Amandla Stenberg by Adrian Mesko for ASOS Magazine Spring/Summer 2016.

On the hyper-sexualization of girls her age:

“We live in a society where girls are hyper-sexualised, but I don’t feel like me or my friends are victimised by it. We’re learning how to take control of our identities and I’m asserting my gender identity and my sexuality. It’s scary and overwhelming, but I feel empowered, ready to take on the world. I’m surrounded by people who are really changing things by being themselves and that’s exciting.”

On social justice and representation:

“I’ve always been passionate about social justice and creating representation for people who are under-represented. But now I’m able to express my opinion on a public platform. I used to be too scared to do it and it is scary, but it’s worth it. The internet has made it possible to synthesize ideas into things that are shareable for people who don’t want to read [US author, feminist and social activist] bell hooks.”

On #blacklivesmatter:

“When I say black lives matter, I’m not saying white lives don’t, I’m just saying that this is a group of people that has been systematically repressed for generations so it’s necessary to shed light on it to undo those wounds. Some people think that it’s trying to exclude white people, but that’s not the point. The point is to uplift voices that have been silenced and that’s a problem in the way we’re treating race. Celebrating people of color and oppressed groups does not equate to the slander of white people, and yet the way that people respond to it is, “You’re being racist! Reverse racism!” But honestly, I feel like there are so many more people who are trying to learn than there are people who are closed-minded. At least I hope so.”

On trolls:

“I’m lucky. I can talk about the things I care about and the scariest thing that can happen is that someone says something mean to me from their keyboard thousands of miles away,’ she says. ‘I think conversation is so healthy and important. Ignorance is not, intolerance is not, closed-mindedness is not.”

On the change she wants to see in Hollywood:

“I think it’s easy to say that Hollywood is changing because we had movies like 12 Years A Slave and Selma, and those movies are so important, but it’s easy to just write off people of colour by saying, ‘Oh, we had that one movie, we don’t need more.’ It’s easy to create a token slot, and while things are changing, I don’t think they’re changing fast enough. I want to change people’s mentalities even though that’s a tall glass to fill.”

On her comic book:

“I met Sebastian Jones, who wrote it with me, at a festival called Mixed Remixed. It’s a festival for mixed people, bi-racial people. He introduced me to his company Stranger Comics and a character he had created called Niobe. I grew up loving fantasy and Niobe is the kick-ass character I wanted when I was little. We started a novel and wrote a couple of chapters until I said, ‘I don’t think I can do this now, I’m in 11th grade!’ So we decided to make a comic book instead. I’d love to play her in a film. We’re inching toward that.”

On her friendships with Tavi Gevinson, Lorde, Willow Smith, and Kiernan Shipka:

“My friends and I do a lot of driving round listening to 80s power ballads with the windows down – Time After Time, Forever Young or the soundtrack to Twin Peaks. We’ll stop to get In-N-Out, keep driving, go to a diner, have some pie, keep driving. Driving around LA has given me some of my quintessential teenage memories. I was obsessed with Tavi and Willow before I met them – I had posters of them up in my room – and now they’re some of my closest friends. Willow is unapologetically herself and that inspires me. And Rookie magazine introduced me to feminism and I continuously learn from Tavi. Now she learns from me, too, because I bring a different perspective.”

Source: ASOS


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