Amandla Stenberg Is Ready to Be Your Role Model

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2015-08-16 20:40Z by Steven

Amandla Stenberg Is Ready to Be Your Role Model


Chaedria LaBouvier

The actress and activist talks exclusively to about everything from box braids to Black Lives Matter to her ambitions in front of and behind the camera.

As one of Hollywood’s most exciting young faces and voices, Amandla Stenberg—whose first name means “power” in Zulu and was used as a rally cry against apartheid in South Africa—more than lives up to the name in her presence, commentary, and poise. I know because I got to talk to the 16-year-old last week, and our conversation, which ranged fluidly from box braids to Black Lives Matter, did not disappoint. (And let’s be honest, some of us can’t even have this range of conversation with twenty- and thirty-somethings.)…

Though she wasn’t born when some of her boho, curly-haired predecessors were gracing the big and small screen in the early ’90s—actresses like Lisa Bonet and Cree Summer, who I grew up adoring—I get the feeling that Amandla is definitely a worthy heir to the crown. Of curls, of course.

First things first: Let’s talk about your style and particularly your hair. I noticed on Instagram that you experiment with different styles. Is hair a form of expression for you?

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 try 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 and so I went totally natural and had to do the big chop…and the curls sprung back to life.

And all of the 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 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…

Read the entire interview here.

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