Amandla Stenberg talks intersectional feminism & her ‘angry black girl’ label

Amandla Stenberg

Amandla Stenberg (Rue from The Hunger Games) has a “rookie” feature inside the October issue of Nylon, where she talks about heady topics for a 16-year-old girl. Amandla reminds me a lot of Zendaya Coleman, who always thinks before she speaks, unlike most teenagers and young adults. (Unlike most non-young adults too for that matter.) Amandla and Zendaya have also both taken up the topic of controversial hair. Z defended her dreadlocks against “patchouli oil and weed” comments from E!, and Amandla called out Kylie Jenner for appropriating the cornrow style.

Amandla mostly switches subjects for Nylon. She talks about her belief in intersectional feminism and how she gets stuck with the “angry black girl” stereotype because she speaks her mind. This is a pretty awesome interview, and here are some excerpts:

On backlash for speaking out about black feminism: “Of course it’s something that has crossed my mind, but to be honest, I think one has to ask — backlash against what? It’s not as if there are a slew of projects featuring black girls I’m suddenly being shut out of. This is why I want to study filmmaking after high school. There is such a lack of powerful and nuanced representation for women of color. Besides, most people have been supportive of my video on cultural appropriation and understand the distinction I make between appropriation and exchange. I really am not saying anything that radical — what I am calling for is an awareness of the history and source, and a respect of the culture. People are quick to label me the ‘angry black girl’ because I am who I am and I’m outspoken.”

On how she combats that stereotype: “All of my inspirations have been ‘angry black girls.’ To me, it means that I must be doing something right. I must be striking a chord for people to try to invalidate my perspective.”

How she got into intersectional feminism: “One of the electives I took in my junior year was called Women’s Studies. I was so excited to take it because the teacher is amazing. However, it was interesting being the only person of color. It led to some really incredible discussions about how we often forget about how minorities are interconnected. #BlackLivesMatter is a feminist issue, too. Black female voices need to be uplifted within the mainstream feminist movement, especially at this time. It’s crucial.”

[From Nylon]

We talk so much here about celebrities and feminism, and there are so many people who just don’t get the concept. Then we have the occasional celeb — like Amandla, who is young to boot — who understand it well because she’s studied and researched the subject. Amandla also knows so much about intersectional feminism, and I feel like she could teach a class to all the clueless starlets out there. For real.

Amandla Stenberg

Amandla Stenberg

Photos courtesy of WENN

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146 Responses to “Amandla Stenberg talks intersectional feminism & her ‘angry black girl’ label”

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  1. cannibell says:

    Gives me a good feeling to know we’ve got leaders like Amandla coming up behind us. Can’t wait to see her films…..

    • mimif says:

      My thoughts too, it’s exciting to see visceral and much needed change/awareness happening.

    • Luca76 says:

      Exactly this she’s such a great young woman.

      • antipodean says:

        What a sweet girl, a breath of fresh air, and erudite points of view, the whole package. She will be interesting to watch as she matures. You go girl.

      • Zzzingara says:

        Oh, wow. Wow. There’s hope for the future. Real hope. What an impressive young woman Amandla is.

      • teacakes says:


        She’s turned out more intelligent, self-aware and all-round decent than some people twice her age. May she go on to do great things!

    • Chewbacca says:

      If I had a daughter, I would want someone like Amandla to be her role model. She’s smart, passionate and thoughtful.

  2. mimif says:

    She could teach a class to all the clueless people, period. And this:

    All of my inspirations have been ‘angry black girls.’ To me, it means that I must be doing something right. I must be striking a chord for people to try to invalidate my perspective.


    • Mia V. says:

      In a world of Amandlas, we’re led to believe that only Kylies matter.

    • QQ says:

      YES MIMIF YES I SCREAMED AT EVERY QUOTE!! IM CAPS TYPING FFS!! this girl! her soul, This Light, the Scaldingness of her TEA! her future must be protected at ALL costs!

      • Lechat says:

        The language you used here really struck me. It’s so telling that not only does this young woman’s future need to be celebrated but “protected.” You’re absolutely correct.

      • Alarmjaguar says:

        Yes, yes, yes!

      • Shirleygail says:

        yes. Celebrate. Protect. Yes Yes Yes… thing i didn’t see mentioned that I personally appreciate is that in all of these pictures she is dressed appropriately!! She stands out in the crowd for being smart, intelligent, outspoken and MODEST!

    • I Choose Me says:

      Total mic drop right there. Guh, I love this girl so much. Can I be her when I grow up?

      • Pinky says:

        I wish I’d had her awareness in my teens.
        No matter, here she comes. Stand back, y,all!

      • Saywhatwhen says:

        I am so pleased that people are hitting back at the #angryblackgirl thing. I was made to feel ashamed in school for speaking out and the weapon of choice they used was #angryblackgirl. I used to hit back and say why don’t I get to be angry? And also, why do you keep mistaking my assertive voice for an angry one. The biggest thing that pissed me off was when a black man said to me that I had interesting things to say but I am too angry. I told him one thing: internalized racism. After all the atrocities, anger is the least of what we get to feel.

        And Amandla is so right. You mostly hear #angryblackgirl because you are speaking truth that they do not want to hear.

        After #agryblackgirl has run its course (and it will as long as we hit back against it– thank you Amandla and Shonda via Scandal and HTGAWM) it will be #youareconfused, #mistaken, #conflatingtheissues.

