The 17-year-old “The Hunger Games” actress and Los Angeles native, who’s been outspoken about cultural appropriation via her social media accounts, chatted with WWD after her WE Day California speech.
WWD: What made you want to get involved with WE Day?
Amandla Stenberg: It has the exact same morals that I do in terms of utilizing the power we have to make change. There are a lot of amazing people here educating the youth in the audience about certain topics we might not know about, and I love that.
WWD: What’s been your favorite moment?
A.S.: All the kids are going wild cheering, and seeing people who have disabilities rising above them and hearing the stories of people who have had to deal with racism and sexism, that’s really cool to see. I didn’t know that kids were that hyped up on activism.
WWD: You’re very vocal, so how would you suggest that kids find their voice?
A.S.: I think it begins small. You don’t have to start an organization in order for your work to be valid; you can just have a conversation with your friends and navigate in a space. As you become more passionate about a certain topic you care about, your reach becomes farther, but it all starts with something small.
WWD: What sparked your interest in change?
A.S.: My parents have always been knowledgeable about the way society is structured and taught me about that, and my passion to speak out about it comes from within. [Being an actress] gives me the space and freedom to talk about the things that I care about.
WWD: You have a lot of other projects happening between your folk-rock duo Honeywater with Zander Hawley, and your Stranger Comics book “Niobe: She is Life.” What else are you working on?
A.S.: I’m working on a project called “The Hate You Give,” which is based on a novel about “Black Lives Matter.” Then I’m graduating from high school in the spring and going to NYU in the fall.