Actress Amandla Stenberg powerfully covers the latest issue of Teen VOGUE where the 17-year-old “Hunger Games” star sat down for a revealing interview with Solange.
The actress who caused a stir when she called Kylie Jenner out for her cultural appropriating ways opened up about her natural hair, her “Niobe: She Is Life?” comic book, her bisexuality, and so much more.
SOLANGE: Does it feel like sometimes you’re just exhausted talking about it?
AMANDLA: 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?” [Laughs] I’m tired of talking about who can have whichever style. Because I’ve said my thing.
SOLANGE: Yeah,you made it clear in your video. It was so articulate and perfectly put!
AMANDLA: 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…SOLANGE: Smaller.
AMANDLA: Exactly. Smaller and easier to digest.
SOLANGE: So what’s the deal with your comic book, Niobe: She Is Life? It’s sitting right here. It looks incredible.
AMANDLA: Thank you! 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 finding 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].
On her #SquadGoals friends like Willow Smith:
AMANDLA: Oh, man. Well, Kiernan has been by my side since the beginning. Willow [Smith] is amazing. I feel like we were just meant to be friends. We were kind of vibing off each other from afar, and then she hit me up and was like, “Let’s hang out!” She has the most magnetic, radiant energy ever. Whenever we hang out we just laugh and we sing and we dance and we go hiking.
Once the issue was released Solange took to Instagram to share with the world her respect and admiration for young Amandla.
There’s a secret language between black girls destined to move mountains and cross rivers when the world sometimes tells you to belong to the valleys that surround you. You learn it very young, and it has no words, but you hear it and see it all around you. You sense it when you walk into rooms, your hair elevated with every exalted coil, your sway a little too swift, and your shoulders a little too proud. You feel it like a rhythm you can’t shake if you even dared to quiet the sounds around you. Amandla (@amandlastenberg) knows it all too well, “I think that when you’re a black girl and you grow up you internalize all these messages. Everywhere you look that tell you that you shouldn’t accept your hair, or your natural features, or that you shouldn’t have a voice, or that you aren’t smart. In terms of my evolution I think those internalized messages built up in my mind until I was given the tools to recognize the situation. And understand that no, there’s nothing wrong with me, these are just that these are just messages that we’re fed. I feel like the best way to deal with that has been just to be myself and connect with all these other black girls who are awakening and realizing that they’ve been trying to conform; and the only way to fight that is to be themselves on the most genuine level. ” So here we are, connecting as non conforming black gals. Connecting as girls who recognize the borders that have been built around us, but tearing them down while coloring outside every line. Connecting as lovers of wearing the color sienna orange. Connecting as two chicks exhausted by talking about our hair, although we of course know, it’s bad ass. Connecting as humans who are both trying to figure out the mathematics of composer Steve Reich’s – “Violin Phase “. Connecting as two descendants of powerful Queens, who roamed the journey before us, and we hold the most high. I may not have felt prepared, but I sure as hell felt inspired, deeply moved by the honesty shared between us, and ready to take on the world sprinkling black girl magic in every crevice of the universe. -Solange
The 17-year-old actress opened up about her sexuality while taking over Teen Vogue’s Snapchat account, telling fans about how difficult it has been to keep a part of herself hidden.
on my way to steal ur girl… A photo posted by amandla (@amandlastenberg) on