February is suddenly looking a lot brighter thanks to Teen Vogue's new cover star, Amandla Stenberg. Though the photos are colorful are gorgeous, the brightest spot is the interview, which was conducted by Solange Knowles.
Last spring, a video Amandla made on cultural appropriation went viral. For those unfamiliar with her role as Rue in "The Hunger Games," the video introduced the young star to a lot of people—it also garnered her the label of "revolutionary," a title, she tells Solange, she was initially daunted by.
"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?'" she revealed to Solange. "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."
There's a reason Amandla covers the "Power Girls" issue, you know?
Amandla reveals to Solange that she's "tired of talking about who can have whichever style," but isn't tired of talking about hair "in the sense of it being an empowering thing."
I know when I used to chemically straighten mine, I did it because I wasn’t comfortable with my natural hair. I thought it was too poofy, too kinky. So for me, personally, when I started wearing it natural, it felt like I was blossoming because I was letting go of all the dead hair and all the parts of me that had rejected my natural state. But, you know, it’s not like that for all black girls. Some have their hair straight because that’s just how they like it, and it doesn’t mean that they accept themselves any less.
Yeah, if I could speak this powerfully and eloquently about hair—or any topic, TBH—I'd get tired of having friends ask me whether it's OK if they wear cornrows out on the weekend. Thankfully, Amandla is not only starting discussions, but making sure important conclusions aren't being overlooked.
You can read the rest of Amandla and Solange's conversation—and see the accompanying photos!—over at Teen Vogue.