From The Hunger Games to NYU: Amandla Stenberg is One to Watch

Many people know this talented woman from her role in The Hunger Games as Rue, but since 2011, Amandla Stenberg as grown into a powerful force to be reckoned with. Stenberg is a young woman with passionate viewpoints and a dedication to make a change in our society. A year ago when she was just 16 years old, she posted a video on her Tumblr entitled Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows. It’s been a year and it has been seen, talked about and reblogged by more than 130,000 people. The simple video was made for her history class, but speaks of a powerful truth about black culture and cultural appropriation. She says at the end, “What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we loved black culture?” a question I, myself, am now wondering. Cultural appropriation will continue to be a fine line for society to balance and I feel as though it takes the desire to learn about the culture one is “appropriating” to then have an appreciation and an understanding that you are no longer appropriating, but instead admiring or even celebrating.

Since Stenberg’s video for history class she has since moved on to speak out about her own identity and the need for women of color to feel comfortable. In January, she posted a series of videos on the Teen Vogue Snapchat coming out as a black bisexual woman. She speaks on how that title wasn’t something easy for her to admit but she knew it was time to no stop being silent. She calls for more representation of not only women of color, but also bisexual, gay and transgender women in film and television. This girl is only 17 years old and has more commitment and drive than many women older than her. 

Courtesy: Vimeo

On April 12, 2016 she announced on Instagram the release of her film that earned her acceptance to the New York University film school. The film is entitled Blue Girls Burn Fast. It was written, directed, filmed and edited all by Stenberg. She mentions in her Instagram post, “I made it with my best friends with a DSLR camera and lots of love. It’s very personal to my heart. I hope you enjoy!” The story follows a foster kid named Andy who is balancing school and family life until one day her neighbor, Lea, climbs into her room and sends them both on an adventure of self-discovery. The film description states, “Sometimes our emotions are our best friends.” It’s a film that leaves you in wonderment and curiosity. With lines such as, “Sometime our dreams are less fragile than our reality,” you can’t help but fall into a trance and marvel at the aesthetic and beauty that was created.

Some may have thought that Amandla Stenberg earned her acceptance based on her Hollywood fame, and some may still think that. But after watching her 20 min. short film, I’m not sure how one doesn’t see the pure talent this girl embodies and the potential and promise for her future.