Actress Amandla Stenberg comes out as bisexual, talks about importance of representation

Actress and advocate Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) today came out as bisexual and spoke about the importance of seeing yourself represented in the culture around you as part of her takeover of the Teen Vogue Snapchat account.

“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 [Knowles, who interviewed Stenberg for the magazine's February cover] and Ava Duvernay and Willow [Smith] 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.”

Stenberg, 17, helped bring the discussion of cultural appropriation to mainstream attention in 2014 when she posted a video she had made for a class, "Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows," to her Tumblr account. You can next catch her in the 1990s-set film As You Are about a trio of best friends whose group becomes the focus of a police investigation. Keep up to date with Amandla on Twitter at @amandlastenberg and on Tumblr @amandla.