    • Jess says:

      Wow. What a great way to look at that. She seems so impressive! And, on a completely superficial note, I love her hair in that top (but I’m a big fan of the trend towards gray/lilac hair).

      • belle de jour says:

        Isn’t that hair + skirt of her dress fabulous together? Love, love everything about her look.

        On a slightly less superficial note, I think this photograph captures so much about her strength and intelligence; you can practically see it radiating from within her. What’s going on between her ears and in her heart is doing that hair & dress a favor, not the other way round.

    • Alex says:

      I’ve been following Amandla since THG and she just wows me with her knowledge. Her project for SCHOOL became a viral hit. She’s inspiring people like Rowan Blanchard (another wise knowledge 13 yr old) about the heavy topics. She’s amazing and yes she must be doing something right to have grown adults try to take her down.

      Shine on Amandla. The world is waking up

  3. Jayna says:

    Good interview. Good for her studying and thus one day getting into filmmaking, empowering herself not to just wait for roles to come to her, which can be few and far between.

    • belle de jour says:

      This. I greatly respect her plan and her attitude towards making things happen. And at 16, ffs. Wow.

      • tealily says:

        Yes! I’m actually a little taken aback by how young she looks (and is!) because she sounds wise beyond her years.

  4. Lilacflowers says:

    How wonderful to see a girl, and she is still just a young girl, who gets it and can speak intelligently on such subjects. And so glad to see she has a plan for more education after high school. We need more Amandla Stenbergs and fewer girls who think life is just all about selfies of themselves.

  5. paolanqar says:

    It’s all very nice… but why is nobody calling out all the black women who wear blond wigs or green/blue contacts (Niki MInaj just comes to mind)?
    How come cultural appropriation is only one – sided?
    Next it’ll be what? Fake tan?
    Far from me to defend Kylie Jenner but attacking her cornrows due to cultural appropriation it’s reaching. She probably doesn’t even know what that means.

    • Felice. says:

      You can’t appropriate white people. Besides poc can have naturally light eyes and hair.

      • paolanqar says:

        Can have but not all do.
        So, still no cultural appropriation there?
        It’s all very convenient calling the card when it suits you, isn’t it.

      • Don't kill me I'm French says:

        I though it was a dominative culture stealing an idea of a minority or discriminated culture (forgetting where came the idea from?)

    • Krista says:

      Because being blonde haired and blue eyed is still the ideal. People may say “oh just another dumb blonde”, but you’re not going to be arrested for being blonde. You can for being black.

      • Santia says:

        Preach, Krista! It’s not appropriating; for most (whether you agree or not) it’s aspirational to be white. “White/Light is right” in this society. It has been like that since slavery. Even now, we see mostly light skinned Blacks who are are the top of the entertainment food chain.

    • Lama Bean says:

      The concept of cultural appropriation is based on majority races/genders exploiting cultural factors of minorities that they find cool. When it becomes a trend, people from the original minority group wonder “why wasn’t it cool on me, but it’s cool on this person?” It’s the double standard and the willful disregard for all other struggles and issues related to the cultural group. Big butts, cornrows, etc have been mocked for centuries. Much different than some blond wigs and tinted contacts.

      • Saywhatwhen says:

        Bless you Lama Bean. Am gonna copy/paste that because I know others have explained it (thanks to all) but this is the best I’ve read today.

    • jinni says:

      There are black people with blonde hair, blue or green eyes ( Michael Ealy, Vanessa Williams for example) you know. So how is that cultural appropriation?

      Cultural appropriation would be if white people that wear lederhosen or kilts were discriminated against for wearing those items from their culture, but when a black person wore those same items they receive praise and aren’t perceived in an negative way. When black people wear their hair in cornrows we are seen as ghetto, thugs, and militant. But when people like Kylie wears it it’s seen as cool, stylish, and appropriate.

      • embertine says:

        jinni, you said it much better than I could. I’m also very tickled by the idea of a load of black people being fawned over because of their bitchin’ lederhosen!

      • paolanqar says:

        I’m sorry but maybe we come from completely different backgrounds and I honestly don’t think of ghetto, militant or thug when i see hair in cornrows.
        This might be a typical american issue and I apologize for my ignorance on the matter due to the upbringing I had in an almost totally white community. I have no prejudice regarding hair color, skin color or race. I don’t know all the notions you listed upthread and I don’t know anything about the underlying meanings you can find in a simple hairstyle.
        For this reason only I said that the cultural appropriation seems one-sided to me. I look at the subject for what it is presented to me and I believe someone’s opinion should remain the same regarding which side they are looking at it from.

      • embertine says:

        paolanqar, I don’t see how you can say that someone’s perspective should be the same regardless of their own lived experience. Naturally a black person is not going to have the same perspective on racism as me, a white person. I haven’t had to live with it all my life.

        That just doesn’t reflect reality, and yes I do think that growing up in an almost-all-white community where you have never had to consider these issues is probably why you don’t see it. Privilege is exactly that; not necessarily being handed concrete advantages, but not having to worry about certain things.

        I am not American either but these issues are just as prevalent in my country.

      • Lama Bean says:

        Unfortunately Paola, nothing in the US works that way.

      • jinni says:

        @paolanqar: Well since you seem to come from a place with little chance of being around black people that could explain your view. But maybe next time you should do a little research on the background of this story and the culture that shapes the issues being discussed before attacking a whole group of people.

