Solange Interviewed Amandla Stenberg

“Our soul baring is our power.”

January 08, 2016

"There's a secret language between black girls destined to move mountains and cross rivers when the world sometimes tells you to belong to the valleys that surround you. You feel it like a rhythm you can’t shake if you even dared to quiet the sounds around you. Amandla (@amandlastenberg) knows it all too well. So here we are, connecting as non conforming black gals. Connecting as girls who recognize the borders that have been built around us, but tearing them down while coloring outside every line." - soul healing honey mama Solange (@saintrecords) I think that when you’re a black girl and you grow up you internalize all these messages. Everywhere you look tells you that you shouldn't accept your hair, or your natural features, or that you shouldn’t have a voice, or that you aren’t smart. In terms of my evolution I think those internalized messages built up in my mind until I was given the tools to recognize the situation. And understand that no, there’s nothing wrong with me, these are just that these are just messages that we’re fed. I feel like the best way to deal with that has been just to be myself and connect with all these other black girls who are awakening and realizing that they’ve been trying to conform; and the only way to fight that is to be themselves on the most genuine level. My undying gratitude to @teenvogue for giving me the opportunity to be myself. All of my love to all of you for giving me the confidence to be genuine. Our soul baring is our power. #RepresentationMatters #blackgirlmagic

A photo posted by amandla (@amandlastenberg) on

“I’ve realized how powerful it is for me to just discuss issues with young people and begin conversations,” Amandla Stenberg told FADER last fall. The latest issue of Teen Vogue contains one of these conversations between Stenberg and Solange Knowles. “I got cast in The Hunger Games,” the actress/activist tells her interviewer, “and people called me the N-word and said that the death of my character, Rue, would be less sad because I was black. That was the first moment I realized being black was such a crucial part of my identity in terms of the way that I was perceived and how it would affect any line of work that I wanted to pursue.”

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“I think that as a black girl you grow up internalizing all these messages that say you shouldn’t accept your hair or your skin tone or your natural features, or that you shouldn’t have a voice, or that you aren’t smart,” Stenberg continues. “I feel like the only way to fight that is to just be yourself on the most genuine level and to connect with other black girls who are awakening and realizing that they’ve been trying to conform.” “There are still moments now where I’m like, ‘Whoa, this is a lot of pressure,’” she adds. “But it’s worth it because when people come to me and say, ‘I’m more comfortable in my identity because of you,’ or ‘I feel like you’ve given me a voice,’ that’s the most powerful thing ever.”

Read the whole discussion here, and revisit Stenberg’s FADER interview.

Solange Interviewed Amandla Stenberg