We all remember Amandla Stenberg as the adorable Rue on The Hunger Games. When Amandla starred in this movie, she was only 13, and her appearance caused a ruckus on the internet among certain people who expected to see a white female in the role. The author of the Hunger Games books, Suzanne Collins, was quick to point out she had described Rue as having dark skin and eyes, a fact overlooked by many racist fans.
Well, now the Hunger Games star is 16 and still causing a stir — for all the right reasons — on the internet. Recently, Amandla, who is active on Tumblr, used the medium to post a video she and a classmate, Quinn Masterson, had made three months earlier. In the video titled Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows: A Crash Discourse on Black Culture, the actress very clearly describes some of the issues between black culture and appropriation. Amandla has plenty to say about how white people have used the parts of black culture they like to their own advantage, especially in relation to music and styling, citing Hip-Hop and cornrows as two items that have been taken over considerably by the white community. While she explains there will always be a blur between the lines of what is considered assimilation and appropriation, she did explain why the black community may get offended at certain things, citing the cultural background behind, once again, Hip-Hop music and cornrows. While the Hunger Games actress had a lot to say, the main crux of her video can probably be summed up with her parting quote.
“But here’s the thing, appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated, but is deemed as high fashion, cool, or funny when the privileged take it for themselves. Appropriation occurs when the appropriator is not aware of the deep significance of the culture that they are partaking in.”
Amandla has caused a plethora of conversation as a result of her video, and now many people are involved, not only in supporting the actress, but in asking genuine questions about what is and isn’t appropriate in relation to the white community’s appropriation of black culture.
The Hunger Games actress finishes up her succinct video with one last thought provoking question.
“What would America be like if we loved black people as much as black culture?”
You can watch the whole video Amandla and Quinn made below.
[Image Credit: The Hunger Games/Lionsgate]