Solange Interviews Amandla Stenberg For Teen Vogue’s February Issue

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Actress-meets-activist Amandla Stenberg  has continually reached new heights over the past year. At just the tender age of 17, she’s become an inspirational spokesperson for our youth. Her latest success has landed her as the cover star for the February issue of Teen Vogue.

In the issue, Stenberg sat down with our very own Solange Knowles to discuss how she learned to love her Blackness and her continuous evolution as a young woman of color. The two discussed natural hair tresses, Amandla’s video on cultural appropriation, “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows“, her comic book Niobe: She Is Life, and more.

Photographed by Ben Toms and styled by Julia Sarr-Jamois, the new face of feminisim also gave us street chic realness throughout the entire spread. Check out some of the photos below, along with Solange’s writer’s edit. Be sure to visit Teen Vogue‘s website for more information on the upcoming issue:

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Before I meet Amandla, I am sitting on the couch at my best friends house feeling deeply regretful I didn’t prepare for this interview. From the outside looking in, I recognized her so deeply, I didn’t think I’d needed to. She could very well be my “third cousin’s, god sister’s friend who goes to school with that girl that used to live up the block from me”. Only, my cousin’s god sisters friend didn’t star in one of the highest grosses films of all time, make a school assignment so culturally impactful that grown folks were lowing their glasses taking notes, or slay countless magazine covers, leaving the world to echo at once “That Amandla is one to keep your eye on.”

Theres a secret language between black girls destined to move mountains and cross rivers when the world sometimes tells you to belong to the valleys that surround you. You learn it very young, and it has no words, but you hear it and see it all around you. You sense it when you walk into rooms, your hair elevated with every exalted coil, your sway a little too swift, and your shoulders a little too proud. You feel it like a rhythm you can’t shake if you even dared to quiet the sounds around you. Amandla knows it all too well,

“I think that when you’re a black girl and you grow up you internalize all these messages. Everywhere you look that tell you that you shouldn’t accept your hair, or your natural features, or that you shouldn’t have a voice, or that you aren’t smart. In terms of my evolution I think those internalized messages built up in my mind until I was given the tools to recognize the situation. And understand that no, there’s nothing wrong with me, these are just that these are just messages that we’re fed. I feel like the best way to deal with that has been just to be myself and connect with all these other black girls who are awakening and realizing that they’ve been trying to conform; and the only way to fight that is to be themselves on the most genuine level.”

So here we are, connecting as non conforming black gals. Connecting as girls who recognize the borders that have been built around us, but tearing them down while coloring outside every line. Connecting as lovers of wearing the color sienna orange. Connecting as two chicks exhausted by talking about our hair, although we of course know, it’s bad ass. Connecting as humans who are both trying to figure out the mathematics of composer Steve Reich’s – “Violin Phase.” Connecting as two descendants of powerful Queens, who roamed the journey before us, and we hold the most high.

I may not have felt prepared, but I sure as hell felt inspired, deeply moved by the honesty shared between us, and ready to take on the world sprinkling Black girl magic in every crevice of the universe!

-Solange

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