​solange knowles and amandla stenberg talk trailblazing black girl magic

The musician and 'Hunger Games' actor got real about prejudice, comic books and learning to embrace the beauty of your blackness.

by Charlotte Gush and i-D Staff
08 January 2016, 2:52pm

Image via @amandlastenberg

Whoever came up with the idea of Solange Knowles interviewing Amandla Stenberg is a freakin' genius. Despite the fact Solange didn't prep any questions (#casual) the pair's new cover story for Teen Vogue is all kinds of awesome -- especially paired with the fresh, downtown shoot styled by i-D Senior Fashion Editor Julia Sarr Jamois.

Although they hadn't met before, the two "nonconforming black girls... two trailblazers who recognize the borders that have been built around us as we steadily tear them down," proved they had plenty to talk about. 

On the political and personal issue of black hair, Stenberg said, "I know when I used to chemically straighten mine, I did it because I wasn't comfortable with my natural hair. I thought it was too poofy, too kinky. So for me, personally, when I started wearing it natural, it felt like I was blossoming because I was letting go of all the dead hair and all the parts of me that had rejected my natural state."

Telling Solange about her amazing-sounding comic book, Niobe: She Is Life, Stenberg explains that, "Growing up, I was always super into fantasy and The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones and all of that, but I could never find black characters whom I really liked. And so immediately I identified with Niobe, the lead character. She's this rad black girl elf. It's interesting because it is fantasy, but it's also really kind of self-reflective. She's finding her faith and finding her identity. And she's going to keep growing until she becomes this warrior destined to unite the human world and the elf world. I think it's officially the first comic book to be written by a black girl, starring a black girl [Niobe Ayutami], and illustrated by a black girl [Ashley A. Woods]".

On her girl gang of massive over-achievers and cool babes, Amandla says, "Kiernan [Shipka] has been by my side since the beginning. Willow [Smith] is amazing. I feel like we were just meant to be friends. We were kind of vibing off each other from afar, and then she hit me up and was like, 'Let's hang out!'. She has the most magnetic, radiant energy ever. Whenever we hang out we just laugh and we sing and we dance and we go hiking. And then Tavi [Gevinson] -- I was the biggest Rookie fan since forever. I checked it daily, hourly. Then Rookie asked me to do an interview, and now Tavi is one of my closest friends". Serious #SquadGoals.


Image via @amandlastenberg

julia sarr-jamois
solange knowles
teen vogue
Amandla stenberg
amandla sternberg