Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg is the cover girl for Teen Vogue February’s issue.
She started off as playing the ill-fated role of Rue, Jennifer Lawrence’s sidekick, but now, Stenberg has stepped out of the franchise’s shadow to become an outspoken, brave and courageous advocate of black women empowerment.
The 17-year-old american beauty stunned the front pages of the magazine as she joined Solange Knowles for an interview between ‘sistas’. She also discussed race, Natural Hair, cultural appropriation, being a black actress, the machine that is Hollywood and lots more!
Forgive us for not giving you the full scoop on the feature, but below are some excepts on Amandla’s captivating interview.
Concerning being called a “Nigga” Amandla stated –
“It was when I was 12 and I got cast in The Hunger Games, and people called me the N-word and said that the death of my character, Rue, would be less sad because I was black. That was the first moment I realized being black was such a crucial part of my identity in terms of the way that I was perceived and how it would affect any line of work that I wanted to pursue. I often find myself in situations where I am the token black person. It can feel like this enormous weight. I have definitely had moments when my hair felt too big or like I needed to make myself smaller.
Smaller and easier to digest. And that’s still something that I struggle with now, you know? But I think, honestly, social media has changed that in a lot of ways because in the past you could look only to movies or TV or music or celebrities in order to feel like you had representation. Now you can go on Instagram and you can see a girl who looks like you who is killing the game and expressing herself. Just being able to see that is so affirming.”
On being tired of discussing the topic “natural hair”, the young inspiration expressed herself saying –
Yo, yes! It’s so funny. I have many white friends who come up to me and they’re like, “Amandla, so this weekend I’m going to go out, and I was wondering if it’s OK if I could wear cornrows just on Saturday?” I’m tired of talking about who can have whichever style. Because I’ve said my thing.
But I’m not tired of talking about hair in the sense of it being an empowering thing. I know when I used to chemically straighten mine, I did it because I wasn’t comfortable with my natural hair. I thought it was too poofy, too kinky. So for me, personally, when I started wearing it natural, it felt like I was blossoming because I was letting go of all the dead hair and all the parts of me that had rejected my natural state. But, you know, it’s not like that for all black girls. Some have their hair straight because that’s just how they like it, and it doesn’t mean that they accept themselves any less.
On Thursday, Stenberg revealed her sexuality in a snapchat video for Teen Vogue, coming out as bisexual.
“It’s a really, really hard thing to be silenced, and it’s deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mould 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,” Stenberg said.
“Then I realized because of Solange and (director) Ava DuVernay and Willow (Smith) and all the black girls watching this right now, that there’s absolutely nothing to change. We cannot be suppressed. We are meant to express our joy and our love and our tears and be big and bold and definitely not easy to swallow.”
Read more on Amandla’s Interview on www.teenvogue.com