November 16, 2015. Actress Amandla Stenberg attends the premiere of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Getty Images)
“Hunger Games” star Amandla Stenberg has become an outspoken advocate on representation and cultural appropriation in recent years, even calling out the Queen of Instagram herself, Kylie Jenner, for a cornrow controversy last July.
On Thursday, the 17-year-old actress took over the Teen Vogue Snapchat and revealed that she identifies as a “black, bisexual woman.”
“It’s a really, really hard thing to be silenced. And it’s deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mold yourself into shapes that you just shouldn’t be in,” Stenberg said in a series of Snaps posted to her Tumblr account. “As someone who identifies as a black, bisexual woman, I’ve been through it, and it’s hurts. It’s awkward and it’s uncomfortable. But then I realized because of Solange [Knowles], and Ava DuVerney, and Willow [Smith], and all the black girls watching this right now, that there’s absolutely nothing to change.”
“We cannot be suppressed,” the actress continued. “We are meant to express our joy, and our love, and our tears, and be big and bold and definitely not easy to swallow.”
Stenberg called out Jenner and other stars for appropriating black culture with their hairstyles last year, saying on Instagram, “When u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter.”
Last April, the actress also created a viral video, titled “Don’t Cash Crop on My Cornrows,” in which she and a classmate delivered a crash course in black culture, explaining the problems that stem from white celebrities appropriating black hairstyles and other cultural trends without giving thought to their origins or significance.
“This is just the beginning, though,” Stenberg continued in her Snaps, calling for more representation in film and television, and the media. “We have a lot of work to do for all women of color…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.”
“I cannot stress enough how important representation is,” she concluded, thanking Teen Vogue for the opportunity as she signed off for the evening. “The concept that I can provide that for other black girls is mind-blowing.”