Young, Gifted and Black: Amandla Stenberg

Amandla Stenberg is a beautifully outspoken feminist, viral social activist and dynamic actress/musician who has captured our hearts in films like Colombiana and The Hunger Games.

Published April 14th

1998

Starting Out
Starting Out

Amandla Stenberg was born in Los Angeles, California, on October 23, 1998, to Karen Brailsford and Tom Stenberg. 

2002

Budding Career
Budding Career

Amandla booked her first gig with Disney doing catalog modeling shoots when she was four years old. At a young age, she was featured in numerous commercials, most notably for McDonald's, Walmart and BuildTheDream.org.

2010

Colombiana
Colombiana

In the summer of 2010, Amandla got her big break in her first feature, Colombiana, an action-thriller starring Zoe Saldana. Amandla played the younger version of Zoe Saldana's character and, according to The New York Times, "her portrayal of the future deadly-but-sensitive killer is such a perfect combination of trembling, action chops and deadpan humor."

2011

A Taste of Romance
A Taste of Romance

Soon after, Amandla made her mark in another role, starring in the Hallmark Channel movie A Taste of Romance, which she filmed in Los Angeles in February 2011.

2012

The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games

In April 2011, Amandla landed the coveted role of Rue in the film The Hunger Games. Amandla stood out to many outlets as a talented budding actress! Time Magazine said Amandla "adds underage winsomeness as Rue," and Variety mentioned her as a "winning newcomer." Her emotional performance earned her an NAACP Image Award nom for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture and Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Chemistry, which she was awarded along with Jennifer Lawrence.

2011

Monumental Tribute
Monumental Tribute

Amandla was invited by the MLK Memorial Foundation, to pay tribute to the four little girls killed in the Birmingham church bombing, alongside luminaries Jesse Jackson, Tommy Hilfiger, Dan Rather, Stevie Wonder and more, who also participated in the memorial's dedication ceremony.

2013

Role Power
Role Power

She appears in the short film Mercy as the daughter of singer Robin Thicke. She also plays herself in a skit with friend Kiernan Shipka of Mad Men for Funny or Die's Child Star Psychologist 3 With Kiernan Shipka. Amandla also started guest-starring in a four-episode arc on the first season of Fox's Sleepy Hollow playing Macey.

2013

Music Matters
Music Matters

Amandla is also heavily involved with the Rock STAR Music Education program, which has landed her gigs at the House of Blues and the Hard Rock Cafe. Her band also won RockSTAR's Battle of the Bands in 2013, which in turn earned her studio sessions with producer/engineer Gerry Brown. Her folk-rock duo Honeywater released its first EP in August 2015.

2015

Regular Season
Regular Season

Amandla started really scoring roles on television when she began to appear as a series regular on NBCUniversal's Mr. Robinson.

2015

Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows
Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows

Amandla's viral school project post "Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows" catapulted Amandla to becoming a popular social activist on the topic of cultural appropriation. She was also declared "one of the most incendiary voices of her generation" by Dazed Magazine and Time Magazine named her one of the 30 Most Influential Teens of 2015.

2016

#CareFreeBlackGirl
#CareFreeBlackGirl

Notably, Amandla was featured on the cover of Teen Vogue's February 2016 issue, for which she was interviewed by fellow #CarefreeBlackGirl Solange Knowles. Now, Black Girls Rock! is taking the time to recognize this Young Gifted and Black young lady for her contributions. You rock, Amandla!