Why Amandla Stenberg Doesn't Want To Label Her Sexuality
One of the biggest and best trends of the past year has been the rise of the teenage feminist, with young, female stars like Rowan Blanchard, Zendaya, and Willow Smith voicing their opinions on topics ranging from sexual orientation to the presentation of women in film. And one of the best parts of that has been seeing the great Amandla Stenberg, once best known for a role in The Hunger Games, leading the charge. Stenberg, 17, has been the force behind a bona-fide movement of young activism, with a viral video on cultural appropriation and a comic book about a black heroine in the works. Most recently, she came out as bisexual — but while her statement was made public on Twitter, Stenberg tells Bustle that she doesn't necessarily want to be defined by one term.
"I’m still kind of wary about specifically labeling myself," she says while at the Sundance Film Festival to promote her new film, As You Are. "I don’t really see sexuality in boxes... I see myself on a scale."
"Though now I’ve been labeled," she adds with a laugh, "No one really cares."
Very true — as it should be, most people are far more focused on Stenberg's powerful activism and burgeoning film career than on her sexual orientation. Yet you only have to look at any comments section to see that there are still some who criticize her openness about her sexuality, as well as the 14-year-old Blanchard's recent use of "queer" to describe herself, due to these stars still being in their teens.
"I feel like there’s no such thing as being too young to know how you identify," says Stenberg. "People are born with their sexualities."
Wise words, but not surprising ones coming from the actor, who's made a name for herself by eloquently and effectively educating the world on matters ranging from cultural appropriation of black hairstyles to equal representation in the art world. Alongside equally impressive peers like Blanchard and Smith, Stenberg has acted as a much-needed reminder to the public that teen voices matter — and oftentimes, what they have to say is, important, even essential, to hear. Here's hoping that these stars continue to inspire, by speaking out loudly and publicly about issues that truly matter.