Amandla Stenberg says she gets it from her mother. The young actress, who has turned into an advocate against cultural appropriation, is crediting her mother for teaching her to be a strong black woman.
“I feel like when I was younger—even though I may not have been conscious [of it]—I fought my hair and I fought who I was…to try to conform, or shy away from my Blackness. Now that I’m growing older, I find that my source of power comes from my identity and ethnicity,” the 16-year-old stated.
In a recent interview with Essence, Stenberg described herself as a “feminist since birth” and talked about backlash black women receive from the media.
“I noticed that whenever I was trying to talk about social justice and how Black women are framed in the media, quite ironically, I would be framed in a certain way that would demonize me and take away the value of my point. That’s a tool that is used repeatedly in the media: Whenever Black women have a point, they’re characterized as Angry Black Women, and therefore the thing they’re talking about is no longer of importance because they have to deal with them being overly emotional or something,” Stenberg stated.
Stenberg said her goal right now is to empower black girls and have positive representations out there.
“Even though the response to what I’ve talked about isn’t always necessarily positive, I’ve thought to myself, Wow, it’s so incredible that we are even having those conversations and that that was my doing. I felt so honored and proud that I could even bring these important things to the forefront,” Stenberg said.
Remember to check out Amandla Stenberg’s interview in the October issue of ESSENCE now available on newsstands.