Yesha Callahan

Amandla Stenberg : ‘What Would America Be Like If We Loved Black People As Much We Love Black Culture?’

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Amandla Stenberg, who played Rue in the first Hunger Games movie, may only be 16 years old, but has wisdom beyond those years. Stenberg posted a high school video project to her Tumblr account and she’s definitely dropping some knowledge when it comes to cultural appropriation. Especially when it has to deal with white girls stealing black girl’s styles.

http://clandesteen.tumblr.com/post/107484511963/dont-cash-crop-my-cornrows-a-crash-discourse-on

(*video takes a few seconds to appear)

Stenberg doesn’t leave anyone out in her video, and even gives props to Azealia Banks, who recently had a similar rant on Twitter.

Major props to Amandla, and hopefully she continues to teach these folks out here and shines in Hollywood.

Image Credit: Tumblr

  1. April 13, 2015 - Reply

    I can’t get it to play.

  2. April 13, 2015 - Reply

    Great!

  3. April 13, 2015 - Reply

    I was so impressed by young Amanda’s presentation–she gets it. I see this so often–white people Columbusing black artistry and culture and being seen as trendsetters for merely mimicking our style. I see this alot in Korean pop music as well. I too wonder what the U.S.–indeed, what the world would look like–if people loved blacks the way they love black culture. There’s just so much hypocrisy. People from other cultures have no problem borrowing from us but let us try to move into their neighborhoods,marry into their families, go to their schools, etc., and it’s a whole different ballgame. Let’s face it–we serve the purpose of being the entertainment or the help or the exotic fantasy and nothing more–and many of us have bought into that. We’ve become complacent and shrug our shoulders. It’s time for us to unite and speak our minds as a collective body. Gay people and other groups of color have no problem calling out shady and ugly incidents and behavior. We have too many black apologists explaining away or forgiving one racially insensitive act after another. It’s time to stop that nonsense. We’re people too and we matter.

    • April 13, 2015 - Reply

      @shybookworm

      Like Paul Mooney said…

  4. April 13, 2015 - Reply

    I think Amandla Stenberg has made an excellent video especially on cultural appropriation. Many people, who use cultural appropriation for exploitative purposes, know exactly what they are doing. Many non-blacks exploit (not love) black culture. With people like Amandla and others, I do have hope for the future.

  5. April 13, 2015 - Reply

    she touches on a lot of great points in her video. i would love to hear how her classmates responded & what type of discussion they had. glad to know all of our youth aren’t lost in the new blackness.

  6. April 13, 2015 - Reply

    EXCELLENT!

  7. April 13, 2015 - Reply

    I agree with what everyone is saying. She broke it way down!

  8. April 13, 2015 - Reply

    OK so I have never followed any tumblr people. But I am reading this childs page and she is EONS ahead of her time. I’m excited to follow her… Check this out from a recent post…. >>>>>>> “Anonymous: i dont want to come across as rude or condescending, i just am genuinely curious, and would like to better educate myself. i have two questions. first one, can white culture be appropriated? next, what is the difference between a white person wearing something like cornrows as wrong, and a black person having their hair chemically straightened acceptable and not appropriated?

    jassminekay:

    clandesteen:

    black people can only assimilate into white culture, not appropriate it! this is bc white culture is the dominant culture. a black person having their hair chemically straightened would be assimilating in order to ‘survive’

    Also, straight hair isn’t “white culture”. White people aren’t the only ones who have naturally straight hair! A lot of Latinx and Asian people have naturally straight hair. And I’m black and my hair is naturally straight when I leave it alone for a few days. White people do not own straight hair!

    my hair does the same thing 🙂 true!”

  9. April 13, 2015 - Reply

    This is interesting because once again when a biracial girl or woman is being praised for her consciousness by some of the same folks who get hopping made about biracial women in other contexts. This young lady is no doubt very smart, but the fact that she is in the industry, and judging by her surname, she has one Jewish parent also, has probably given her a perspective that a lot youngsters who are more solidly within the majority demographic profile of the African American community would not have. Sometimes being a bit of an outsider provides the sort of detachment that is useful for analysis.

