In the midst of the terrible uptake in violent crimes by authority figures against people of color, leave it to a 16 year old to make one of the most poignant statements to be heard in a very long time.
You may know Amandla Stenberg as the younger version of Zoe Saldana in the movie Columbiana, or as cute little Rue from District 11 in The Hunger Games, but this young woman is slowly becoming a strong voice in the fight for people of color to regain proper value of their lives.
Recently, for her history class, Stenberg and a few classmates created a project aptly titled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows”, where she posed the question “What would be America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?”
In the video, she touches on the often overlooked truth that while black lives are often devalued and black people are often disregarded by society, black culture, including hairstyles and music are adopted by mainstream, taking the trends from “ghetto” to “high fashion” or “cool”.
She called out artists such as Iggy Azalea, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift as culprits of being prime cultural misappropriators (yes, I made that word up, but it works) and spoke on how hip hop stems from the struggle of the people who created it, so when another race simply takes it, without understanding the story behind it, it is a blatant disrespect to those individuals.
This is a great reflective piece by such a young woman. If our society cared about our lives the way they care about our culture, there would probably be no need for hash tags such as #blacklivesmatter in the first place.
To see the video for Amanda’s project, click here.