, Amandla Stenberg is one of them.
ILLUSTRATED BY @CUUR. PHOTOGRAPHED BY BEN TOMS 

Never one to miss an opportunity to shine her guiding light, Amandla Stenberg often focuses on topics that were once considered too controversial for mainstream consumption, specifically regarding race and self-identity.

T he actress turned activist says what she feels in her heart in hopes for bettering every single person around her.  In true Amandla style, her most recent interview with Simran Hans for 
Dazed Magazine  gives props to "a community of black women who are working every day to do what they need to do."  According to Amandla, utilizing her social media page as the top platform for voicing her opinion is completely intentional:
"I hope my page is a space where you can feel safe to speak and be angry. I am not denying the concrete and physical danger of the future. I am telling you that your identity and strides are valid — even when you are tired, even when you are just existing as you."

While I also believe that we are all embarking on a constant journey of self-awareness and have the capability to evoke positive change within our community and circles, Amandla is someone who translates the definition in such a way that is widespread and easily digestible for millions of humans.

That includes--but is not limited to--young and old, of color and not, of all levels of social and financial status. Millennials, particularly, are getting the message more clearly than ever, which young activists like Stenberg play a huge factor in. In her work, both professional and personal, the young starlet seamlessly displays her sense of self through radical expression and verbal queues. She is sure of who she is and, in my opinion, is much closer to realizing her purpose on this Earth than most.

Yet, speaking from experience, the price tag that often comes with sharing a heightened level of awareness is anything but light.

Bridging the gap between knowing and feeling is the very thing the people of this world need right now. With the state of our nation currently appearing to be in shambles, it can be easy surrendering to stress and anxiety. Amandla is working to encourage others to channel their energies into something more profound and meaningful.

"It’s something that I’m continuously learning--it’s not like I’ve mastered it or anything. I see a lot of teenagers experiencing really high levels of anxiety and depression. I’d say that every person I know in my age range experiences it to a degree. I think a lot of it has to do with this human disconnect that the internet is creating, but also general anxiety about global events and the difficult climate that we’re entering as young working people. So I think one of the most powerful things to do in this moment is to have faith."

This is my ode to celebrities using their platform to reach a grand scale of thinkers and doers, free but critical.

To those who consistently question and assert out loud, I applaud your immense capacity to remain vulnerable. Amandla Stenberg, thank you. Stay tuned for more of my personal essays on this topic in March for Women's History Month, and check out the rest of Amandla's interview with Dazed in their latest spring 2017 issue here.


Want more from Devri?

Read This Valentine's Day, Keep Falling in Love With Yourself + The 2017 SAG Awards Speeches Gave Us the Hope We Needed

Follow her on Instagram and us on Facebook.