Extremely woke teen Amandla Stenberg graced fans with an "Ask Amandla" video this morning for Rookie, and discussed natural hair, the process of self-acceptance, sexuality, and intersectional activism.
The former Hunger Games star, who prefers "they" pronouns, is part of Rookie's How We Live series, which focuses on the lived experiences of black teenagers. As usual, Stenberg had wisdom beyond their years for the readers who sent in questions.
They spoke about how, being a multifaceted human person, they had to fight on multiple fronts, saying, "I cannot separate my gender from my race from my sexual orientation. ...They're all interconnected. They're all intersectional."
But those with intersectional identities don't always have to feel like Sojourner Truth in their activism. "If you are speaking out or assisting or helping in one way, you're actually reaching out and impacting in all of these other different ways," Stenberg said. "And you don't have to focus on one."
This was clear in Stenberg's other answers, giving advice that would definitely resonate for different identities. One girl, who was inspired by Stenberg to go natural, asked for advice on embracing her hair in the face of white beauty standards.
"People laugh at things that they do not understand," Stenberg said. "And unfortunately, we do live in a society where people don't seem to understand natural black hair."
Stenberg, who identifies as bi- or pansexual, also discussed bi-erasure and how it can affect coming out and relationships.
"You don't hear about bisexuality a lot, or when you do hear about it, it can obviously oftentimes be kind of negatively conceived as, 'Oh yeah, just a girl who's fooling around, is a little promiscuous and hooks up with girls.' Or it's like through the male gaze where it's like, 'It's really hot when girls hook up with other girls once in a while just for fun.' And that can totally get in the way of feeling like you can be in a relationship."
They continued, "You're like, 'Oh my god, I like this girl, she's so cute--oh wait, I've been lesbian the whole time!' And then the next moment you end up hanging out with this guy and you're like, 'Oh my god, I have a crush on this guy! Oh wait, I'm totally straight! I was never gay!' And you kind of just get stuck in that, because you forget that you can be both."
YES, #bisexualityisathing, and stay awesome, Amandla.