Amandla Stenberg Is The Black Feminist Icon Your Little Sister Needs

 

If you’d told me ten years ago that a bisexual black feminist with natural hair would make the cover of Teen Vogue, I never would have believed you.

But Amandla Steinberg – actress, activist, all around badass – not only graces the February cover, but was interviewed by one of the founding feminists of Black Girl Magic, Solange Knowles, and filmed a dope video campaign to go along with it. And let me tell you – the interview is so good, I just might go out and pick up a physical copy.

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“I think that as a black girl you grow up internalizing all these messages that say you shouldn’t accept your hair or your skin tone or your natural features, or that you shouldn’t have a voice, or that you aren’t smart,” Amandla said during her interview. “I feel like the only way to fight that is to just be yourself on the most genuine level and to connect with other black girls who are awakening and realizing that they’ve been trying to conform.”

Preach it, girl! Amandla also took over the magazine’s Snapchat for a day, during which time she came out as bisexual (!!) during one of her videos.

“We cannot be suppressed. We are meant to express our joy and our love and our tears and be big and bold and definitely not easy to swallow,” Amandla said during the vid. “I definitely believe in the concept of rebellion through selfhood and rebellion just by 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 I’m growing.”

Rebellion through selfhood? A black girl just talked about that concept on a mainstream teen magazine’s social media account. What a time to be alive, ya’ll.

Not to get all grandpa on you, but back in my day, black feminism didn’t get this kind of recognition. It was something I felt alone in, something secret found only in a handful of zines and books I had to request from faraway libraries.

I’m so glad things are changing. Visibility is increasing and young black girls have people like Amandla to look up to. I’m especially happy to see black feminism in the pages of a magazine like Teen Vogue. As toxic media goes, Teen Vogue was pretty much a handbook on how to glorify thin, white, rich girls. (When my niece found an old issue in my parent’s basement a while back, I slapped that shit out of her hand so fast it made her head spin. Not today, Satan!)

I’m having a moment here, guys. I can feel a single tear growing behind my eye. When it feels like things are getting worse and worse for black folks (especially black women), it warms my heart to see black women with platforms using them to empower us all.

yas queen

Keep being awesome, Amandla. The world needs you. ❤

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