Young Role Models That Represent #BlackGirlMagic Part 2: Amandla Stenberg
Back with another addition to my '#BlackGirlMagic' series that highlight young colored girls staying true to self in a world where they're not accepted the way they are.
Just a quick reminder, 'black girl magic' according to Lindsey E. at Single Black Female Project, is 'a term black girls everywhere have adopted to describe that indescribable characteristic about us. It's what we exude. It's our Je Ne Sais Quoi. That sprinkle of magic that embodies our sassiness, our sharpness, our talent, wit, beauty, style, skill and the list goes on. It points the finger to our mystic and one-of-a-kind creation that every black girl is born with. #Blackgirlmagic puts a stamp and spotlight on our works our interests and our accomplishments.'
I knew over a month ago that I wanted to feature this next girl as she continues to make us all proud with her bravery and outspokeness when it comes to cultural appropriation and appropriation in American society. It's time to finally give this girl the shine she deserves.
Amandla Stenberg; 16
This 16-year-old LA beauty is most commonly known as 'Rue' from The Hunger Games and young Cataleya from Colombiana. Besides acting, Amandla has taken on a role as a young activist is many different ways. She is involved with Share Our Strength, also known as No Kid Hungry, an organization working to end childhood hunger in the United States. No matter how charitable she may be or how great of an actress she is, some people will only see what they want to see.
The Hunger Games made $155 million its opening weekend, making it the third-best debut in Nor American box office history. The level of idiocy that weekend was record breaking as well. If you read The Hunger Games book, Suzanne Collins describes Rue as having "dark brown skin and eyes" a few times. Hell, even Katniss was described as having olive skin and dark hair, so for them to pick Jennifer Lawrence and throw a brown wig on her head was quite the surprise. Nonetheless, many racist fans took to social media to describe how outraged they were that 'young innocent Rue' turned out to be black and how it ruin the entire movie. (Because somehow a young black girl can't be innocent) Amandla didn't publicly say anything about the backlash because it's best to ignore ignorance but it seems as if she was saving her wise words for something else.
In April 2015, Amandla posed the question, “What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?” in a video that she and a classmate created for their history class. She later posted it on her Tumblr page and the rest was history, literally. She not only schooled her history teacher and classmates but the entire world on the history of black hairstyles and hip-hop, their appearance within mainstream music and how it has ultimately led to the misappropriation of black culture.
“Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated but is deemed as high-fashion, cool or funny when the privileged take it for themselves,” Stenberg explains in her video, appropriately titled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows.” She goes on to call out artists like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus as examples of mainstream musicians who continue to "mock" black culture in their music videos and concerts. See the video below:
And it doesn't end there. Just last week, Amandla had to drag Kylie Jenner back to reality when she called her out for using her platform to show off her trendy cornrows and plump lips but not to discuss issues such as police brutality against the same culture that she has changed her features to appear like. Kylie responded (in a petty way) and told her to "go hang out with Jaden Smith or something"--who took Amandla to her prom just earlier this year and killed it. Remember, Kylie was glued to Jaden's hip before she started allegedly rapper Tyga. Bloop. Amandla responded by showing Kylie, and the world, that this is not beef between her and Kylie but moreso how black lives, ESPECIALLY female black lives, is invisible in this country unless they are imitated by non-black women.
Isn't it interested that every time a girl/woman of color speaks their mind, media loves to associate it with words such as "attack" or "slam" or "came after?" Are we not allowed to speak our truth without being hushed by oppressors. This girl's wisdom goes well beyond her years and I am excited to see where the future takes her. You keep letting that #BlackGirlMagic shine through, Amandla and don't let anyone ever try to dim your light.
*I originally wanted to put them all in one post but their accomplishments are so grand that they all deserve their own posts. Up next: Willow Smith.