        I wanted t o add this to my original post: Another example of cultural appropriation is how minorities could do a thing for years, but let one white person do it and the mainstreams acts like that white person invented the thing that was originally apart of another culture. For instance rock and roll. Rock was considered colored music until Elvis came along and then the media started acting like he invented it. Not only did they act like he invented it but when he did pale imitations of what black rockers had already perfected he was accepted where black rockers weren’t.
        On the other hand Serena Williams is the best tennis player in like forever but no one will ever act like she invented tennis in the same way if a white person was even marginally good at something black people invented would be heralded as an innovative and genius .

        Also, one can’t claim cultural appropriation for blonde hair and light eyes when Europeans have spent generations brianwashing not just POC but other white people ( because the vast majority of fake, bottled blondes and people wearing blue eye contacts are burnettes with brown eyes white people) into think that those traits are the pinnacle in beauty. In fairytales ( princesses, good characters, etc), toys ( Barbie, etc), movies, advertisement, the notion that “blondes have more fun”/”gentleman prefer blondes” etc, blonde hair and blue eyes as been force feed to the masses and made that coloring the ideal. So how can one scream cultural appropriation of those traits when white people wants everyone to want to look like that? One can’t turn around and be angry, appalled, and play victim when one’s propaganda works.

      • kinta says:

        I feel you @paolanqar.
        English is not my mother tongue and I always have it in the back of my mind, that just my choice of words on that matter could offend people because maybe I am not using the right terms. I always feel as an european with a completely different history I feel less offended about some topics that are really sensitive in America.

      • senna says:

        @jinni: Thanks for taking one for the team in explaining this. It enrages me when these threads become an opportunity for commenters to spout their ignorance of racism 101 issues and essentially deny that racism exists or deflect the conversation to discuss white people instead. (Had to scroll past one of those to get to your succinct & illuminating comment.)

      • paolanqar says:


        What you say makes complete sense and I apologize if I took this subject too lightly.
        It’s also not a solely matter of research to understand what you talk about if that part of history isn’t anything that your culture was surrounded with.
        I learn from your lesson and in the future I’ll abstain from saying anything on the matter because what I take lightly ( only because I can’t understand or feel the deep meaning of it) might be something really important to other people.

        exactly that.
        I might be a privileged European white woman and I probably take it for granted but that’s probably why I can’t really relate to POC’s experiences.
        Their voice was non existent in my country.
        On the other side though, I’m very sensitive on other matters and I’m sure MANY people can’t relate to that.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        Do a Google Image search on ‘female dreadlocks’

        I see…

        Oh, there are black women, in the ‘Black’ subgroup. Jolly!

    • embertine says:

      That’s exactly what she’s talking about with cultural exchange vs. cultural appropriation.

      Besides, it just isn’t the same in reverse. White people can copy black culture without having to experience any of the downsides of being black. We can just cornrow our hair and decide to talk “urban” (ha!) and then walk away. A black person who decides to wear blue contacts is not pretending to be white, because they are still having to live with the effects of systemic racism.

    • Farah says:

      There’s a difference between appropriation and assimilation!

      When POC take the dominate culture (white) in order to fit in. That is when POC straighten their hair, dye it blond hair, change their names to sound western and not using their native slang.

      Appropriation is when you take something from a minority culture, and strip its original meaning from it. This could be black woman having cornrows in order to control their hair. Wear that hair to work and/ or school and be discriminated against. And then white woman take that because it’s “cute” and are praised.

    • AlmondJoy says:

      It’s been explained multiple times here on this site that many black people who wear their hair bone straight or take on what are considered “white” hairstyles have done so to be accepted and fit in with the mainstream. To be seen as “professional” on jobs. To prevent teasing and dirty looks and to assimilate and fit in.

      To quote Amandla: “Appropriation occurs when the appropriator is not aware of the deep significance of the culture that they are partaking in.” Please explain to me the deep significance of blonde hair and blue eyes and the struggle that goes along with having them… Also, please stop calling appropriation a “card.” It’s a very real thing. I could be chastised or even fired for wearing my hair a certain way, while a white woman can wear the same hairstyle and be praised for being “cool” and “edgy.”

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “Also, please stop calling appropriation a “card.”

        Yes, it is such a dismissive way to phrase things.

      • Pinky says:

        Racism isn’t a card game. Use the term “race card” and you will be immediately dismissed. And rightly so.

      • Saywhatwhen says:

        Lol. Cackling. Dead @ “Please explain to me the deep significance of blonde hair and blue eyes and the struggle that goes along with having them… ”

        AlmondJoy I know you are being totally serious but that was way funny. We need you here on the Continent because I tell you no one gets to tell these Euro/white women anything about being black. They tell us how we are supposed to experience it. You sound like you could enlighten them well.

    • LAK says:

      What an ignorant [oxford and urban dictionary definitions] comment.

      Blue/green eyes and blonde hair are not the preserve of European ethnicities though they are the most prevalent of those traits. Next you’ll say there are no brown eyed Europeans.

      • paolanqar says:

        LAK if you read what I wrote I never referred to the blonde hair and blue/green eyes to be exclusively European and I don’t think they’re event the prevalent traits in white people. I know white people with natural afros and black people with green eyes.
        I think we all rush to judge a Christina Aguilera, Heidi Klum, Justin Timberlake, Fergie or even Kylie Jenner wearing cornrows but no one says a thing when Nicki Minaj (or Beyoncè) wears blue contacts and a blonde wig. That is considered just a hair style or a ‘look’.
        In this list they’re all currently privileged accomplished people so tell me, why the difference?

