In the revolving tumultuous times we live in, it’s easier for some to mimic the ostrich and bury their head in the sand. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have others who wake up to face today’s challenges, courageously jumping over strategically placed hurdles. It’s not easy, but someone’s gotta do it, and these young celebrity bravehearts don’t appear to be turning a blind eye to what matters most to them. Instead, they’re choosing to be young, fearless and woke as f**k!
Young, Black (American), German and Scottish, with a Zimbabwean name, Zendaya is undoubtedly a fan favorite worldwide. She has been able to help bridge societal gaps with her acting and singing (thanks to the all-mighty Disney machine) and bring awareness to issues close to her heart, like the fight against HIV and AIDS and bullying.
She shared with People last year, “I feel like it’s really important for young people dealing with bullying to see a symbol of confidence. Whether that be from me on social media or from someone in their family, I feel like that is really important to have someone who they can look to and know that confidence is possible. That’s why I do it.”
On her website, Zendaya makes space for her woke counterparts in the section “Woke Year-Round,” highlighting pathfinders and those who stand for helping those in need.
2. Yara Shahidi
Young, Black (American) and Iranian, Yara Shahidi hasn’t stopped shining since she first appeared on her award-winning show Black-ish back in 2014. With its steadily rising popularity, she has somehow remained humble and sees the importance of being socially conscious.
“I express my activism through my art. I see myself as a child of the world. Giving back isn’t something you do when you’re old, it’s something you do when you’re young as well, and that means right now.”
Involvement in events like The Women’s March and partnering with YWLN (Young Women’s Leadership Network) to develop her own mentoring program, Yara’s Club, hints that this young beauty doesn’t plan to use her platform lightly. Shahidi was recently honored by Essence at their “Black Women in Hollywood” event and was presented with the Generation Next Award by her mentor and costar, Tracee Ellis Ross.
— ESSENCE (@Essence) March 6, 2017
3. Amandla Stenberg
Young, Black (Amercian) and Danish, with a Zulu name, Amandla Stenberg is as beautiful on the inside as she is out. She is a youth ambassador for No Kid Hungry and was last year’s recipient of the Young, Black & Gifted Award at the 2016 Black Girls Rock event. Living up to the title, this young lady is hitting theaters this summer in the romantic film Everything, Everything and we can’t forget she co-authored the comic book “Niobe: She is Life.”
She told CBR.com, “What I want to say with this [comic] project is that Black girls should never be afraid of being too loud and too big. I think this is the first comic book that stars a Black girl, is written by a Black girl, and illustrated by a Black girl. So, it’s really exciting because I know when I was younger, and I was reading “Game of Thrones,” and “Lord of the Rings,” and “Harry Potter” and all of my favorite fantasy books, I really craved a lead that was a Black girl, and it was really difficult to find. I hope that by making this, we’re providing that for little girls just like me when I was younger.”
4. Willow Smith
Young, Black (American) and original, Willow Smith literally came out the woodworks whipping her hair and capturing audiences worldwide with her one-of-a-kind message and supremely unique look. She recently shared her vocals with Sean Ono Lennon on “Bird Song,” penned by the late Carrie Fisher. Her interest in the arts and sciences have no limits and her career and lifestyle are proof.
ANYTHING that I EVER do is geared towards the evolution and vibrational elevation of this planet through the inspiration of individuals.
— Willy (@OfficialWillow) March 9, 2016
Willow is well on her way to becoming a fashion icon and rarely lets you forget she’s much more than the clothes and Hollywood appearances. Sitting down with Teen Vogue editor, Elaine Welteroth (another Young, Fearless and Woke AF individual), Smith said “a lot of clothes are cute, but after you buy the Yeezy shoes, after you get your hair done with a weave, you’re still the same person. I feel like more and more kids are starting to realize this.” Willow points to a belief that the best way to stand for something is by simply being yourself.
With names meaning “to give thanks,” “force,” “power,” and “graceful,” these women appear to have a destiny to fulfill. We celebrate Zendaya, Yara, Amandla and Willow for speaking out and having a positive influence on their generation. They remain true to themselves and do it with lots of style and nerve.
Written By: Melody Lanei
Twitter: MLanei IG: MissMLanei