Amandla Stenberg Didn't Think Her 'Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows' Vid Would Be So Controversial

Amandla Stenberg Didn't Think Her 'Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows' Vid Would Be So Controversial

Amandla Stenberg exudes major confidence on the February 2015 cover of Teen Vogue.

The 17-year-old former Hunger Games actress and comic book author spoke with Solange Knowles for her interview and opened up about going viral, hair and more. Check it:

On her viral video: “I really didn’t think it was going to be so controversial. And then to have the label of ‘revolutionary’ pinned on you afterward felt really daunting. I kind of had a moment with myself, like, ‘OK. Is this what you want to do? Do you actually want to talk about issues? Is it worth it?’ There are still moments now where I’m like, ‘Whoa, this is a lot of pressure.’ But it’s worth it because when people come to me and say, ‘I’m more comfortable in my identity because of you,’ or ‘I feel like you’ve given me a voice,’ that’s the most powerful thing ever.”

On how playing Rue in The Hunger Games has affected her: “It was when I was 12 and I got cast in The Hunger Games, and people called me the N-word and said that the death of my character, Rue, would be less sad because I was black. That was the first moment I realized being black was such a crucial part of my identity in terms of the way that I was perceived and how it would affect any line of work that I wanted to pursue. I often find myself in situations where I am the token black person. It can feel like this enormous weight. I have definitely had moments when my hair felt too big or like I needed to make myself…”

On her comic book: “Growing up, I was always super into fantasy and The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones and all of that, but I could never find black characters whom I really liked. And so immediately I identified with Niobe, the lead character. She’s this rad black girl elf. It’s interesting because it is fantasy, but it’s also really kind of self-reflective. She’s finding her faith and finding her identity. And she’s going to keep growing until she becomes this warrior destined to unite the human world and the elf world. I think it’s officially the first comic book to be written by a black girl, starring a black girl [Niobe Ayutami], and illustrated by a black girl [Ashley A. Woods].”

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Photos: Ben Toms/Teen Vogue
Posted to: Amandla Stenberg, Magazine
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