Amandla Stenberg, 17, Los Angeles
The odds have remained in Amandla’s favor since her breakthrough role as Rue in “The Hunger Games.” And much like that character, she’s demonstrating considerable strength and knowledge beyond her years.
In the months since her high school video project “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows” became an essential crash course on cultural appropriation, Amandla has emerged as a fearless voice of her generation. From #BlackLivesMatter to #BlackGirlMagic, she’s dedicated her platform to amplifying the people and issues that often go underrepresented in the mainstream.
“I really am not saying anything that radical,” she told Nylon magazine last fall, adding, “People are quick to label me the ‘angry Black girl' because I am who I am and I’m outspoken.”
Yet she continues speaking up, often, without apology—living as an example of how change can happen by showing up as your authentic self. The teenage feminist, who recently came out as bisexual, also co-writes the new comic book series “Niobe: She Is Life,” about a Black half-elf, half-human girl who must save the world.