Actress Amandla Stenberg Is the Voice of a New Generation

Amandla Stenberg, Women Who Inspire

You hear it every day -- children are the future -- and depending upon who the child is, that can be a scary thought. (When I was 17, despite proud moments of glimmering activism -- remember the Jena 6? -- I even had a way of scaring the crap out of my mom as she imagined the future.) But, actress Amandela Stenberg is the exception. She is everything I wanted to be at 17 but was too meek, timid, and undisciplined to actually be. Hell, she's everything a lot of people wish they had been at that age, and that's why we're honoring her for Women's History Month.

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Most people know Amandla as Rue in The Hunger Games -- but what many people don't know is that her character actually embodies the strong, wise voice she has shared with young women, like myself.

Who She Is

She's poised, wise, articulate, and intelligent -- and above all she carries herself as a young lady. She's a rare gem in an industry that tends to boast snotty, entitled children. Not Amandla though! Born in Los Angeles, California, she got her start in the industry at just 4 years old as a model for the Disney catalog, but eventually transitioned into acting -- playing amazing roles such as Cat in Colombiana and our beloved Rue.

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How She's Shaping History

In 2016, Time named Amandla one of the most influential teens. Why? Well, because while many are shocked and outraged to find that discrimination and civil rights are still present-day issues, Amandla isn't afraid to speak out, bursting that sense of denial that many people use in order to deal with -- and ignore -- those problems. Last year, Amandla released a video calling out white women in Hollywood (Iggy Azalea and Miley Cyrus included) for constantly appropriating black culture while failing to lend a voice to social injustices that have deeply impacted the very community from which they borrow their music, fashion, and style.

I find that she's a voice for a younger generation -- she is the activist that not only black youth, but all youth, need in order to push in the direction of any positive change where race and discrimination are concerned.


Her Words to Live By

Don't confuse her strength with anger:

She wants to foster an actual discussion:

bigger than you or me. discussions are healthy. ignorance is not. words by me

A photo posted by amandla (@amandlastenberg) on

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Why She Inspires Me

At just a young age, she's able to comprehend the burdens of the world and yet hold on to her optimism and love for others; she's able to stand for something knowledgeably without spewing hatred. Amandla is the rise of a generation at a pivotal time, unafraid and ready to discuss the issues that plague the world as a whole.

As she is obviously on to great things, it's safe to say the legacy Amandla Stenberg will leave behind is destined to be a great one -- and I'm glad I'm here to witness it.

 

Image via Maarten de Boer/Getty Images

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