‘The Hunger Games’ star Amandla Stenberg has come out, revealing that she “identifies as a black, bisexual woman” and delivering an inspiring message of self-acceptance in a video posted to Teen Vogue’s Snapchat. She’s also the magazine’s cover star and opens up about identity and more in a wide-ranging interview.
The 17-year-old rose to fame in the first installment of ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise portraying Rue. She was, at the time, just 12 years old. Now, a few years later, of living life in the spotlight and emerging increasingly more vocal on social media, she’s delivered a powerful and inspiring message. Yes, all at the age of 17.
She speaks openly about the importance of self-acceptance. While it’s become a phrase that we see repeatedly, we may glaze over and forget the true meaning. We are, after all, living with our own thoughts and perceptions 24-7 and that has profound implications as to how we live our lives.
Amandla Stenberg says in her Snapchat video (which you can see below), “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 in.”
She continues, saying, “As someone who identifies as a black, bisexual woman, I’ve been through it and it hurts and it’s awkward and it’s uncomfortable…but then I realized because of Solange [Knowles] and Ava DuVernay and Willow [Smith] and all the black girls watching this right now that there’s absolutely nothing to change.”
She goes on, in speaking out about self-acceptance and says, “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.”
She goes on to denounce the stereotypes and the discrimination that’s still so rampant, saying “we need more representation in film and in television and need our voices to be louder in the media” and adding, “I’m sick of all the misogyny and homophobia and transphobia that I see around me and I know you are too.”
Yes, it’s a message that needs to be heard, and the courage and the wisdom from one so young is impressive and it’s no surprise her video and the news of her coming out is going viral. But there’s much more than just another celebrity coming out of the closet. She echoes some of the comments she made in her in-depth interview with Teen Vogue. Her interviewer was none other than Solange Knowles, the younger sister of Beyonce.
She talks about the struggles that are common to women of color noting that “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.” She goes on to add, “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.”
And with the ground-breaking interview, cover and now the video she’s doing just that, encouraging teens — and truthfully women of all ages — to not just accept their true identity but to embrace it and celebrate it. Quite refreshing. We’ve seen so many interviews of celebrities that have been, to say the less, much less substantive and much less inspiring.
You can see the full interview and photos here. See the Teen Vogue cover and watch Amandla Stenberg come out as bisexual in her insipring video below.
Pictures: PR Photos