All Articles Tagged "Amandla Stenberg"
In a really great interview with Fusion recently, Cree Summer, the voice of our beloved characters Susie Carmichael and Freddie Brooks, was asked about being considered one of the original carefree Black girls represented in the mainstream, leading the way for others like Willow Smith, Amandla Stenberg and her goddaughter, Zoe Kravitz (whom all cite her as an influence). The carefree Black girl, otherwise known as the second cousin to the quirky Black girl, is viewed as one who marches to the beat of her own drum. She is the alternative representation most of us love to see, and at times, crave to be. But if you ask Summer, seen as the poster child (make that woman) of all things easygoing and unique, she’s not really feeling the label because she says the carefree Black girl is somewhat of a myth. She does, however, believe that there is a rise in the conscious Black girl, self-aware and liberated, which should be celebrated.
“I don’t know a single black girl who’s carefree because it ain’t easy being a girl of color, period,” Summer said. “God, I wish we were carefree. A lot of political things would have to dramatically change in this planet for a woman of color to be carefree. But I think what they mean by that is more of an aware black girl, a conscious black girl. The more conscious you are, maybe the less cares you have and maybe the more cares you have as well—it kind of goes hand in hand. Self-awareness and more self-love and also the ability to care for other black women. It has something to do with being politically aware of where you stand on this planet and I think it has to do with not accepting the definition that’s been given to you by designing yourself. I’ve always been a loud mouth that way. I’ve always been proud to be different, I’ve always stood out like a sore thumb and I always have not given a damn.”
And Summer is raising her daughters, Brave and Hero, whom she calls her “savages” on Instagram, to embody that same way of free thinking and living.
“Listen, if you had dinner with them you’d say, these girls are savages. Or just went to the grocery store, you’d say, oh dear god they are savages,” she said. “They are so blazingly individual and they teach me so much everyday [sic]. My job now is to maintain their fearlessness. When Hero falls down or Brave blurts something out and everybody stares, we crack up. I don’t want them to get to that point where they are embarrassed or scared of everything. That’s the danger of growing up, you just get so f–king afraid of everything. And what you’re usually most afraid of is the judgment of a bunch of people you wouldn’t even hang out with on purpose. Who gives a shit? I’d rather be afraid of oh my god, I’m in shark-infested waters. Now there is a legitimate fear. Or Trump is going to run this country. There’s a legitimate fear.”
The actress and voice-over juggernaut also emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with people who embrace you for that ingenuity, like her BFF Lisa Bonet, rather than stifle it. And if anyone can do that, according to Summer, it’s Black women.
“Girls that make you feel good about yourself, that’s the most important thing,” she said. “Listen, I hit the jackpot, I really did. I can’t complain about a lot of things because I have such a deep piracy and sisterhood and girl gang that is just so powerful. To have girlfriends in your life, they reflect back to you how strong you are, how funny you are, how fine you are, how powerful you are. That’s one of the awful things that has happened in this world is there is a conspiracy against women and so much propaganda that we don’t know how to be friends.
She continued: “That’s bullsh-t. If anybody knows how to be friends, it’s black women. We have been enslaved and had to care for each other and each other’s babies and pick each other up in so many powerful ways. We know to take care of each other, we know how to be friends. Don’t buy the lies. That’s why I say Support Your Local Girl Gang because when I fall down and my world is in shambles, the ones that take care of me and pick me up and put me back together are my sisters, my friends. I can’t stress enough the importance of having women friends. It will change your life.”
Summer sure is preaching! Check out her full Fusion interview here, and let us know where you stand on the idea of the “carefree Black girl.”
Today news broke of the cancelling of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Show writer and occasional anchor, Francesca Ramsey, posted news of the cancellation via Facebook which left many fans surprised.
Unfortunately, ratings were not up to par along with a lack of fan engagement on social to stimulate conversation and in turn promote the show. Even though the show’s content tackled tough issues like racism, classism, sexism and more, it was not enough to keep the momentum going even with the upcoming election. This does not come as as surprise, as several other Black night-time hosts eventually faltered such as BET’s Don’t Sleep with T.J. Holmes, The Arsenio Hall Show with Arsenio Hall, Baisden After Dark with Michael Baisden and Magic Johnson even had a stint on night-time TV with The Magic Hour.