      • Otaku fairy says:

        Hair color and eye colors are biological traits a person of any race can inherit, not cultural inventions. And people haven’t faced centuries of ongoing discrimination over having green eyes or blonde hair. They also haven’t experienced dark eyed brunettes getting praised for their creations while they’re ignored or looked down on for them.

    • Artemis says:

      Beyoncé and Nicki were critiqued for wearing blonde wigs yes but they were never the ones who started the discussions. People who didn’t like them started it. Those women have never come out and said they want to be white unlike Kylie for example. They are proud black women and like many black women, they can switch up their style if they want to. Doesn’t mean they want to be white. See Farah’s explanation on assimilation.

      • paolanqar says:

        Beyoncè keeps getting whiter and whiter, especially on photoshoots and magazine covers.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        “Beyoncè keeps getting whiter and whiter, especially on photoshoots and magazine covers.”

        Actually, Beyoncé has been light skinned since she was a child. But what does this have to do with the issues brought up in Amandla’s interview? Either you want to know the truth about cultural appropriation or you don’t. It seems like you just want to argue your point. Lots of people have explained to you why certain things are problematic and it doesn’t seem as if you’re open to understanding the issue at hand.

      • Lama Bean says:

        Paola, it is true that Beyoncé keeps getting whiter and whiter in photo shoots. That’s called lighting and photoshop. All in the name of making her look more white and therefore appealing.

      • paolanqar says:

        If she was proud of her skin she would never agree to that. Those pics are Beyoncè approved and she is the one wanting to be whiter.
        But I give up.

      • geezlouise says:

        If an “accepted (good) black” celebrity is featured on a cover their skin is lightened – Beyonce, Oprah. If an unacceptable “bad” black is featured then the traits are darkened – O. J. Simpson appearing several shades darker than his natural skin tone on the cover of Time Magazine created a huge controversy. Good = light, Bad = dark.

      • Artemis says:


        She is proud. Give me an example of Beyoncé not being proud of her skin please.
        So many black models have been outspoken about racism in the fashion world, they are not NOT proud, they are just trying to make a living, trying to survive in a system that sets tight Eurocentric parameters on what is deemed beautiful. It’s a miracle that they are famous black supermodels when you look at how fashion tries to shut them out.

        Plus, maybe it was never the intention to make them (and Beyoncé) look lighter. Skin colour changes because of simple lighting. Besides there are TONS of unphotoshopped pictures of white celebrity women on the net. Please look at them and tell me their skin tone hasn’t been altered too. They too are meant to look lighter. Check:

        So many celebs have a tight control over their image yet they are still photoshopped to death and have spoken out about how it was against their wishes. So many celebs have done shoots half-naked which made them feel uncomfortable. They are at the end of the day just trying to do their job in a business that wants them to look a certain way. Whiter, tighter and young.

        Critique the system, do not try to make it out like those women (black or white) are not proud of their skin tone/looks.

      • paolanqar says:

        Katy Perry looks whiter (gray-ish) in the before picture rather than the after one, and Madonna just looked haggard and super pale in the before pic so the Photoshop wizards took a whole layer of wrinkles off her entire body and gave her some lighting to disguise her natural features.

        Please check this out

        Was the cover of Beyoncè’s own album out of her control?
        I don’t think so.

        And please, read what Kaiser wrote about it.

      • Pandy says:

        “They are proud black women and like many black women, they can switch up their style if they want to.”

        From another poster re Beyonce and NM wearing blonde wigs and blue contacts. So … proud black women can switch up their style but white women can’t?? You lost me on this one.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        @Pandy nobody is saying that white women can’t change their look up like Nicki Minaj experimenting with hair color and eye color. The equivalent to Beyonce or Nicki dyeing their hair blonde and experimenting with blue contacts would be a white celeb like Kylie Jenner or Pink or Jessie J dyeing their hair black and getting darker contact lenses. That isn’t cultural appropriation, and wasn’t treated as appropriation when they did it either.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        @Paolanaqr I thought this was about your earnest desire to learn about cultural appropriation, not your deep concern over whether or not celebrities appear lighter in their brightened, enhanced, heavily photoshopped pics or whether or not a celebrity who tans is trying to be of another race. Either way, lightening, darkening, or changing your hair, eye, or, even skin color is not cultural appropriation because a color is not a cultural creation. It’s a biological trait like a widows peak or freckles.

    • Butter Pecan says:

      Blonde hair and light eyes are a result of genetics, and have nothing to do with culture. You can’t appropriate genetics. Also, while these genetic traits are more commonly associated with white people, many people of color have them as well. If a person of color dyes their hair blonde, or gets lighter contacts, they aren’t appropriating a culture. They are simply changing their appearance (more than likely to better fit the “ideal” that’s been pushed down our throats). And paolanqar, if Beyonce is getting lighter on photoshoots and magazines, it’s because the editors are photoshopping her to better fit a “white ideal”, not because she’s “trying to be white”, or whatever your statement was trying to imply.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Just stop while you’re ahead with others so intelligently trying to explain the issue of appropriation to you rather than you, someone who’s already admitted she doesn’t have much exposure to blacks or awareness of the issue, trying to claim Beyonce is ashamed to be black.

