Yara Shahidi Is Making A Big Difference “Little x Little” With Social Activism Campaign
It’s a well-known fact that Yara Shahidi is a class act. The 18-year-old has mastered the awesome ability to rub elbows with former First Lady Michelle Obama by day and make appearances in music videos like Drake’s “Nice For What” by night, reminding women everywhere that there’s nothing wrong with having a little attitude to demand respect you deserve. I’m not exactly feeling the decision of her bae of choice in the season finale of the Grown-ish, but hopefully Team Aaron will live on next season.
But don’t expect Shahidi to exactly be taking a summer hiatus. The actress who took a gap year after getting accepted into Harvard University will continue her mission to save the world this summer spearheading a social activism campaign targeted at teens called Little x Little. Shahidi shared with NYLON, what the United Nations-backed effort stands for and what drew her to its mission:
“It was a really natural alignment because what it stands for is this idea that, little by little, my generation can contribute to our world-at-large. I also appreciate that it really does have this globalist aspect—we’re not talking about just the U.S. but how to benefit our global community through action. Because of that, I feel like we’re able to really create something special. And targeting my generation [is great]. We really [are feeling the] power behind our voice, the power of our actions.”
“[I think I liked Little x Little because of] the intersectionality of it. Oftentimes we do have to choose, but there were a couple causes I gravitated toward.”
“So many times when you enter this world of social engagement, it feels very isolating when you feel like it’s only you covering this topic, or only you are involved. A lot of times we’re not aware of our support network, so Little x Little is creating that support network for us.”
She adds that when it comes to using social media to promote social change, you have to consider the bad and the good:
“[Social media is] a double-edged sword. It’s fantastic because you can create a support network that connects you with other activists you love and admire, but everything has to be public. So everything you’re doing kind of feels like it has to be a statement or it didn’t exist. [Some people feel like] they need to publicize it, otherwise it feels as though it didn’t happen. But I like Little x Little because it evens out the playing field. It’s not necessarily saying, “You have to have this many followers for what you do to count.” You don’t have to have a certain level of visibility. There’s less of a linear hierarchy in terms of whose contributions are actually seen and publicized.”
In addition to her social efforts, Shahidi shares that she’s been using her role on Grown-ish as a guide on how to approach her social life come college time. Her character “Zoe” has navigated the rough, undegrad waters of sex, career goals and addictive substances all in one season and the actress shares she’s learning plenty from Zoe’s mistakes:
“I think what’s funny is that grown-ish life has definitely prepared me for the real young adult life. Experiencing so many firsts on Grown-ish has been really funny.”
“I think what’s funny is that we’re dealing with the idea of me growing up as Zoey and Yara at the same time. Like, by the second episode, my character was on Adderall. So [I’m] going through a lot of firsts as my character; I view it as a trial run of what I’m not going to do. I think it’s, again, a funny situation and I’m glad that I can grow in an environment where they really do care about me as a human. They’re taking my comfort into consideration.”
You can learn more about the Little x Little campaign here.