With the cancellation of The Nightly Show, there leaves only one “Black voice” on night-time television, Trevor Noah of The Daily Show. And considering we have seen our share of Black men try their chances on conquering a night-time TV slot, we think now it’s time for Black women to shine. Below we have our “dream team” night-time show picks for the next night show. Tell us who’s your pick. *Side Note, we haven’t forgotten about you Monique!*
Breakout star of The Daily Show and lead of an upcoming untitled half-hour scripted series scheduled to air on Comedy Central. Jessica is a force to reckon with being the youngest person to work for The Daily Show and the first Black woman to hold a correspondent position. Jessica also is half of a duo for the hilarious podcast, 2 Dope Queens. There is no question why Jessica should be included on this show. She has the experience, the humor and flare to bring a show home.
Issa has been in the game for quite some time, starting with the hilarious web series Awkward Black Girl and later earning a Forbes position for the Top 30 under 30 list. Currently, Issa has another show that will premiere on HBO called Insecure which mimics the humor and wit of her first web series. We have no doubt she could dominate in the talk show circuit as well.
Quinta B is a comedian running the online game with her work being featured on Buzzfeed and killing live shows all over the nation. Her humor is relatable, fresh and unique — even with her small stature–all of which would definitely add a layer of lightness and positivity to the show.
Amandla, the youngest of the bunch, is a hidden gem filled with brilliance and understated power. Amandla will attend film school at NYU and has even directed and written an interestingly unique short film called, Blue Girls Burn Fast. She is the poster child for #Blackgirlmagic and will bring a chilling feminist view to the show while also adding youthfulness and fresh ideas. She has already proven that she owns her voice and her seat at the table is earned and accepted.
Amandla Stenberg: Sometimes I’m Tempted To Straighten My Hair, But I Know “Those Are Not My Original Ideas”
Even on the best twist out day, naturals can feel the weight of messages that suggest a woman is more attractive, professional, and socially acceptable with straight hair. Amandla Stenberg, even with more confidence — and a better mane game — than most of us had at 17, admits she, too, is sometimes tempted to conform, but at the end of the day she knows “those are not my original ideas, like I don’t really feel that inside.”
The young actress shared that insight with Glamour who photographed 55 women across America and asked them to define themselves for their September issue. In the interview, Stenberg discussed filming Lemonade, what it means to be a woman in 2016, and her definition of all-American. And when the mag asked her to describe her relationship with her hair, she said this:
“I’ve gone through so many different hair stages. My first stage was when I was younger, and I thought my hair was too big, so I always kept it in this giant poof on top of my head. I wasn’t that great at doing ponytails, and so it was always really messy, and after that, as I kind of hit puberty and went to middle school and everything, I started doing things to make it smaller and straighter. I got Keratin treatments, and then I had bangs that I straightened every day. It was awful. It was like frying the front part of my hair off. And I was basically doing anything to make it look straight, and then I came to the realization that I—because of the internet honestly, because of seeing people on the internet post pictures with their natural hair, I realized like, “Oh, wait, this is actually so cool. Why have I been fighting this component of myself for so long?” And so I chopped it all off and slowly grew it back in its natural state, and now I love it. And I still have moments once in a while where I feel the need to conform, but that’s also not really my—those are not my original ideas, like I don’t really feel that inside. It’s just when you look around and you see people with straight hair in media, you kind of feel the need to fit in, so it’s kind of a constant battle loving my hair. It’s something that I’m continuously working on.”
It’s that battle that no doubt informed Stenberg’s one piece of advice she’d give every Glamour reader, which spoke to the importance of defining beauty for one’s self before letting the media define it for you.
“I think the best piece of advice that I would give is beauty is really just—I know it sounds cheesy—being true to who you are. Beauty is not something that is acquired necessarily through like makeup or clothing. The thing that makes makeup or clothing or fashion beautiful is the fact that the person wearing them loves themselves and loves being able to kind of use them as artistic tools. And so if I was to give one piece of advice, it would be to find beauty in your core first before you go out into the world and find it in other ways.”
And as for her hopes for the Black Girl Magic movement, the activist said this:
“I hope that kind of this movement centered around black women becomes more inclusive because there is a lot of colorism within the movement that even I benefit from, and so I hope it’s more inclusive of dark-skinned women. I hope it’s more inclusive of sex workers. I hope it’s more inclusive of girls who haven’t gone natural and still have straight hair, wear weaves, I hope it’s inclusive of all kind of different representations of blackness instead of one that’s become more mainstream, that’s become more acceptable, you know.”
Stella McCartney’s new fragrance, POP by Stella McCartney is a nod to the new Millennial woman, and she’s chosen the perfect girl boss crew to be the face of the fragrance.
It’s been nearly four years since English fashion designer Aazers.
