February is Black History Month; a time to celebrate and recognize African American history and achievements when a lot of the time those achievements and moments in history go unnoticed and/or uncelebrated. It is important to recognize all of the things black people are voicing and fighting for, especially when they are so often silenced.
There are plenty of people who can be celebrated, plenty of people who have accomplished a lot doing a huge array of things. There are scientists, politicians, activists, singers, etc. There are times when many can be overlooked because of selective media attention, both in the past and in the present.
Black women especially face a hurdle when attempting to speak about many systematic and oppressing issues. With recent events all over the United States it’s easy to see that there is still a great amount of disparity between the experiences of white people and black people in the United States. There’s a huge push in society towards shaming and looking down on women of color, especially black women, in terms of beauty ideals. Plenty of women have internalized feelings of being less than what is idealized by western standards of beauty. In today’s society there are more and more black women pushing towards reclaiming their natural beauty and fighting against those warped ideals.
It can be difficult to name important black feminists. It is not popular nor a common norm to place black women at the forefront of popular media or display them as leaders of the feminist movement.
Amandla Stenberg’s name is being spoken more, especially within younger generations. An actress, feminist and activist, Amandla Stenberg is recognized most because of her portrayal of Rue in The Hunger Games movie. However, recently she has truely made herself known as a someone who is outspoken about gender, sexuality and race issues today. She also came out as bisexual through Snapchat this year, encouraging people to be more open about different sexualities and identities.
“I definitely believe in the concept of rebellion through selfhood and rebellion just by embracing your true identity no matter what you’re being told. Here I am being myself and it’s hard and vulnerable and it’s definitely a process but I’m learning and I’m growing,” Stenberg said. As an important and popular icon in today’s society, Stenberg being outspoken about “embracing your true identity” is incredibly important for a lot of young black people. Of course she is not the only talk about embracing your own natural beauty and identity, but being so young, she hits a very important demographic who go through a lot of the self doubt she fights against. With Amandla Stenberg on covers of magazines like Teen Vogue she creates an amazing opportunity to continue having important conversations and understand the important impact African American women have in our society.
Of course she is not the only person speaking out about embracing one’s own natural beauty and identity, but being so young allows her to reach a very important demographic which often struggles with a lot of the self doubt that she combats. All of this helps people to understand the important impact African American women have in our society.