Hunger Games star and cultural activist Amandla Stenberg is set to begin her career as a published comic writer this November. In April, the 16 year old broke the internet with her video Don’t Cashcrop my Cornrows, a five minute crash course on black culture and cultural appropriation which received over one million views. Stenberg has gained admiration for her bravery in confronting injustices in pop culture and for using her voice to advocate for the marginalized, and is now embarking on a totally riveting project titled Niobe: She Is Life, a comic whose lead is a mixed-race elven orphan on a journey to save the world, and self-actualize in the process.
The comic will be produced and published by Stranger Comics, whose CEO Sebastian Jones supports the work of under represented groups and audiences. Jone himself is mixed- race, and explained his motivations for working with Stenberg in an interview where he told The Huffington Post, “We are everywhere. But there are few companies willing to let us tell our tales.” The comic draws heavily upon Stenberg’s personal experiences and influences, and will be illustrated by Chicago-based artist Ashley A Woods. “We need more badass girls!” Stenberg told The Huffington Post. "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.
Here’s the solicit for the first issue:
Niobe Ayutami is an orphaned wild elf teenager and would-be savior of the vast and volatile fantasy world of Asunda. She is running from a past where the Devil himself would see her damned… toward an epic future that patiently waits for her to bind nations against the hordes of Hell!
It’s extremely exciting that Niobe is a powerful black protagonist, written by a powerful black woman. Rarely if ever do we see representations of marginalized groups in the media. It’s even more rare that we are exposed to creators and producers who themselves are members of marginalized groups. We need more voices in pop culture that deviate from our traditional tropes of heroism. There need to be more characters for young black teenaged girls to look up to. Who is more qualified to write these characters than young black teenagers? Maybe Amandla Stenberg herself is the badass girl that we are looking for.
Images taken from amandlastenberg.com and strangercomics.com
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