Chances are, you know Amandla Stenberg for her role in The Hunger Games, playing an adorable little girl named Rue who (SPOILER ALERT) dies. But after you watch this video, you’ll know her better as the wisest, most articulate 16-year-old on Earth.
Stenberg and a friend originally made this clip, titled “Don’t Cash Crop On My Cornrows,” for their high school history class three months ago. Speaking directly to the camera in a calm, composed, totally grown-up tone, the actress addresses the hot-button issue of the appropriation of black culture into mainstream pop culture.
While racial and cultural appropriation are topics we’ve been discussing a lot lately (and frequently in a highly charged manner), it’s not often we hear the facts of the matter laid out so clearly—especially from someone as young as Stenberg. From rapper Azealia Banks’s beef with Iggy Azalea over her lack of reaction to the Ferguson crisis, to the problems with certain music videos by Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Miley Cyrus, to why it’s so controversial when white models wear cornrows on the runway, Stenberg—who is half African-American—outlines exactly why respect for cultural uniqueness is so important.
Whether you think you get it or not, Stenberg’s video is educational and more importantly, heart-felt. It’s truly a must-watch.
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