The youngest generation of Hollywood stars has proven to be way more than a smorgasbord of pretty faces. They have brains and a whole new level of social wokeness, too. To be honest, when Amandla Stenberg spoke out about not prescribing to female pronouns recently, it totally blew my mind. All I could think about was how this 18-year-old star was able to articulate themselves in such a way that most adults my age and older probably never thought was possible — in a way that even I am not always capable of achieving. They were so confident in their own skin in this single interview that it's a shining example of why I believe Stenberg just may be the wokest in young Hollywood.
They are royalty, OK? And I'm not the only one who thinks so. While being interviewed for PEOPLE's annual World's Most Beautiful issue, the Everything, Everything star talked about just how silly this whole notion of gender truly is. According to Stenberg, gender identity and sexuality is as fluid as the Chattahoochee River, and “can be pretty much whatever you want it to be.” The actor explained,
But this isn't the first time that the teen has dropped a major truth bomb. Remember when Stenberg politely educated Kylie Jenner on cultural appropriation? And, in doing so, they also schooled many ill-informed culture vultures on just how disrespectful it is. (See Stenberg's 2015 YouTube video "Don't Cash Crop On My Cornrows.")
And we can't forget about Stenberg's powerful Teen Vogue op-ed piece on youth activism written in the summer of 2016. Within, the then-high school senior debunked any claims that today's social activism is simply a fad and proved why it's just as important as picketing in the streets. "Our generation is more than just a hashtag," they wrote. "We are no different from any committed movement of passionate people who see a brighter future for generations to come. We just happen to talk about it in 140 characters or less."
And when it comes to teaching young black kids how to embrace their blackness, Stenberg is pretty much the poster child. While being interviewed by Solange in the February 2016 Teen Vogue issue, they dropped a few gems that I, personally, have turned into daily affirmations. They explained,
Stenberg has proven time and time again that they're a force to be reckoned with, and they have no intention of backing down or being silenced anytime soon. They've perfectly articulated what it means to just be yourself, no matter who's lurking in the shadows.
Who knew that by seeing this young, brave soul embrace their identity, I would feel more comfortable in my own skin? It just goes to show that you're never too young — or too old — to leaving a lasting impression on the world.