Amandla Stenberg Gives Compelling Lesson on Cultural Appropriation


“What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?”

That’s the very appropriate question 16-year-old actress Amandla Stenberg, who is most known for her role as Rue in Hunger Games, posed at the end of a video about the influence of black culture and cultural appropriation in the media.

The video titled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows” was part of a history class project she and another student created. In less than five minutes, the young star touches on the history of black hairstyles, hip hop and fashion that has made its way into mainstream leading to the misappropriation of black culture.

“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,” she explains.

She then calls out artists like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Iggy Azalea who are all examples of white mainstream artists who have music videos that are proof of her points. She even takes it to the fashion world, using Alexander McQueen and other high fashion designer’s runway styles as another example of the misappropriation of black culture.

Watch the compelling video below.

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)