Intelligent. Funny. Fearless. Woke. Multifaceted. And in this reign of Trump-ism and time of continued institutional racism, simply Relevant.
Amanda Seales is the embodiment of each and every one of these words and is really for lack of a better term, a force to be reckoned with.
On June 12, she went viral via a video she posted on Instagram where she, with her signature “not-gonna-back-down-because I’m black” attitude, schooled Caitlyn Jenner on her white privilege and its impact on her perspective of life in America, an experience she says people of color have never been able to relate to. “The reason I am so passionate is because I’ve had such a different experience in this country than you,” Seales told Jenner during their conversation on Katy Perry’s “Dinner and Discourse” livestream. “Because as a black woman, the government is so much in my life, and it always has been…. I think there’s a lot to understand for why people are talking the way they talk about different things. I understand why you’re talking the way you’re talking.”
Jenner said she didn’t understand the direction in which the conversation was going because all she had said was that she loved this country.
“Yes. You can say that in a way that I cannot,” Seales replied. “Because you’ve had a different experience. Because this country is here for you. This country ain’t here for me in the same way, sis.”
About last night at Katy Perry live dinner. I don’t take being in these conversations lightly. As a black woman they will far too often consider your intellect a threat and your passion a problem. I hope I inspired others last night to live in your truth no matter who is at the table. Let’s grow not just a discourse of love but a DISCOURSE OF COURAGE. Because that’s what it takes to face and deliver these inconvenient truths. Made my momma proud last night. Thanks for the love y’all. ❤️✊???? [Feel free to RP the vid]
The virality of this particular video introduced Seales to some new fans and followers, but for others, it reminded them of the downright truth: Seales is far from new to this, she’s true to this. This meaning being woke, being real, being in the media, being no one other than herself.
Born on July 1, 1981 in Los Angeles California, Seales spent a lot of time in Orlando, Florida where her extracurricular activities included dancing, music, and acting lessons. Her acting debut was on Nickelodeon’s “My Brother and Me,” a few years before she went off to SUNY-Purchase to study theater. As a college student, she took an interest in poetry, writing her own spoken word work and appearing on Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam in 2002. She returned to her love for music in 2004, releasing her debut mixtape “It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop, Vol. 1.” Three years later, she partnered with her fellow fair skinned, naturalista Marsha Ambrosius, replacing Natalie Stewart on Floetry’s 2007 tour and released her EP “LIfe Experience.”
Despite her many years in the industry, perhaps her most known “introduction” was the time she spent as Amanda Diva, a personality who had gigs on MTV2’s “Sucker Free Sundays” and Sirius Radio’s “Hip-Hop Nation Show,” all while managing to publish a book of poetry and obtain a master’s degree in African-American studies from the prestigious Columbia University.
She took a brief hiatus from television, but upon her return in 2011, re-introduced herself to the world as Amanda Seales. Her grind had never ceased, her personality had never changed. Instead, the years succeeding her return revealed to us two contrasting sides of her personality: the serious side, very much into activism and spreading knowledge and the funny side, that ironically, uses the platform for similar purposes, among bringing laughter about other aspects of life as well.
Though not often televised, the serious and most often “woke” Seales often takes up speaking engagements and other opportunities, where she discusses diversity and calls people out for acts of racism and sexism. In 2014, for example, she appeared on CNN where she shut down a white man in support of street harassment and catcalling. Seales was also recently a host on this year’s BET Awards pre-show, and is CEO of DivaWorks, Inc, her own production company. Oh, and if you didn’t already notice, she has been calling out the tobacco industry in commercials from Thetruth.com’s #STOPPROFILING campaign.
On the contrary, Seale’s funny side has been displayed through comedic performances on screen, including, “Get Your LIFE,” a comedy series she wrote and created, hosted by Issa Rae Productions, and a few on stage performances as a stand-up comedian as well. Her character Tiffany, on HBO’s “Insecure,” another collaboration with Issa Rae, is a series regular on the second season which will premiere later this month.
Amanda Seales is a multi-talented individual who has put in the time and effort, along with blood, sweat, and tears into her many crafts. She is not only a wonderful student and observer of American society, particularly from the perspective of an African American, but a great and confident teacher as well.
We, the ladies of EGL, salute you!
Be sure to follow Amanda Seales on Instagram for a mix of comedy and straight up truth about life.
Written By: Sweenie Nicole