It's a tiny revolution to express yourself fully and be who you want to be, especially when systems tell you that you can't. I've realized how powerful it is for me to just discuss issues with young people and begin conversations.— Amandla Stenberg
The most simplistic Amandla Stenberg quotes that are new and everybody is talking about
I think people discredit teenagers and how wise they can be.
Sometimes I meet teenagers who are much wiser than many adults I've met, because they haven't let any insecurities or doubts about themselves get in the way of their thoughts.
What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we loved black culture?
Don't denounce our pain as savage. What's savage is the cruel inhumanity and brutality of the police. Condemn that.
But here’s the thing: Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated, but is deemed as high fashion, cool, or funny when the privileged take it for themselves. Appropriation occurs when the appropriator is not aware of the deep significance of the culture that they are partaking in.
The thing that makes makeup or clothing or fashion beautiful is the fact that the person wearing them loves themselves and loves being able to kind of use them as artistic tools. And so if I was to give one piece of advice, it would be to find beauty in your core first before you go out into the world and find it in other ways.
When you are a marginalized person or a woman of color and/or someone who's a part of the LGBTQ community, your acts become politicized, just by being yourself. Because we're not completely accepting of all different kinds of human beings. By being myself, I'm doing something political.
I wonder how many college tuitions could be paid off with the amount of money spent by Minions on advertisement.
I do think that my generation is really smart and wants to have political conversations, and so I hope that we can continue spreading our ideas and being able to change how our systems work. So, I guess being an all-American to me is being someone who questions things.
It's so important to create roles and characters and projects that feature black people in a way that's not specifically targeted toward the niche market, which is, like, a black movie is created and it's produced and pitched so that only black people will watch it ... I want to see dynamic characters and roles that everyone wants to watch.
There's so much power in allegory, to form ideas and learn lessons that you can actually take and apply to real life. I think that's why I originally really loved fantasy and reading.
It's hard to find black roles that are just whimsical and fun and colorful.
And I think, in many ways, that can be just as powerful in making commentary about race through movies.
I've pretty much grown up on set, and my favorite part about it is being able to actually see how movies are made. I knew when I was about 14 that I wanted to be a director and that I wanted to go to NYU for film school. It kind of feels like it's been a long time coming.It's a relief to actually be in, because the college process is so hyped-up.
I don't really see myself that way, as some typical sexy young ingénue.
I've never been that way. And, for a while, there was a disconnect between who I am and how I present myself on a public platform. That was because I didn't necessarily feel comfortable sharing that much of myself with other people who I didn't know.
I do definitely get boxed into this #BlackGirlMagic social activist category.
But it makes me think, "Well, maybe people are able to start thinking about that concept earlier and will hopefully be inspired to delve deeper into it and research it more." I think that's just how the media works. It's just very good at compartmentalizing human beings.
I think there's this great disconnect between youth culture and politics, which is a product of how our capitalist system works. I mean, a lot of the kids I know are really politically involved. They really care about politics. I think we're going to have an incredible impact on how politics end up shaking this country.
I think that can also be the downfall at the same time in what's really difficult about being kind of in the public eye, you have so much exposure through the Internet, and you can receive a lot of comments, and you get kind of immediate gratification, but also immediate response from people that can either be negative or positive. But I'm really thankful for the internet because it's allowed me to connect with people so much more easily.
It's easier to say, 'Don't care about what anyone thinks,' than it is to actually not care about what anyone thinks. But, honestly, anything you're passionate about, that's what you'll be the best at.
If I didn't end up talking about the things that I care about, I wouldn't be myself. I didn't like the idea that I would be a different person on the internet than I would be in real life. And I see people struggling. I see people who face prejudice and people who feel invisible. And I recognize that I already have a built-in platform that I can utilize so easily to actually do something.
I love all kinds of art. I mean, I love sketching and acting and music.
The state of the world terrifies me. It feels more powerful personally to fight it through larger actions as opposed to trying to fight the Trump administration itself. It's sort of self-preservation for my mental health. If I spend too much of my energy and my brain on Trump, I'd lose my mind.
The internet has allowed me to just be authentically myself, as opposed to having to perpetuate a certain image, and so I'm lucky that I don't have to fit into a certain box.