So, who are these young women in particular you might ask? Madonna’s 19-year-old daughter/model Lourdes Leon, Canadian artist Claire Boucher, daughter of music mogul Quincy Jones Kenya Kinski-Jones, and last but not least, our favorite young actress that epitomizes the greatness that is #BlackGirlMagic, Amandla Stenberg, all scored the title of campaign models for McCartney’s new POP fragrance.
“Fragrance and cosmetics should enhance each woman’s unique beauty, not distract or overpower it,” the designer believes, and it’s apparent in POP’s feminine scent that combines a hint of fresh and luxurious florals and bold sandalwood.
“POP is a spirit. It’s about capturing and celebrating that very special and exciting time when you are finding yourself and coming into your own,” McCartney said, further explaining that aside from the product itself, POP is actually an attitude — one of which that speaks to the youth directly. “It’s about freedom, and starting your life away from judgments or labels.”
POP by Stella McCartney will be available exclusively at Sephora and Sephora.com on Thursday, March 24.
Yesterday Teen Vogue had Black girls experiencing all sorts of feel-good emotions when they debuted a series of covers featuring one of the most outspoken up-and-coming feminists of our time, Amandla Stenberg. The icing on the cake was the 17-year-old was interviewed by another creative that ranks high on almost every unapologetic Black woman’s list, Solange Knowles.
Last night, the gift of this #BlackGirlMagic just kept on giving when Amandla took over Teen Vogue’s snapchat doing what most teen girls do, eat breakfast, hang with friends, and be cool. But the young starlet also took the time to send an important message to the LGBTQ and African American community, saying:
“It’s a really really hard thing to be silenced and it’s deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mold 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…but then I realized because of Solange and Ava DuVernay and Willow 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…Here I am being myself and it’s definitely hard and vulnerable and it’s definitely a process but I’m learning and I’m growing.”
We have to say this young lady is doing a pretty great job balancing her identity as a triple minority, particularly in the public eye.
In addition to her Teen Vogue cover and snapchat, Amandla also participated in a series on why Black is beautiful and powerful. Catch the episode below.
If the #blackgirlmagic hashtag is fitting for celebrating the power of melanin, the time is now!
This year, Zendaya Coleman, Malia Obama and Amandla Stenberg make up just a few of the wonderful rising teens who made it to TIME Magazine’s annual 30 Most Influential Teens. In addition, Jaden Smith, “Watch Me Whip/Nae Nae” sensation Silentó, an assortment of actors and actresses, and even Nobel Peace prize winners were included on the prestigious list. But this trio of gals in particular are giving us life!
19-year-old Nickelodeon star Zendaya made the cut just by one year, but her significance in the entertainment industry has been plenty. From being known as fashion’s “it” gal to confidently taking on Giuliana Rancic’s “patchouli and weed” comments to calling out magazine’s for photo shopping, Ms. Coleman has managed to grow up in the public eye and still remain a role model for her younger fans. “I keep it real,” the actress and singer told TIME. “I do what Zendaya does. I do what Zendaya feels like doing.”
Amandla Stenberg, who we’ve gotten to know through her role as Rue in Hunger Games has emerged as a powerful and uplifting voice for young black women. And who could forget when the 17-year-old made headlines on nearly every website when she called out Kylie Jenner for cultural appropriation.
Dubbed as a “cultural icon,” Malia Obama caught the eye of TIME editors for both her burgeoning status and prominence. Not to mention, when paparazzi caught the soon-to-be college student rocking one of Joey Bada$$’s Pro Era t-shirt’s the internet and kids alike went crazy. Although her father is Barack Obama, Malia is just like any other teenager interning and grabbing coffee for higher ups.
Congratulations to all three of these young black women!
Proud, beautiful, smart and vocal teen star Amandla Stenberg teen tells ESSENCE that her outspokenness can be credited to the way she was raised.
“My mom is a really powerful artist, creator and writer and a really smart Black woman, so she has always set an example for me and taught me how to express myself through words and other mediums. 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 also realizes that her powerful opinions are often misunderstood, followed by backlash, and there’s a deeper meaning behind that as well.
“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. I recognize that people who respond negatively to what I have to say aren’t at a place yet where they are able to learn. And I know that that’s not personal. That’s unfortunately a product of society as a whole. And it’s exactly what I’m trying to fight.”
Regardless of the criticism, Amandla vows to continue to be an inspiration.
