If, when you hear the name Amandla Stenberg, all that come to mind are images of her as Rue in “The Hunger Games,” you respectfully need to educate yourself. That’s because, at just 16 years old, Stenberg is quickly becoming one of the most inspiring young voices of our generation, thanks to her fearlessness and eloquence when calling out fellow celebs for cultural appropriation and sharing her thoughts on intersectional feminism.
Now, the actress and activist has undertaken a new project that promises to elevate the narratives of women of color through an entirely new medium: comic books. Stenberg has teamed up with Stranger Comics to create a new series called “NIOBE: She Is Life,” which features a young black protagonist.
In the series’ official summary, the heroine, Niobe, is described as an “orphaned wild elf teenager and would-be savior of the vast and volatile fantasy world of Asunda. She is running from a past where the Devil himself would see her damned… toward an epic future that patiently waits for her to bind nations against the hordes of hell.”
In a statement to the Huffington Post, Stenberg explained her connection to the character, saying she strongly identifies with Niobe and her journey toward self-discovery.
"I was drawn to give voice to Niobe and co-write her story because her journey is my journey,” she said. “I connect to her mixed racial background and quest to discover her innate powers and strengths, to learn who she truly is. There's never been a character quite like her, one who shatters the traditional ideal of what a hero is. We need more badass girls!”
Indeed, black women — and people of color in general — are sorely underrepresented in the comic book world, and Stenberg’s quest to change that proves she’s just as much of a “badass” as Niobe herself.
And as for the comic’s title… well, it may just be a coincidence, but we couldn’t help but notice that Niobe is also the character Jada Pinkett-Smith played in “The Matrix” sequels “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions.” We know Amanda is tight with the Smith fam, so… maybe it’s not such a coincidence? In any case, “The Matrix’s” Niobe was DEFINITELY a badass, so it would only be a fitting tribute.
“NIOBE: She Is Life” is expected to be released Nov. 4.