My hope as an actress is knowing that I'm someone who is more privileged - I'm biracial and lighter-skinned - and I hope it can open up the door for more women of color, especially darker-skinned black women. I hope everyone hops on the bandwagon and decides to start putting women of color in movies that aren't just about race.
My hope is to see people of color in roles that do not emphasize race.
Often times when movies are centered around people of color, they are movies where the storyline is based on some racial component. I want to see movies where people of color play more interesting, nuanced characters.
Whenever black women have a point, they're characterized as angry black women, and therefore the thing they're talking about is no longer of importance because they have to deal with them being overly emotional or something. I recognize that people who respond negatively to what I have to say aren't at a place yet where they are able to learn ... And it's exactly what I'm trying to fight.
I think part of growing up is not actually finding a fixed idea of who you are, but rather being like, "Oh, wait. I'm different all the time. I'm going to change every second and grow and be fluid." And that's okay.
It's really cool to have the ability to try on being different people and to explore some parts of yourself because you get to know yourself better. You get to know parts of yourself that you haven't met before.
Black Girl Magic is a radiant revolution against misogynoir - misogyny directed towards Black women and internalized hatred. Black women are subject to so many societal messages that tell them they are not beautiful, smart, or capable. Black Girl Magic is the conscious unraveling of those toxic concepts through self-love and acceptance. It preaches that despite the pressures I face, I glow more than ever before.
I actually try not to go on my phone too much.
That's something that's been a huge self-care move for me. I got rid of my iPhone, and so I'm actively working toward trying to be more present and not feeling uncomfortable when I don't have it as a coping mechanism.
I want to be fulfilled creatively as an actress and get to be in roles that are meaningful and impactful. I hope the same thing for myself as a director, one day. I want to make things that have an impact on how we look at the world.
Yes, there's something dangerous about turning people into token social activists. I was thinking about this recently with our pop-culture feminism, when feminism is such a buzzword in the media now. We're covering it in a way that we haven't before, but also in a way that's way more surface level. And while I think that there's some danger in that, I also think it's a great gateway for some people.
I think there's this great disconnect between youth culture and politics, which is a product of how our capitalist system works.
Growing up, I didn't receive the representation that I wanted so badly.
I was always looking out for black characters - black women - that were specifically just about existing and weren't necessarily racialized or were centered around race.
Just when you look around and you see people with straight hair in media, you kind of feel the need to fit in, so it's kind of a constant battle loving my hair. It's something that I'm continuously working on.
When we're growing up and being teenagers, oftentimes you try so hard to define yourself. You try to create an image of yourself because you don't really know who you are yet. And that can be kind of limiting because you forget that there are actually so many different sides of identity. And it's important to recognize that everyone is completely different.
My conception around being a woman in 2016 has definitely been shifting over the past year, because I feel like I'm proud of womanhood, and I feel attached to it, and at the same time I'm someone who doesn't believe in having a gender binary, and so often times I separate those two concepts in my mind - the concept of being a woman and the concept of being a girl or being female, being kind of attached to a certain gender identity.
If you work hard, it will pay off.
My mom reminds me that all things are possible.
I think the best piece of advice that I would give is beauty is really just - I know it sounds cheesy - being true to who you are. Beauty is not something that is acquired necessarily through like makeup or clothing.
The most important lesson I've learned is to not limit myself.
Kids at my age often get intimidated by the idea of adulthood and feel like they have to know exactly who they are and what they want to do with their lives. I've realized that it's okay to take my time figuring it out and exploring different aspects of myself instead of fixating on one idea of who I am.
I'm continuously playing this game of what's real and what's not real, and having to balance and judge and realize that there are things that carry real weight in the world and actually have power in them. And there are things that are just pointless, and you don't have to pay attention to those things.
I have so many mentors. I'm really lucky to be surrounded by incredible mentors, whether it be Solange Knowles or Gloria Steinem or Ava DuVernay, there are so many awesome people in my life, and so I'm lucky for them to kind of have fostered my identity as I grow into myself.
There are so many different ways to make art.
And so many good stories. You don't have to have a budget. I feel like it's super possible these days for people to make anything, no matter who you are or where you come from. And that's really exciting. I'm excited to see people around me pushing boundaries in that way, not letting certain structures define them or what art they can make.