    • so the appropriation kicks in is FOR EXAMPLE… nicki beyonce Rihanna aaliyah (beloved) would do Eurocentric styles and GIVE CREDIT…. for example the Farah Fawcett flips, the Marilyn Monroe blonde, the Shirley Temple curls, a chignon….. these black entertainers and black media are NOT going out saying posting the Amanda Stenberg curls, the Aretha franklin red…. we give credit to where it’s do….. where as white media and stars take OUR HAIRSTYLES AND CULTURE like cornrolls and will say BO DEREK redefining a hairstyle….. when actually its a black hairstyle ( or like Tresemme on IG said look at this season’s mini braids….. GIRL IF YOU DONT MEAN AN AFRO INDIGENOUS -CENTRIC hairstyle popular for eons…


      so while no one is saying both black and white have to walk around with only one style…. we are all human and get inspiration everywhere….but come on …give credit and site your inspiration…..

      • paolanqar says:

        Beyoncè has been stealing her songs/coreographies from young artists all her life. So much about giving credit when it’s due about a hairstyle…. Give me a break.

      • Wilma says:

        @paolanqar If you don’t have a clue about these things best not to run your mouth and give your baseless opinion. Maybe read, listen and learn for a while.
        I see you insist on posting often when a topic deals with this and each time you show your ignorance and are called out on it. You clearly still don’t get or you like to troll.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        She’s a troll. It’s cute when they first try the “I’m so innocent and I don’t really understand cultural appropriation but – ” route before going full steam ahead with showing off their true ignorant beliefs on the subject.

    • mary says:

      Paolanquar is always writing these kind of comments, then someone else says something about Americans being “sensitive” about race, then people start responding no matter how obtuse paolanquar insists on being. At first I was thinking, “ugh, not that stoopid troll again, why do people give it attention?” But then I realized some of the wisest and thoughtful comments come from attempting to educate it. So, I say, keep your stoopid strong, Paolanquar!

    • SunnyinLA says:

      It’s not appropriation. It’s assimilation. You cannot steal from the dominant culture when it’s forced upon you.

    • FF says:

      Blond hair/blue/green eyes is a phenotype that can occur across multiple groups in different geographies, it’s not a culture that evolved within a group that involves a particular way of life or requires understanding/respect, or that even involves a particular skill utilised in a particular manner (like braiding) that it becomes in some ways indicative of a culture that has evolved within a particular group.

      The “approriation” you’re implying would occur – in that case – whenever someone dyed their hair black.

      That is not the case, and it seemed as if you looked for something commonly white-identified eventhough it can occassionaly occur outside that group, and tried to frame it as appropriation.

  6. Abbott says:

    *three finger Hunger Games salute*

  7. Lama Bean says:

    This girl is amazing. I’m really pulling for her to do great things.

    I tried to explain the intersectional feminism concept to my black male friends and I was truly amazed at how clueless, insensitive, and dismissive they were. It’s so sad because I felt so isolated knowing these were my highly educated longtime friends acting this way.

    • kay says:

      Men in general are clueless about feminism on purpose. They pretty much managed to make feminism be known as the man hating movement by lesbians.

      They don’t want to be educated because they would have to change their behaviour and only women must adapt to male needs not the other way around.

    • Alex says:

      Black men can be really ridiculous when it comes to issues for black women. They expect women to stand of for them but crickets when it comes time to return the favor.

      This is a lot of men in general. Its upsetting

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      Did they give you the old, ‘black feminism is destroying the black family’ runaround?

  8. truthSF says:

    OMG…Yes to President Amandla in 2034.

    • embertine says:

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one doing the math to see when it was appropriate to have this young woman as the Leader of The Free World™!

    • Olenna says:

      That would be awesome! Smart and beautiful now; a real force to be reckoned with as an adult. Love this kid.

  9. poppy says:

    wow this kid is amazeballs

  10. lucy2 says:

    Young women like this give me hope! I love that even at such a young age, she is standing up and speaking her mind, and on such important matters too.

    • Esteph says:

      Yes! Plus, I’m really digging her style for such a young lady…not dressing provocatively like some other girls in Hollywood….

      • Otaku fairy says:

        Even if she did, that wouldn’t make what she’s saying wrong or make her inferior as a person. If Amandla were a young man speaking the truth and promoting progress, I’m sure none of us would be saying, “I’m glad he’s not posing shirtless or naked like Charlie Hunnam, John Legend, or Justin Bieber or pulling a magic mike on us. Hooray for good old fashioned values.” This girl is smart and awesome regardless.

  11. Greenieweenie says:

    Uncontrollable urge to edit that name.

    • Ariana says:

      I did too and when I looked it up once, I realized its actually beautiful. Amandla is a Zulu/Xhosa word meaning “power”. It was a popular rallying cry in the days of resistance against Apartheid, used by Nelson Mandela. How awesome is that as a name for a young girl so self aware and motivated for equality.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        I think it’s interesting we were talking about ‘gh***o’ names not too long ago and how many people think mispellings of some names mean the parent was merely trying to do a different version of a Eurocentric name (Amanda) when it’s often not true.

      • lucy2 says:

        It always looks like a typo to my eyes because my name is Amanda and I’m so used to seeing that, but the meaning behind her name is excellent, and well suited to her.

      • teacakes says:

        Her parents couldn’t have chosen a better name for her. It suits her perfectly.

    • Mikaela says:


  12. Farah says:

    “It’s not as if there are a slew of projects featuring black girls I’m suddenly being shut out of.”