“My larger goal is to affect and empower more Black girls, because I know how important it has been to me to see representations of myself out there through role models like Ava DuVernay and Laverne Cox and FKA twigs—artists who are inspiring and creative and carefree. 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. ”
Check out Amandla Stenberg’s full interview in the October issue of ESSENCE magazine available on newsstands nationwide.
Take a scroll through images on Instagram and Tumblr with the hashtag #ArtHoe (or #ArtHo) and you will be inundated with beautiful images of Black boys and girls juxtaposed in art. On Instagram alone over 9,000 photos appear in the search. So, what exactly is an #ArtHoe? The online movement is a collection of Black artists creating visual images to celebrate people of color and their complex identities.
The movement hopes to encourage more people of color (POC) to join the visual art scene and creates an online community for minority artists across the globe. The movement’s 15-year-old founder. Mars, is turning what is often considered negative into a portrait of beauty.
“‘Hoe’ is AAVE (African American Vernacular English) and is normally a derogatory way to refer to women – especially black women – as being promiscuous, within the male gaze. Using the term in an arbitrary way diminishes its harmful origin in light of something better,” the teen artist told The Guardian on the controversial name.
Controversial or not, Mars has some pretty iconic young Black stars attached to the movement. Hunger Games’s Amandla Stenberg has decorated her Instagram page in many #ArtHo images.
The young thought leader, Willow Smith, has also attached herself to the influx of art. Whether celebrity or not, minorities across the U.S. and abroad are turning their selfies into art with doodles or stamps and creating a safe haven for their voice and images alike.
“(Art Ho) gives POC a platform to express their internalised struggles, which is a problem we face everyday. We don’t have a voice in this society. It’s usually subdued by our white counterparts, and our anger is taken for granted – having this movement gives people an insight into who we really are,” Mars told Dazed magazine.
Check out some of the creatively inspiring images below and get with the #Arthoe movement.
Are you here for this?
I’ve told you all that I’m an admirer of Amandla Stenberg. Not only is she talented, (shout to the Hunger Games franchise), beautiful and stylish, she’s also down for the cause. And in a world where far too many people, particularly celebrities, are scared to take a stance on political issues, I find her brave and refreshing.
Elle Magazine and Dazed Magazine recently caught up with the actress/activist and she spoke about everything from her sense of style, embracing her natural hair and all things Black. We dig this little girl. Check out a few of the highlights from both interviews in the excerpts below.
On learning to embrace her natural hair and it being a part of the Black experience
When I was younger, I struggled with my hair a lot because it was too hard to deal with- it was too poofy, it was too big, and I just wanted it to go down flat against my head. I put treatments in my hair to make it look straight, and in the past year, I realized that that’s so not necessary. I really love my natural hair texture and my curls so I went totally natural and had to do the big chop…and the curls sprung back to life. And all of a sudden, it gave me so much more confidence. I’m so much more comfortable with my hair, my body and everything. So hair is super central to how I express myself because it’s just kind of a part of the Black experience: Doing your hair is always an event. I really love my hair, I really embrace it, and I’m so glad that I made the decision to wear it natural.
Her desire to write and direct
Yeah, so I’ve directed a few shorts and I’m in the process of applying to film school right now. I really want to go to NYU Tisch. It’s so important to create roles and characters and projects that feature Black people in a way that’s not specifically targeted towards the niche market, which is, like, a Black movie is created and it’s produced and pitched so that only Black people will watch it. And I feel like, I want to see dynamic characters and roles that everyone wants to watch. And I want to create roles for Black women, specifically, that are really empowering, dynamic, and nuanced and that are leads because, actually, there are really very few.
Why she’s been so outspoken
Me talking about political issues on a social platform was kind of an accident. It’s something that’s a part of my everyday—it’s super central to who I am as a person.
In the interview with Dazed, she spoke about digging the dress Jaden wore to prom and her friendship with his younger sister Willow.
It figures that Stenberg is most at home around trailblazers. In May, her (platonic) prom date was Jaden Smith – she wore a septum ring and her hair in show-stopping grey braids, and he wore a long skirt with sneakers, a look she fully approved of. “Guys aren’t allowed to express femininity; they have to always appear masculine and that’s bullshit,” she says. “I love it when guys can be feminine and express their emotions and creativity; it shows strength.” Stenberg met Jaden’s sister, Willow, after they began having dreams about each other. Willow messaged her, saying, “I feel like we are supposed to be friends,” so the two met up and talked about everything they loved for a good hour. “Then we did interpretive dance to Grimes,” says Stenberg, giggling.
We expect some pretty incredible things from her in the future. You can read both of her interviews in their entirety here and here. Note that in the image above, from her Dazed shoot features words from Angela Davis on her face.
