amandla stenberg: ‘i’m very bisexual’
Reasons to love Amandla Stenberg: 1) she managed to turn Kylie Jenner's cornrows into a meaningful conversation about cultural appropriation, 2) she's feminist AF, 3) she's written an empowering young adult comic book about a feisty multiethnic orphan.
And now, you can add to that list: she just came out in the most perfectly human, most perfectly 2015 way — on the Teen Vogue Snapchat, with a characteristically on-point and moving speech about representation and "embracing your true identity."
"As someone who identifies as a black bisexual woman, I've been through it, and it hurts and it's awkward and it's uncomfortable," she said in the video. But she stressed that seeing other women like Solange, Ava Duvernay, and Willow Smith excel while speaking out, has helped reinforce her belief that "we cannot be suppressed. We are meant to express our joy and our love and our tears, to be big and bold and definitely not easy to swallow."
Last night, she also shared the video on her Tumblr (read the full text below) in a post which she tagged — because she does nothing by halves — "I'm very bisexual."
I wanna thank Teen Vogue for giving me this opportunity, I cannot stress enough how important representation is, so the concept that I can provide for other black girls is mind-blowing. It's a really really hard thing to be silenced, and it's deeply bruising to fight against your identity and just mold yourself into shapes that you just shouldn't be in. As someone who identifies as a black bisexual woman, I've been through it, and it hurts and it's awkward and it's uncomfortable. But then I realized: because of Solange and Ava Duvernay and Willow and all the black girls watching this right now, there's absolutely nothing but change. We cannot be suppressed. We are meant to express our joy and our love and our tears, to be big and bold and definitely not easy to swallow. I definitely believe in the concept of rebellion through selfhood, and rebellion through 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 growing. Thank you for supporting me and doing this, and thank you to Teen Vogue. This is just the beginning, though; we have a lot of work to do for all women of color. We need more representation in film and television. We need our voices to be louder in the media. And not just women of color — bisexual women, gay women, transgender women, mentally ill women. I'm sick of all the misogyny and homophobia and transphobia that I see around me, and I know you are too. Thank you for listening and goodnight.
Text Alice Newell-Hanson