    This is so sad.

    “This is why I want to study filmmaking after high school.”

    She’s such a smart girl. I feel like crying.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Yeah that was a bit of a gut punch but so damn true. I’ve said before that I think young POC come to a maturity and understanding about the unfairness of the world before their white counterparts.

      It’s telling to me at this young age she already knows the score. She dared to speak out against an establishment that was already only sprinkling crumbs for her. At a very young age she was told her character’s death was not as significant because she happened to be black by teens who were supposed to be in the same peer group as her.

      I’m glad she’s got a plan and may her interactions not be with jerks like Matt Damon who will gush some nonsense about everyone being equal and how she can do anything her little heart desires.

      • Saywhatwhen says:

        “POC come to a maturity and understanding about the unfairness of the world before their white counterparts”.

        @Eternal Side-Eye. So True. So unfair for any child. Just gosh. And so sad. *Tears*. Now I want to wrap my baby in a blanket and hide her from the world. And she’s only one half black (unless you go by the one-drop rule…)

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:


        You know what…this world can be cruel and devastating but I also see glimmers of hope in strange places. This may not be the kind of comfort you want but this year, this specific year we have more shows featuring poc on mainstream prints time television than any other time before. You have younger girls like Rowen from Girl Meets World recognizing the need for more intereectional feminism because of girls like Amandla. You have a new wave of young voices fighting back and drowning out the old establishment that used to control the media.

        I’ve seen the media try the same “Oh look at this BLACK girl being ANGRY at Kylie Jenner/Miley Cyrus/Fasbion Police for NOTHING! Isn’t she so BLACK AND ANGRY?” trope and been FOUGHT BACK by so many young black kids who say “No! These women/girls are speaking out about a real issue and YOU WILL LISTEN TO THEM”

        I have literally seen the way they covered those stories switch gears halfway through because of the backlash they faced. That…didn’t happen in the past.

        Social media and cell phones have given us so much control over our message and evidence has led to the perception of police as being indisputable changing. I hate the shit we’re dealing with now, point blank, but I am so ready for what’s going to come in this world because once defeated masses are coming together and fighting back.

        I hope this helps somewhat, trust me I get down sometimes too but surprisingly it was these young girls who made me feel hope.

      • teacakes says:

        @The Eternal Side Eye –

        “I’ve seen the media try the same “Oh look at this BLACK girl being ANGRY at Kylie Jenner/Miley Cyrus/Fasbion Police for NOTHING! Isn’t she so BLACK AND ANGRY?” trope and been FOUGHT BACK by so many young black kids who say “No! These women/girls are speaking out about a real issue and YOU WILL LISTEN TO THEM”

        EXACTLY! The media was all “oh, cute little Rue grew up to be an Angry Black Girl attacking Nice Young Girl Kylie Jenner over some hairstyles”, and then the Internet just let them have it. HARD. I love that.

        I have so much admiration for girls like Amandla and Zendaya, they give me hope for the younger generation. They’re smart as hell and done with taking nonsense from the media because of who they are.

    • Pandy says:

      Kudos to her for going to film school so she can create her own projects. Good on her.

  13. K says:

    Wait this girl is still in High school? Dear lord she is smart, I mean I can’t wait to see what she does when she is in her 30s and 40s with more life experience…look out.

    I also wish I was that confident and well spoken at my age, this is a very impressive young woman.

    • Wilma says:

      Yeah, she made me realise, once more, how freaking clueless I was at her age. Kids like her make me happy. The world is going to be a better place.

  14. Naddie says:

    I wish I was that well informed at her age! But I’ll give me a pass, it’s been more than 10 years…
    Don’t know much about her, but she seems to be a great inspiration for teenagers. Unfortunately, not the majority of people are interested in smart celebrities, just see how famous Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber are.
    Ah oh, she has beautiful eyes.

  15. LAK says:

    What i find sad about her comments is that in 2015 there should be no need for her comments. it should be a matter of course, not the exception. She shouldn’t have to attend women’s studies to understand the nuances. It’s something that should be a matter of course, not the exception.

  16. AlmondJoy says:

    This young lady is so beautiful, intelligent and aware. I am completely impressed and I hope to hear and see more from her in the future.

    • Mean Hannah says:

      Almondjoy, those were exactly the words I was thinking. Is it weird that I’m bursting with pride that someone like her exists and I don’t even know her and didn’t even watch the movie?

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Right?! I feel the exact same way. I think it’s because we’re bombarded with teenagers that are the complete opposite of Amandla. I work with children a few years younger than her and I pray that they grow into mature young men and women. Amandla’s parents have done an excellent job!

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Haha, I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about Hannah.

        Whenever she or Zendaya speaks I always get the sense of ‘My hero!’ and end up feeling like they’re teaching ME something (maybe how to handle racial ignorance with grace and calm) it’s funny because they’re both younger than me but there’s something so amazing about seeing someone else’s awareness journey blossom and grow.

        Someone said it above and it’s absolutely true. In a world that keeps trying to tell us Kylie matters people like Amandla, Zendaya, and Rowen give me hope. Not everyone can be a prophet and it’s cool to stay in your lane if all you can do is take a pretty picture. But a pretty picture isn’t going to change the world. It’s going to be a slew of young talent in Hollywood who might actually refuse a role that’s been whitewashed from a POC or will write films about their experiences with no fried chicken required.

        These girls make me pumped for the future. Where there’s a trickle, a larger body of water awaits.

