17-year-old actress Amandla Stenberg, aka Rue from The Hunger Games, talks about how being a woman of colour who identifies as bisexual is a political act in and of itself, in the new issue of Interview magazine.
In January, Stenberg took over the Teen Vogue Snapchat and came out as bisexual, saying "it's deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mould yourself into shapes you just shouldn't be in. As someone who identifies as a black, bisexual woman, I've been through it."
"We cannot be suppressed," she continued. "We are meant to express our joy and our love and our tears and be big and bold and definitely not easy to swallow...Here I am being myself and it’s definitely hard and vulnerable and it’s definitely a process but I’m learning and I’m growing."
Sharing the video to Twitter later, she captioned it "bi black girls unite"
Now, in Interview's series of profiles about "The New Activists", Stenberg expands on her ideas about intersectional feminism, sexuality and race.
"I mean, unfortunately or not unfortunately, take it as you will, when you are a marginalized person or a woman of color and/or someone who's a part of the LGBTQ community, your acts become politicised, just by being yourself. Because we're not completely accepting of all different kinds of human beings. So that's been an interesting dynamic for me to navigate. [laughs] By being myself, I'm doing something political. "
Despite people not being "completely accepting of all different kinds of human beings", Stenberg says that the response to her coming out has been mostly positive, and that "inspires" her to "continue talking about things [she cares] about".
"For the people who feel inspired by what I'm doing, there's something so concrete and powerful in what's happening when they feel empowered. There's actually some kind of growth or self-acceptance, some kind of self-love that's actually being triggered, hopefully," she says.
Stenberg is vocal about feminism, race, mental health, and LGBTQI issues regularly on social media.
After calling out Kylie Jenner for cultural appropriation last year, she posted the following mini-essay, asking readers, "do female black lives matter, too?"
When asked why her Tumblr was full of photos of African American women, Stenberg posted this flawless response:
She also posted a video essay about cultural appropriation of black hairstyles entitled Don't Cash Crop On My Cornrows:
And called for people to end the narrative of the "angry black girl" on Twitter:
When she was 15, she directed a short film tackling mental illness.
As a result of being vocal about these issues, Stenberg says that she is often asked which is most important to her.
"But that's how intersectionality works," she explains. "I'm like, 'Well, they're all intertwined. It's all one conversation at the end of the day. You can't just pick one.' I mean, people experience all kinds of prejudice because of all different parts of themselves. And that doesn't make one part more important than the other."
Looking to the future, Stenberg hopes that "one day it's not revolutionary just to be yourself", describing the work that's being done around identity as "so important".