Earlier today, I read a story that actress and activist extraordinaire Amandla Stenberg was taking a break from Tumblr because she had been attacked for raising a question/critique of the promotion for the Minions movie.
Basically, Stenberg tweeted,
It was a valid question. But certainly one that ruffled more than a few feathers. People started asking her how much money was used to promote the Hunger Games, how many people she’d paid to go to college, you know, as a sixteen year old.
She didn’t say she’d never participated in a Blockbuster film. She didn’t even say that she approved of the way the one she starred in was promoted. What she did was make a statement about priorities in this country. And it’s an astute observation. Where America once had the reputation, internationally, as the land of the best and the brightest. Now, we’re the entertainment capital of the world. I have nothing against entertainment and I actually think the Minions are pretty cute; but, no they aren’t more important than the people of this nation, so yes, the question is valid.
It’s really a shame people can’t see that.
I read that article and thought I hope Amandla hasn’t been discouraged. I hope she continues to speak the truth.
Luckily, Amandla broke her hiatus to say that she had not been run off of Tumblr.
Glad to hear, she hasn’t been dissuaded from expressing her opinion. She’ll have to remain strong though because this is just the type of thing people like to do to young, people with “alternative” (read: status quo challenging) world views.
The backlash is even stronger when those young people are Black.
I was absolutely shocked to find fully, grown Black women telling Amandla she needed to sit down, jumping to the defense of Kylie Jenner, when Stenberg was attempting to have a discussion about cultural appropriation. Kylie can make money off our people but when someone, one of our own, brings that fact to her attention, it’s a problem?
I’m still confused by that.
Looks like some people have been drinking that Kardashian Koolaid. Don’t be surprised if that particular flavor eventually makes it to the shelves. It’ll taste like vulnerable Black men. And instead of quench, it’ll quicken your thirst for fame.
But that’s not what we’re here for. This article is not about Amandla specifically or even the Kardashian family.
Instead, I want to discuss, our, the Black community’s response to young, free-thinking, Black people.
Last year, like with Amandla, I was discouraged to see most of the internet ready to dismiss Willow and Jaden as strange and pretentious just for expressing some ideals that I found not only refreshing but pretty advanced for people of their age. People scoffed at them, the children, and questioned Will and Jada’s parenting…again.
You may remember in the interview with T Magazine, the brother and sister talked about school being inauthentic because learning never ends and people took it as an attack on education and called them stupid. I saw and heard several claim that the two had abandoned their own education, as if their comments were proof of that.
Y’all do know there are very real problems with our education system, right? Even rapper J Cole, who did exceptionally well in school, graduating magna cum laude, said that our educational system is largely centered around tests and memorization as opposed to actual comprehension and understanding of principles.
That’s true. I know I’m not the only person who did well in school but can remember very little of those lessons today.
In that same interview, Willow talked about self doubt saying she’s gotten better because she cares less about not only what other people think “but also caring less about what your own mind thinks, because what our own mind thinks, sometimes, is the thing that makes you sad.”
Then Jaden cosigned talking about the duality of our mind.
People found that strange as well.
But, let me ask you something, have you ever decided to do something, and the minute you’re ready to get started, take action, your own mind, not the people from the outside, your own brain, starts convincing you of ways it won’t work?
It literally happens all the time, particularly with risky, challenging decisions and activities.
Fear is a strong force. But it exists in our own minds.
To get anything worthwhile accomplished in this world, you have to ignore that energy or do it, in spite of fear.
Countless authors have written best selling books about this very concept. (See: Fight Your Fear and Win or The Secret) but when Willow and Jaden say it, with their funky fashion and ever-changing hair styles, it’s just weird and worthy of dismissal.
A large part of me wonders if the people who seem to be so bothered by the likes of Amandla, Willow and Jaden are consciously or subconsciously envious of people so young, and yet so woke to the ways of the world?
Perhaps we can only stomach stereotypical teenagers who act aloof and disengaged, choosing to follow their peers or their favorite celebrity instead of think for themselves. Maybe those kids make us feel better about ourselves in the fictitious enlightenment of adulthood.
I’m 10 years older than Jaden, 11 years older than Amandla and 13 years older than Willow and I look at the freedom with which they choose, and have been allowed, to live their lives and I admire that. I want that for all the adults who’ve been stifled in their own lives. And it’s certainly something I want to give to my own future children: the gift to defy conviction, speak truth, express yourself and your beliefs, and be strong enough not to be dissuaded by anyone else’s disagreeance.