    • April 14, 2015 - Reply

      @Anthony

      Not so sure about that because she got death threats for playing ‘Rue’ on Hunger Games. She got a black reality check that no black child (or black person in general) should ever experience, as white people were enraged their ‘Rue’ was portrayed by a black girl. I mean ENRAGED.
      I think that experience made her look deep within herself and realize she can’t hide behind that Jewish name. Black is black regardless of the hue.

      • April 14, 2015 - Reply

        @Delia

        That actually supports my point. Many cannot get past the fact that lots of men and the larger culture will hold up a biracial female as more attractive, but when a person with that heritage or looks talks about hardship, the response is “your hardship is nothing compared to mine!” By that standard, no one should complain, because there is always someone worse off than you.

      • April 14, 2015 - Reply

        @Delia

        I agree. I can’t speak to her ever “hiding behind her Jewish name” because we don’t know if that’s true or not..but I 100% agree that “black is black regardless of the hue”.

    • April 14, 2015 - Reply

      @Anthony

      You brought up an interesting point, Anthony.
      I have several relatives (siblings) who were raised by parents who were activists and heavily invested in this country’s politics, so my relatives were raised in that environment. My relatives are biracial; their mom is Black and their dad is white (I am related to them, courtesy of their dad).
      Back to my point: my relatives are “conscious” and some of them are (physically) white passing. Every so often, their racial background is brought up.

    • April 14, 2015 - Reply

      @Anthony

      Your first sentence is soooo on point when it comes to Clutch commenters. It is case in point to me that being Black in America in particular-is about culture, NOT skin tone. What we share with the Diaspora isn’t even skin tone, the Diaspora is just as multi-hued. What we all share as Black people, is systemic oppression of our very essence. We share music, hair, style, the way we speak, traditions, etc., all as part of a larger culture. The skin tone is secondary. We do have colorism issues but I wish people would really get that we are one so that we can get back to working FOR us with those who are WITH us in the struggle. Anybody who isn’t down can get left behind.

    • April 14, 2015 - Reply

      @Anthony

      @Anothony: When she was in the Hunger Games as Rue the teen social media users drug her and used all kinds of racist epithets. It was horrible

      • April 14, 2015 - Reply

        @Mary Burrell

        I remember that very well. I also watched The Hunger Games.

      • April 15, 2015 - Reply

        @Mary Burrell

        It was awful the names they called her. When I went to see the movie, I had to tell off about four white kids who were making fun of her. When the movie was over, one of the kids told his parents what I said. The parents came over to me and we had a stare off. They eventually walked away. It was so funny.

  10. April 13, 2015 - Reply

    Many Black entertainers twice the age of this young lady should take notes. She is awesome, and speaks in the spirit of civil rights icons who risked their lives, not just their careers. And I’m glad she referenced Azealia Banks’ comments. They are saying the same thing, just in very different ways. I hope she goes very far in this industry.

    • April 13, 2015 - Reply

      @vintage3000

      She will go far wherever she works because she understands the position of black people in this society, but she also uses the language that signifies “intelligence” in this culture.

      • April 14, 2015 - Reply

        @Anthony

        right now she is young and idealistic, she will get older nothing will change then she will throw up her hands and say “oh well” and move on with her white husband.

        • September 4, 2015 - Reply

          @TheBurningBush

          Can you tell me what the next winning numbers for the Powerball are?

    • April 14, 2015 - Reply

      @vintage3000

      @vintage3000: Maybe she could school Rayven Symone

      • April 14, 2015 - Reply

        @Mary Burrell

        Mary, stuff just bounces off of rocks. Let Amandla do something productive.

      • April 15, 2015 - Reply

        @Mary Burrell

        I feel you Sister.

  11. April 14, 2015 - Reply

    Slightly off topic? But, I notice that black people are taken less seriously then non black people of color like Native Americans, Indians and Middle Easterns when speaking out against appropriation.

    Like the cracker women in coachella are going crazy with henna & bindis. Arabs and middle easterns are putting these vulture crackers in their place and the crackers are replying to them with utmost respect. And mind you NOT ONE Arab/Indian was defending this foolish behavior from these crackers and mocking the reality of cultural appropriation and trying to silence & shame with ignorance their fellow people speaking out against it. Unlike how I see many black people do to each other when blacks speak out against appropriation.

    I notice non black people of color do NOT go out of their way to defend white people and their nonsense like black people do. When black people speak about how rap is being appropriated, twerking, slang, hairstyles white people (and their uncle tom tag team) reply much more hostile, condescendingly and disrespectfully. It’s something that confuses me.

