Yara Shahidi is ahead of her time, and her April 2018 cover story for Essence Magazine totally proves this to be true. The actor and activist sat down with the publication to share about her impressive plans for the future, but Yara's comments about activism will both knock your socks off and serve as a reminder as to why fans admire her so much.
Sure, Yara's captivated millions with her portrayal of the stylishly inquisitive Zoey Johnson on both Freeform's Grownish and ABC's Blackish, but acting and participating in the coolest celebrity happenings aren't the only things on the teenager's agenda. Aside from her booming career in entertainment, the young star is making some serious strides as an activist. And though she thoroughly enjoys being in the spotlight, her passion for bringing awareness to the many injustices happening in the world takes up a lot of space. While speaking to Essence, Yara said,
"I've always struggled with Hollywood feeling trivial. Red carpets aren't worth it. As fun as it is to get dressed up, it is surreal to be sitting at the Teen Choice Awards while [something like] Charlottesville is happening."
Whether writing amazing poetry about America's current state of politics, including gun control, or leading a Ted Talk about the inherent, yet dangerous, stereotypes of black people in media, Yara has consistently used her platform to broaden her activism. So, hearing that the entertainer seemingly takes more pride in talking about the many injustices in the world, instead of gloating about which designer she's rocking on the red carpet makes a lot of sense. And honestly, that's why people adore her so much.
At the tender age of 18, the talent deferred her acceptance to Harvard a year to focus on her passions, and has not only caught the attention of millions of fans (with a whopping 2.1 millions followers on Instagram, alone), but has also captured the eye of some pretty awesome thought-leaders in the industry. Along with former first lady Michelle Obama being vocal about how much she loves Yara, and even writing her a college recommendation letter to her alma mater, media mogul Oprah Winfrey also couldn't help but gush over the young actor's brilliance.
By staying true to herself, and fighting for those without a platform such as hers, the budding humanitarian is inspiring generations both before and after her. And fans aren't quiet when it comes to giving this young star her roses.
Yara isn't just playing the role of a political junkie, however. This is her life. According to the actor, "being woke" isn't a trend, or something she embodies for social media attention (something that she's been criticized for on the web before), and she doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. In the interview, she continued, saying:
"I feel comfortable putting my political stances out there without feeling as though I am filling some sort of quota. I don't have a wokeness quota for the day."
And with that said, the entertainer is definitely inspiring young and old people, alike, to stand up for what they believe in — even when in the face of doubters.
But being a politically involved public figure does come with its fair share of scrunity. As mentioned before, just because Yara is beloved by many, doesn't mean that she isn't immune to backlash. The actor opened up to Essence about how she deals with negative comments on the web, reminding the world that she's only human. "There are those moments when I can go through 10 million amazing comments that are super supportive," she said in the interview, "and one person may say something and I'll stew over it."
While searching Yara's name on Twitter, you'll find that for every dose of negativity thrown her way, there are a slew of other supporters letting her know how much they appreciate her presence. And here's to hoping the overwhelming amount of positivity drives her to keep speaking out.