Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how truly amazing children can be. Sure they bring a unique sense of wonder and a refreshing air of excitement to almost anything, but sometimes it’s overlooked how extraordinarily game-changing they can be in their youth. Whether they hear the call to service and activism or decide to blaze new trails on the big and small screens, today’s famous kids and child stars are more than just adorable faces. They are bringing an awareness and wisdom beyond their years to the party. So much so that, honestly, we’re not only re-evaluating the mark we all are leaving on the world, but are inspired to get up, get out and do more with ourselves. Here are nine famous kids who inspire us.
You might currently know her as Diane Johnson on ABC’s hit show “black-ish,” but trust us that over the next several years you’ll know her far beyond her primetime gig. At just 13 years old, not only has Marsai made a name for herself on the small screen but she will also be the star and executive producer of the upcoming film “Little.” The movie revolves around a woman who gets the chance to relive the life of her younger self and will be produced by Will Packer (“Girls Trip”), Kenya Barris (“black-ish”) and James Lopez. Talk about making moves!
If you haven’t heard of the incredible Marley Dias, allow us to tell you about this young activist. While Marley loved reading books in school, she was upset that the main characters were almost never young black girls. This inspired this young game-changer to start her own grassroots movement called #1000blackgirlbooks in an effort to collect and distribute 1,000 books with black girl protagonists. Since the start of her campaign, Marley has far exceeded her 1,000 book goal, has been praised by Oprah, celebrated on Forbes 30 Under 30 and is a published author. And she is 13 years old. Yes, we’re impressed.
Disney star Skai Jackson might be known for her role as Zuri Ross on “Bunk’d,” but we anticipate big things from this strong, outspoken young lady in the years to come. Not only has she continued to become a recognizable presence on the red carpet and is working to make that tricky transition from child star to young adult, she has also found time to be an active participant in the MarchforourLives movement. Woke and talented, quite a combination.
When it comes to a young man who can seemingly do it all, Caleb McLaughlin seems to fit that bill and then some. The 16-year-old star of “Stranger Things,” has not only become a household name with the Netflix hit, but is a veteran of the entertainment industry with extensive work on Broadway and an appearance in the BET miniseries “The New Edition Story.” He can sing, he can act, he can dance, he can just about to do it all. And he has his whole life ahead of him. Go get em,’ young sir!
Another young star from BET’s “The New Edition Story,” not only is actor Ace Hunter the cutest little boy we’ve ever seen (at only 12 years old), but he has also excelled academically and athletically winning a Larry Walls Scholar Athlete scholarship and was nominated for the 2017 BET YoungStars award. With a good head on his shoulders, we expect big things from this young man.
With a resume more impressive than entertainment counterparts twice her age, Quvenzhané Wallis is one young celeb who has continued to astonish us year after year. She become the youngest actress to ever receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her role in “Beasts in the Southern Wild.” Just a few years later she starred in the remake of “Annie” and was awarded with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical. And just last year she published two books: “Shai & Emmie Star in Break an Egg” and “A Night Out with Mama.” Who knows what this young lady has in store for us, but we know it’ll be excellent.
DJ Beauty and The Beatz
You may not have heard of her, but trust us when it comes to young people who are killing the game, she should be at the top of any list. In an industry often dominated by men, DJ Beauty and The Beatz is a 16-year-old celebrity DJ who has spun for such heavy hitters as Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and even Barack and Michelle Obama. Though as a child she and her family struggled to get her the needed equipment to pursue her dream of becoming a deejay, they persevered and slowly but surely she began to book gigs and raise her profile. She continues to work tirelessly to become a leader in the industry and inspire other young girls and young women to pursue their dreams no matter the odds.
Granted we might be playing a little fast and loose with the term “kid” in Yara Shahidi’s case, but there is no doubt that this young woman has been the face of a new era of woke, driven and successful children, teens and young adults over the last several years. Not only has she starred on a hit show (“black-ish”), spun off into her own show (“grown-ish”) and become a burgeoning fashion icon, Yara has also become an outspoken voice for an entire generation, tackling issues ranging from racial equality to gun violence in schools to beauty standards for women. Her childhood might be fast approaching the rear-view, but she is still an icon to millions of kids around the world.
At just 14-years-old, Storm Reid has already dazzled us with her star-making turn in “A Wrinkle In Time,” but we know this little lady has a lot more in store for us, both on the screen and away from it. Case in point: During an interview with Out, she said about her role in “12 Years A Slave”: “Being a part of the cast of 12 Years a Slave was my first introduction to slavery and racism. At that point, those concepts had not been taught to me in school. Being in the movie opened my eyes to how neglectful schools are in teaching us about every aspect of our history. 12 Years a Slave became my personal history lesson: I learned that all men aren’t treated equally under the law.” Talent, smart and astute, Storm is going to be one force of nature.