After her YouTube video 'Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows' went viral, Amandla Stenburg has continued speaking out about racism - and she's only 16
When we were 16, we were busy working out how forge our parents’ signatures to get out of doing our homework and debating whether the boys in Year 12 knew what our names were (spoiler: they didn’t). But 16 year old Amandla Stenburg, star of The Hunger Games and Jaden Smith’s prom date, has bigger things on her mind: she’s forcing Hollywood to take racism seriously.
After fellow teen Kylie Jenner posted an instagram picture of her hair styled into cornrows, Amandla commented underneath. ‘When u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter.’
And as the Kardashian-Jenner fans reacted to the criticism, Amandla has taken the opportunity to elaborate on her comments – writing a small essay and posting it to Twitter to explain why she struggles to see white women adopting black features.
‘Black features are beautiful. Black women are not,’ Amandla writes of how society views women of different races. ‘White women are paragons of virtue and desire. Black women are objects of fetishism and brutality.’
‘This, at least, seems to be the mentality surrounding black femininity and beauty in a society built upon eurocentric beauty standards. While white women are praised for altering their bodies, plumping their lips, and tanning their skin, black women are shamed although the same features exist on them naturally.’
‘This double standard is one string in the netting that surrounds black female sexuality — a web that entraps black women when they claim sexual agency. Deeply ingrained into culture is the notion that black female bodies, at the intersect of oppression, are less than human and therefore unattractive.’
It’s not the first time that Amandla has voiced her views about race and feminism on social media. The high school student recently made a YouTube video about cultural appropriation as part of her coursework, called Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows. (Now viewed over 1.5 million times, we can only assume she got an A.)