Amandla Stenberg has been working with Teen Vogue to create a series of webisodes tackling issues of racism and misrepresentation of African-American Peoples.
The most recent webisode is titled “Things Black Girls are Tired of Hearing”. In this short video, Amandla along with several black artists, creatives and activists explain true meanings behind statements like “you’re pretty for a Black girl” and “you talk well for a Black girl.” The ultimate question “Can I touch your hair” is also addressed. Statements and questions like these basically mean that black people are not expected to be beautiful or smart. We are seen as the exotic, almost like an animal.
The next video in the series is titled “Why Black is Beautiful and Powerful”. The Black creatives in this video go on to explain the strength and resilience that is Black people. A primary reason for the beauty and power of black people is our gracefulness through oppression. Even as black people are gun downed in the streets by white officers we remain as the major influence of pop culture in America and are at the very essence of what it means to be cool in this country.
Also see Stenberg’s video “Black Women Share their Hair Stories”. Every black woman has a hair story or hair journey of coming to accept the fact that our hair is beautiful in its most natural state. For years we were told that we had to chemically alter the structure of our hair in order to be accepted by society. The most beautiful aspect of black hair is its ability to be manipulated so easily in a variety of styles and still remain healthy and strong.
The problem is that the media teaches us to believe in only one standard of beauty and it is hard to come to a place of self acceptance on your own when so many forces are betting against you. So tell me, what makes your Black beautiful and share your hair story below.