  17. insomniac says:

    Wow, that was a great interview. I felt so bad for her when all that “I didn’t pay attention to the book and had no idea Rue was black so let me be really racist on Twitter” crap exploded after the first Hunger Games movie. I couldn’t imagine handling that as an adult, much less as a child.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Yeah I imagine that had to hit hard and it pisses me off it was younger kids. How damn selfish and ignorant can you be.

  18. tifzlan says:

    Amandla is amazing and she’s younger than i am but i learn a lot from her (and others like her) every day. Keep fighting the good fight, Amandla!

  19. senna says:

    She’s wonderful. She speaks from her own perspectives and experiences, and cites her educational experiences as well. I’d be impressed by her words if she was running for political office, and I’m doubly impressed that they’re coming out of the mouth of a teen actor. And she’s gorgeous.

  20. Kitten says:

    Yeah she’s f*cking great.

  21. Lucy says:

    These are the starlets that actually deserve attention. Amandla, Zendaya, Josh Hutcherson…well-spoken, socially conscious, thought-inducing young people who are aware of the world that surrounds them beyond what they do for a living.

  22. Alarmjaguar says:

    That was amazing! Take note, other young starlets and women, that’s how it is done. Also, yay Women’s Studies classes!

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Seriously, can we just make a Woman’s Studies and African American studies class a requirement of being a starlet?

      It’s amazing how we can have ONE conversation from a teenager about some serious intense thoughts and we have women like Meryl 70 years deep into her life who’s too terrified of NOT mentioning men for a second.

  23. Jaded says:

    Attention all you vapid young women out there with your skewed, moronic and unintelligible views on feminism: read everything Amandla says from now on!!!

  24. Sarah01 says:

    Love her hair it’s gorgeous – I wonder if my hair salon can replicate it.

  25. Hannah says:

    This girl is amazing! Whip smart, well informed and interested in learning. I want her to become a massive star just so she can reach and inspire the next generation.

  26. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    She is so smart it makes me beam with pride.

    Damn, now THIS is a good interview. Filled with depth and frank honesty, she lays down some harsh truths but doesn’t come for pity. She’s got a plan for how to change her little part of the hypocritical system. She’s amazing to me.

    I will say this, I think the generation of young children (especially poc) growing up in this time of heightened racial tension are also going to be doing some amazing things soon. When you shine a spotlight on something kids tend to come to the truth quickly and I’ve even hear my brothers ask questions without prompting that tell me wheels are turning. It’s amazing.

  27. perplexed says:

    This girl is more articulate than most of the actresses in their 30s, even the Harvard-educated ones.

  28. Gina says:

    As for non-American “cultural appropriation” makes no sense. If you travel the world and see Hindu people with dreadlocks or Balkanian gypsies wearing tie cap as a part of their national costume you can only eyeroll when black people “claim” something that doesn’t belong to one particular culture. The world is much bigger than your neighborhood. And any person of any color who shows up at the interview with mohawk of cornrows will not be hired (unless it’s a position in a tattoo salon)

    • Pinky says:

      I love ignorance.

      • Gina says:

        It’s not ignorance. I just dont understand how people chose to concentrate on negative part. For example, if you post a picture of any celebrity half of the comments will be awful, judging her looks, etc. But when it happens to a black celebrity it’s labeled as “racism” right away. So? there are haters and stupid trolls. I personally can not imagine how any person nowadays can criticize natural hair of African American women. It’s gorgeous and I see can often see on the streets, public transport and restaurants al the time.

    • blogdiz says:

      As a Non American myself I know that cultural appropriation has been also brought up by Native Americans, Indians , Asians and other indigenous people,. its interesting that you have decided to frame this as a ” black issue ”

      P.s white people wearing dreadlocks, cornrows is seen as mainly cute/harmless where I live that doesn’t mean that I cant understand the cultural and social context that has been explained like god knows how many times on this site

      • Lama Bean says:

        We are equal opportunity in calling folks on cultural appropriation. Please reference the Katy Perry Indian Headdress discussion. It’s not just a “black issue”. It’s an issue with any minority in a majority place. The difference here, though, is that the trends that are now cool are the same trends that are ridiculed and called ugly on black people, yet cool and beautiful on white people. (I have recently seen an article written by an Asian woman who is frustrated at the new age white people suddenly making her traditional food cool after previously teasing her about the smells that were so central to her life since childhood, etc. So no, it’s not just black people.)

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Bye. This has been explained to you a dozen times. You don’t want to see because you don’t want anything to change or effect your comfortable life. That’s fine. But the continued feigned naïveté is silly.

    • ummm says:

      it’s so tragic that half of everyone’s time on Celebitchy goes to educating the unwilling-to-be-educated.

      if you don’t understand something, it’s your job to gain knowledge. like, on your own time. not on our time. please stop looking to strangers for help just to dismiss them. its embarrassing and exhausting

    • Anna says:


      well, why not? What’s so unprofessional about a freaking hairstyle? Also, ‘unprofessional’ appearance varies in each culture: I lived in Germany for a few years and where I lived it was quite common for various people to have facial piercings. No one cared. And why should they? If I go to a bank, I want the bank teller to be qualified to assist me in whatever service I need and I could care less about how they choose to accessorize. I’ve had far more problems in a country I currently live in where the bank tellers seem to have to follow the ‘professional look’ but stare at me as if I’m an alien when I request a wire transfer.

