Why Hunger Games' Amandla Stenberg's WOC comic book character is a big deal
Amandla Stenberg just became even more of a badass than she previously was.
The 16-year-old Hunger Games star is redefining women's (and particularly women of color's) roles in yet another world: the comic industry.
Stenberg has often been a very loud voice in the fight for under and misrepresented women of color in social and cultural arenas, and now she is breaking down that barrier a little more in the comic book world, too. She has helped create a new and pretty kickass comic titled NIOBE: She is Life, "which chronicles the life and experiences of a young black warrior woman named Niobe Ayutami."
Stenberg explains that Niobe is half-elf and half-human warrior.
"I was drawn to give voice to Niobe and co-write her story because her journey is my journey. I connect to her mixed racial background and quest to discover her innate powers and strengths to learn who she truly is," Stenberg said
She explained more about Niobe’s journey of self-discovery in a statement to the Huffington Post, "She is on a path to a destiny that will test her faith and her will, something we can all relate to. But there's never been a character quite like her — one who shatters the traditional ideal of what a hero is."
Then she echoed all of our internal monologues by saying, "We need more badass girls!"
Yes. Yes we do.
So Stenberg teamed up with Stranger Comics to create Niobe. In addition to Stenberg, illustrator Ashley A. Woods, a black woman, and Sebastian A. Jones, CEO of Stranger and a person with a mixed background, are creating something they think is not only the future of the industry, but their "hope" for the greater society.
"We are everywhere. But there are few companies willing to let us tell our tales," Jones said. And Woods followed that up with, "Niobe Ayutami is our hope. Both in the real world and the world of dreams. She is courageous, beautiful, flawed, brave, and has the tenacity to follow through with her convictions."
It is important for our society that we continue to enter these new and groundbreaking dialogues so that we can make our mark on history as unique and individual as our generation is.
And comic book series such as this are exactly how we continue to further the conversation of women, in general, and women of color, in particular. This will definitely be a series I pick up — and you should, too.