Amandla Stenberg on Being True to Themselves
You probably know Amandla Stenberg from their role as Rue in The Hunger Games. Or maybe from their cameo in Beyoncé’s Lemonade or their musical collaboration with Blood Orange. Most recently, Stenberg is starring in the upcoming film adaptation of Angie Thomas’s best-selling novel The Hate U Give. The drama addresses police violence in the Black community and hits theaters October 18th. In a recent video, they give advice from The Hate U Give on how to never let anybody silence you.
Amandla has been a trailblazer since coming out as queer in 2016 on Teen Vogue’s Snapchat. They followed up with an interview about using they/them pronouns and later announced they are gay in an interview with the singer King Princess.
This week, Amandla graced the cover of Variety and spoke UP on the issues of colorism in Hollywood.
“Something interesting has happened with me and Yara and Zendaya—there is a level of accessibility of being biracial that has afforded us attention in a way that I don’t think would have been afforded to us otherwise. …Me and Yara and Zendaya are perceived in the same way, I guess, because we are lighter-skinned Black girls and we fill this interesting place of being accessible to Hollywood and accessible to White people in a way that darker-skinned girls are not afforded the same privilege.”
Amandla doesn’t just talk, they walk the walk. Amandla revealed earlier this year that they turned down a role in Black Panther (NBD, just the 10th highest grossing film of all time) to make room for other actors who they believed deserved the role.
“These are all dark skin actors playing Africans and I feel like it would have just been off to see me as a bi-racial American with a Nigerian accent just pretending that I’m the same color as everyone else in the movie.”
Every chance they get, Amandla is speaking out against injustices and holding it down for their brothers and sisters. As a young, gay, Black person in Hollywood, it’s not always easy to be Upspoken and even harder to constantly withstand the criticism that comes their way.
Just as they support us, speak out for injustices, and challenge the status quo, we are here for Amandla.