Amandla Stenberg has a reputation for being upfront, honest, and incredibly intelligent about social justice and identity politics -- from her breakout video about the cultural appropriation of black hair to her amazing fantasy comic book series, she's taught us about intersectionality and inspired other black girls in creative and powerful ways.
On Thursday (January 7), to promote her cover story for Teen Vogue's February 2016 issue, she took over the magazine's official Snapchat, and ended the night thanking them for the opportunity and recounting her own personal struggle with finding meaning in a world that doesn't quite represent her.
“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 be in,” she said in a video that was later uploaded to her personal Tumblr. “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.”
Bisexuality is an identity that's often erased or marginalized in mainstream culture, especially for people of color -- and that erasure can negatively impact bisexual peoples' health and well-being. It's inspiring to see Amandla take a stand by proudly proclaiming who she is.
"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 added. "I definitely believe in the concept of rebellion through selfhood, and rebellion by embracing your true identity no matter what you're being told."
"Here I am, being myself, and it's hard and vulnerable and it's definitely a process, but I'm learning and I'm growing," she said, before noting that it's "still not over yet" -- we have a lot more do to in order to uplift the voices of women of color, bisexual women, gay women, transgender women, mentally ill women, and many other marginalized voices.
Check out the video yourself to hear it in her own voice: