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The 16-year-old actress, who played Rue in the first installment of the popular film franchise, recorded a video for her high school history class in which she criticizes white celebrities and singers for borrowing from black culture to make money. The video, entitled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,” was posted to her Tumblr page several months ago but has recently gone viral.
“[In the 2010s], pop stars and icons adopted black culture as a way of being edgy and gaining attention,” Stenberg says. “In 2013, Miley Cyrus twerks and uses black women as props, and then in 2014, in one of her videos called ‘This Is How We Do,’ Katy Perry uses Ebonics and hand gestures and eats watermelons while wearing cornrows before cutting inexplicably to a picture of Aretha Franklin. So as you can see, cultural appropriation was rampant.”
Stenberg, who has also appeared in 2011’s Colombiana and on the Fox drama Sleepy Hollow, addresses that Azealia Banks criticized Iggy Azalea for not speaking out after a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold.
“I’ve been seeing this question a lot on social media, and I think it’s really relevant: ‘What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?’ ” Stenberg says at the end of the video.
The full video can be seen here.
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