    • April 14, 2015 - Reply

      @disqus_6sinns1216

      Black people are not united, we need to get back to COMMUNITY, slowly but surely, I think we will…and the new blacks will get left in the dust, let their white fans have at em.

      • April 14, 2015 - Reply

        @elle D.

        You’re right Sister. Unity and community are very important. We are never ashamed of our blackness. We love our blackness unapologetically. Standing on real principles and following our own aspirations are our goals.

        • April 14, 2015 - Reply

          @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

          Peace to you Truth for always speaking truth to power. There was a time around the mid 2000’s when I thought Black culture was lost, community gone in this land. But people like you inspire me, I know there are more people out there who GET it–this next election cycle for POTUS will be really real, and we better all stay WOKE.

          • April 14, 2015 - Reply

            @elle D.

            Thank you Sister elle D.

            You always drops the jewels and the real actual factuals that people ought to understand. Certainly, 2015 is an unique time. With all of the events going on, I do feel that more people are waking up (in my spirit). Some will be left behind. Some will embrace the “New Black” false doctrine. Yet, there will be those who will remain firm and true to the goal of black liberation. I’m a younger person, so in the year 2050, I will still be here (I will be less than 70 years old) showing the truth God Willing. One of the lessons of the recession is that self-individualism, materialism, and other evils won’t work. We have to be more community-oriented.

            Yes, this election cycle will be something else. We have faith. If our ancestors survived the most brutal experiences in human history, then we will win this battle. Our legacy is strong, our melanin is glorious, and black is beautiful. Also, I’m going to study more about the African Diaspora and the diversity of our cultures internationally. God is with us and the truth will remain forever.

            • April 14, 2015 - Reply

              @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

              Yes–God willing and the creek don’t rise, I will be here too, I so agree with you on the lessons about the recession. I pray more people get it, but at the end of the day, considering the endurance of the Ancestors, you are right, we will thrive regardless.

              • April 14, 2015 - Reply

                @elle D.

                I agree with you Sister.

                Peace and Blessings to You.

    • April 14, 2015 - Reply

      @disqus_6sinns1216

      You’re on to something.

  12. April 14, 2015 - Reply

    Awww…wise beyond her years! She will go far. Bless her…

  13. April 14, 2015 - Reply

    Very good i enjoyed that. She’ s very sharp and she did a great job. She gets an A+

  14. April 14, 2015 - Reply

    I forgot she portrayed the daughter of Orlando Jones and Jill Marie(Toni Chiles from Girlfriends) daughter on Sleepy Hollow

  15. April 17, 2015 - Reply

    First, I’m deeply impressed with this young woman; she’s
    clearly intelligent, articulate, and with perspective and insight light years
    ahead of her peers across all races.

    If you were asked to boil her message down to one sentence,
    what would it be?

    In the end she asks “What would it be if black people
    were as loved as black culture” which I suppose suggests that white people
    adopting black culture is diametrically opposed to white people loving black
    people.

    Her expressed issue with white stars adopting
    “blackness” is that “the appropriator does not appreciate the
    deep cultural significance of the styles … Corn rolls are not just stylistic,
    they are necessary in order to keep black hair neat.”

    I don’t think that anyone argues with that. Hollywood ignorance
    does not discriminate. She is correct that white stars adopt black styles to
    appear “edgy.”

    I was taught that imitation
    was the best form of flattery.

    What is the take-away
    lesson from this talented young woman? That it would help if white stars did
    not adopt/mimic black styles/culture?
    Keep white-dominated pop culture purely blonde and strictly white? Don’t
    give Beyonce a hard time for straightening her hair or Nicki Minaj for having blonde
    hair …

    All of my black
    girlfriends go to great lengths to make their hair straight silky smooth long
    and light. No one blinks an eye.

    I think the real question I want to ask is why default to
    the negative? Why is her message not “Hooray! Black styles are finally
    celebrated across mainstream media! Nickie Manaj is blonde and Miley Cyris
    twirks!”

    Obviously I’m not as smart as Stenberg. I have complete
    confidence in the next generation; we’re in good hands.

  16. November 10, 2015 - Reply

    Omg, I thought I couldn’t love this kid any more. I was wrong.

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