With a name that means “power” in Zulu, Amandla Stenberg is a 17-year-old trailblazing force who has been called “one of 2016’s most important voices.” Born in Los Angeles, Amandla began modeling for Disney at the age of four and landed national commercials for McDonald’s, Walmart, Kmart, Boeing and Marshalls. She appeared on the big screen for the first time in 2011 in Colombiana as a young Zoe Saldana and, a year later, became an international “shero” as Rue in the blockbuster film The Hunger Games. Since then, Amandla’s resounding roar and social media activism for race, gender and sexuality equality have been heard around the world.
Just last year, Amandla’s high school video history project she titled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows” went viral with nearly two million views, sparking a global conversation on cultural appropriation. She co-directed the “#BLACKGIRLMAGIC” video series for Teen Vogue and appeared on the magazine’s “Power Girls” issue in February. Amandla will star in the Fox 2000 film The Hate U Give, based on the young adult novel by Angela Thomas, which was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. She is on the cover of Interview Magazine’s “The New Progressives” issue that salutes a wave of new activists changing the world for good.
Amandla plays the violin, drums and guitar and is part of the folk-rock duo Honeywater. She’s also the co-author of the highly acclaimed comic book series Niobe: She Is Life. Amandla serves as youth ambassador for No Kid Hungry and supports the Ubuntu Education fund in South Africa. Amandla’s latest film, As You Are, debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Amandla says she started going gray at the age of five and likes to play covers of Drake songs on the violin.