      We should stop judging people and their mental capabilities based on their appearance. Full stop.

      Also, ok, I’m a white person from a pretty much completely white country. There are a lot of things relating to racial differences and/or issues that I haven’t thought of or considered before because I haven’t encountered it before. Case and point: cornrows. A few years back it was quite popular in my country because a lot of (young) people thought that it looks cool. Since we were never a colonial country and slavery wasn’t based on race (more on nobility and nationality), most people did not/do not know the struggles that PoC face when they do cornrows. I didn’t either. BUT! That’s the time when you shut up and listen to the people with more experience on the issue instead of going on and on about how your view is right.

      I still think that cornrows look beautiful on people. In a way, I still don’t understand why *some* people think that such hairstyles should not be allowed in a workplace and are imposing it on everyone BUT the fact that I don’t understand something that IS happening, doesn’t negate the fact that it is.

      Also, you seem to be missing the fact that while for us, white people, cornrows is merely a style choice, it is different for people of other races. A kind of embarrassing example. As I said, I grew up among only white people, I also have simple blond hair that doesn’t require much care besides washing it and brushing it. Therefore, when I first met one of my black friends in college, I was very surprised as to how much care her hair required to simply grow and not break. And how much more effort it took her to straighten and style it, especially to the ‘white people hair’ standard. So are you suggesting, that PoC should spend hours a day/week/etc all the time to match your ‘professional’ standard instead of doing something that’s more convenient AND looks good anyway?

      Do you have more standards on how people should look or dress? I mean, are women required to wear high heels to work to be taken seriously? Because you know, the elevated height of our heads can for sure increase our mental capabilities…

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Amazingly well said Anna, amazingly well said.

      • Otaku fairy says:


      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        Wow. Hands up, Anna, that was such a wonderful comment.

      • Gina says:

        You didn’t get my point at all and you don’t even know me, but yet you talk about my “judgement” and “comfortable life”. I have piercing and tattoo myself so it’s not “my” choice to decide what’s professional look and what’s not. I work for people who care about my capability, not about my appearance. But if some people choose to work, say, for a bank (which is usually a private strict institution) and then complain about how they were fired for their hairstyle because of “racism” it makes no sense.A clean-shaven face is also ridiculous rule because facial hair is natural for men. Or rule for women to wear tights when it’s 100 degrees outside. Such places just have rules and if you don’t want to follow them just avoid working for such people.
        My main concern is – if you are not “majority”, if you never had to do anything with slavery or colonies, how can you “appropriate” something? And yet all white people all over the world are blamed for it.
        Are Amandla or Zendaya sure they don’t have ancestors slave-owners? If yes, are they “half” appropriating?

      • teacakes says:

        @Gina – but why should a bank care about the hairstyles of its employees? What is so ‘unprofessional’-looking about, say, a black woman choosing to wear a well-cared for natural curly style, or braids or cornrows? Those keep the hair out of the face, why are they any less appropriate for a professional environment than a straight-haired bob?

        “Such places just have rules”

        – sure, but WHAT is the rationale behind such rules?

        And by the way, you’re drawing a false analogy between your piercings and tattoos and the natural appearance of many black people’s hair. You CHOSE to have those piercings and tattoos put in (I assume no one tattooed you against your will). Black people, on the other hand? Are often born with the kind of hair that necessitates braids, cornrows and other protective styles, they can’t alter it unless they put in a lot of time and expense.

        And why should they have to be barred from, say, a bank job because “the rules” say that the natural appearance of black people’s hair and the hairstyles they wear are inappropriate to be seen in such an environment? Why accept such rules as the status quo in the first place?

  29. blogdiz says:

    I am in awe of how, intelligent, articulate and self aware she is especially for some one so young
    Sadly she did get an full baptism in racist millennial BS at an early age, The character Rue that she played in the Hunger Games was clearly described as dark skinned in the book( J-Laws character was described as olive skinned but I digress )
    Despite that Since Rue was one of the good guys, many readers ethnocentricity /cognitive dissonance refused to read that to mean black and took to Social media enraged that a black/biracial girl has been cast (in a fictional role I might add) even going as far to say they were sad that Rue died in the book but now that they know she is black they don’t care
    I cant imagine what is was like as a 13 Yo to have to deal with that height of public nastiness

  30. Lisa says:

    If she is angry, she has every right to be. Having a strong opinion shouldn’t make her (or anyone) The Angry Black Girl. She’s 100% correct about the reason behind trying to invalidate her: They know she’s right.

  31. antipodean says:

    Amandla, you be as angry as you like! Sometimes a good dollop of anger is what is needed for people to demand growth and change. Shine as many lights as you like on those dark subjects that are too often tiptoed by, and ignored.

  32. BarbieDoll says:

    Amandla is such an amazing person! I’m sure she can teach Matt Damon a few things in life!!!!

  33. Caz says:

    Very pleasing Celebitchy to see another articulate, intelligent & interesting famous person being given blog space.

  34. Next Pres says:

    “Leaders like Amandla”, lol. She leads nothing. She read some essays and like a lot of young people thinks that makes her an expert on something. She is uneducated and lacks life experience. Get back to me when you acquire both. Joke.

  35. Danskins says:

    Ugh…so pathetic some posters can’t deal with obvious intelligence.

    Anyway, I’m so very impressed with Amandla! Such a smart, self-aware and beautiful person inside and out! She simply makes me beam as a black woman!