On Teen Vogue’s snapchat Thursday night, Amandla Stenberg — who is more popularly known for playing Rue in ‘The Hunger Games’ and also for calling out racist cultural appropriation and sexism on twitter— came out as bisexual in the most inspirational manner possible. She said:
“I wanna thank Teen Vogue for giving me this opportunity, I cannot stress enough how important representation is, so the concept that I can provide for other black girls is mind-blowing. It’s a really really hard thing to be silenced, and it’s deeply bruising to fight against your identity and just mould 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’ uncomfortable. But then I realized: because of Solange and Ava Duvernay and Willow and all the black girls watching this right now, there’s absolutely nothing but change. We cannot be suppressed. We are meant to express our joy and our love and our tears, to be big and bold and definitely not easy to swallow. I definitely believe in the concept of rebellion through selfhood, and rebellion through embracing your true identity, no matter what you’re being told. Here I am, being myself; and it’s hard and vulnerable, and it’s definitely a process, but I’m learning and growing. Thank you for supporting me and doing this, and thank you to Teen Vogue. This is just the beginning, though; we have a lot of work to do for all women of color. We need more representation in film and television. We need our voices to be louder in the media. And not just women of color — bisexual women, gay women, transgender women, mentally ill women. I’m sick of all the misogyny and homophobia and transphobia that I see around me, and I know you are too. Thank you for listening and goodnight.”
Stenberg got started in film business as a four-year-old, modeling for Disney and appearing in TV commercials. Her first film role, in ‘Colombiana‘, saw her playing the younger version of Zoe Saldana’s character. Next came ‘The Hunger Games‘, voicing Bia in ‘Rio 2‘, and spots in ‘Sleepy Hollow‘ and ‘Mr.Robinson‘. One half of the duo Honeywater, she’s also an accomplished musician, recording with singer/songwriter Zander Hawley. She appears on the cover of this month’s issue of Teen Vogue, which is a celebration of black womanhood, and features a powerful full-length interview by her which we can’t wait to read!
Amandla Stenberg has emerged as a strong intersectional feminist voice in popular culture, and has won accolades for her social activism as well as her acting skills. She is actively involved with a non-profit organization called No Kid Hungry, which looks after homeless and poverty-ridden children (especially children of colour), and recently co-authored an empowering, feminist comic book titled ‘Niobe: She is Life‘. But what catapulted her to internet fame was her school project video, called ‘Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows‘, where she called out cultural appropriation, racism and objectification in potent terms. The video went viral within minutes of her posting it online, and became a major talking point. And now, with her announcing her bisexuality and talking about her identity and empowerment in such moving and inspiring terms, her status as the pop culture intersectional feminist icon the world needs has been cemented even further—and she’s only 17! We need more young people like her in the spotlight who will continue to inspire and encourage us to embrace our true identities and be unafraid to be ourselves.
I for one, can’t wait to see what Amandla does next. May the odds be ever in her favour!