Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi is just one of the four honorees at this year’s Black Women in Hollywood event, where the next generation of Black women will be honored by ESSENCE for their work in the industry and the bright futures they have ahead.
Shahidi is one Hollywood’s most inspiring teens, always full of wisdom and active when it comes to using her platform for good. She proves that teens should not be underestimated. Here are a few quotes from the influential teen that will inspire you.
1. On Black Girl Magic:
“Black girl magic for me, one, is just a way of expressing how fabulous women of color are.”
2. On Representation in Media and Diverse Roles:
“There could be 10 people who look like me on a show, but they all got killed in the first scene. Or they’re all in jail. Or they’re all the best friend. I want to see somebody who looks like me as the doctor and the criminal and the successful businessperson and the woman barely making a living. I want to see the spectrum.”
3. On Using Her Platform To Speak Out:
“Black-ish has given me a platform that I’ve never had before, and I’m trying to speak out as much as I can about the injustices that I am seeing and reading about. I’m only 17, but I feel being socially active is very important. Every voice must be heard.”
4. On Taking Action Post-Election:
“I am hoping to organize a gathering to address the hate in schools and in spaces that used to be safe. To see post-election the correlation between people feeling justified in their hate and anger and taking that out on people… it was really unfortunate because it is usually a reflection of what they see at home or in their own communities. I want people to grow up in a safe space.”
5. On Diversity Being About More Than Race:
“Diversity is more than just race. Race is a large component of it, but its also making sure different sexual identities, different gender identities and different religions are represented.”
6. On Identity and Stereotypes:
“My race is a huge part in forming who I am, and it gave me this rich heritage that I am grateful for, but there needs to be an understanding that you cannot then put me in certain boxes, or tell me what I can and cannot do — or what my peers can and cannot do — based on these pieces of identity.”
7. On Trump’s Immigration Policies:
“I want my family from Iran to be able to visit and not have to be on some registry [where the government] checks to see if they have extremist lineage. I’d like to make sure that my grandfather, who was very active in the civil rights movement, isn’t harassed or that my brothers aren’t harassed or that women of people or other minority groups aren’t constantly being taken advantage…It’s slightly absurd, our policy toward immigrants, given that this country was founded by immigration. And, if you want to keep it all the way real, the founding fathers didn’t own this land.”