A lot of people have asked me who I look up to. Well, I look up to many people. However, in this post, I will only highlight one, and that one is Amandla Stenberg. From her activism against gender bias, racism and LGBTQY bias to her acting career in which she takes on projects with impact, she is a force to reckon with. And by the way, she is just 18 years old.
As an actress, Amandla is best known for her role in Hunger Games as Rue. She also appeared in Columbiana as young Cataleya, in Sleepy Hollow as Macey Irving, in Mr. Robinson as Halle Foster and in Beyonce's Lemonade as herself. What I like most about Amandla is that she shows great diligence in her work, which is uncommon, especially in the entertainment industry where all most people care about is fame and ratings. I love that she understands and acknowledges the importance of intersectionality in advocacy and that she openly and deeply talks about issues like race, gender identity and intersectional feminism and uses her platform to raise awareness of these issues. For instance, in the video 'Don't Cash Crop on my Cornrows', she eloquently speaks about black culture and cultural appropriation. She is also a comic book writer, and in her February 2016 Teen Vogue interview, she said of her comic book, Niobe: Is She Life?, "Growing up, I was always super into fantasy and the Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones and all of that, but I could never find black characters whom I really liked. And so immediately I identified with Niobe, the lead character. She's this rad black girl elf. It's interesting because it is fantasy, but it's also really kind of self-reflective. She's finding her faith and her identity. And she's going to keep growing until she becomes this warrior destined to unite the human world and the elf world. I think it's officially the first comic book to be written by a black girl, starring a black girl (Niobe Ayutami), and illustrated by a black girl (Ashley A. Woods)." She also identifies a non-binary, and prefers the pronouns they/them or she/her, and as pansexual. In her April 2016 Elle Magazine interview, when asked if she's ever reluctant to talk about these issues, Amandla said, "I don't feel afraid to talk about racism or to talk about sexism or the gender binary, because I feel like it's important and necessary and that importance outweighs any potential backlash I could receive."
Amandla a great example of a person being themselves in a world that constantly shames people for it. She also challenges injustice and promotes diversity, making her a living, breathing social justice warrior. Looking at all her work, it's not hard to see why Amandla is hailed as a leader, a visionary and a game-changer.