Black Fist Raised: Amandla Stenberg Embraces Her Activism In “Elle” And “Dazed” Magazines
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.