Amandla Stenberg

Why Do People Hate Amandla Stenberg?

Amandla Stenberg is an American actress and activist who first gained recognition for her role as Rue in The Hunger Games. Despite her early success, Stenberg has faced some backlash and dislike from certain groups over the years. There are a few potential reasons why the actress has her critics.

Outspoken Nature on Social Issues

One of the biggest reasons why Amandla Stenberg has drawn criticism is her willingness to speak out on controversial social and political issues.

Frequent Commentary on Racism and Social Justice

Stenberg has been very vocal about racism, white privilege, cultural appropriation and other social justice causes. For example:

  • She called out Kylie Jenner for cultural appropriation over her cornrow hairstyle post on Instagram.
  • She has discussed dealing with racism as a biracial actress in Hollywood.
  • She openly identifies as an intersectional feminist and encourages young fans to educate themselves on social issues.

While many find Stenberg’s blunt honesty and activism admirable, some have accused her of being too “preachy”, opinionated or extreme in her views. Her outspokenness on racial issues, in particular, has drawn backlash from more conservative or mainstream audiences.

Perceptions of Being Too “Woke”

Some people feel Stenberg embodies the overly “woke”, politically correct culture prominent among Gen Z activists. Her focus on social justice and identity politics turns off fans who just see her as an actress, not an activist.

Evolving Public Persona and Identity

Another source of criticism towards Amandla Stenberg stems from changes in her public persona and how she identifies herself.

Coming Out as Bisexual/Non-Binary

In 2016, Stenberg came out as bisexual and non-binary (using they/them pronouns). This was empowering for LGBTQ fans. However, some found her new gender identity confusing or attention-seeking.

Shifting Political Views

Early on, Stenberg labeled herself as liberal. In recent years, she said leftist is a better descriptor of her anti-capitalist, progressive beliefs. This evolution has been polarizing, as some fans accuse her of going too far left.

Focus on Activism Over Acting

As Amandla spends more time championing causes versus acting, some feel she cares more about politics than her career. They preferred her as an actress, not an outspoken activist.

Controversies and Backlash Moments

Stenberg has faced her share of specific controversies and online backlash for her comments or actions.

Kylie Jenner Social Media Feud

Criticizing Kylie Jenner’s cornrows led to a major social media feud between Stenberg and Jenner fans. Many accused her of unprovoked callout culture.

Bashing Mainstream News Outlets

In 2018, she bashed news outlets like CNN and MSNBC as establishment propaganda. This led to renewed criticism that she was radical, anti-media and spreading conspiracy theories.

Perceived Anti-White Male Rhetoric

Some interpret Stenberg’s frequent discussion of white male privilege as being anti-men. This draws backlash from male fans who find her rhetoric divisive.

Social Media Deactivation Backlash

Deactivating her Twitter and Instagram due to mental health reasons caused waves of criticism. Some fans saw it as a publicity stunt or attempt to avoid public criticism of her views.

Acting Career and Film Choices

While Amandla Stenberg’s outspoken social activism largely drives the backlash against her, some frustration also comes from her acting career and roles she takes on.

Lack of Breakout Leading Role Since Hunger Games

Stenberg has yet to match her breakout success as Rue in The Hunger Games. She hasn’t landed another huge starring vehicle despite her early promise.

Turning Down Major Roles

She turned down a role in Black Panther and as Shuri in favor of smaller films focused on social issues. This disappointed fans eager to see her star power in blockbusters.

Indie Film Focus

Many of Stenberg’s films have been lower-profile indies like As You Are, Amandla, Where Hands Touch and The Hate U Give. Some fans want to see her in bigger mainstream fare.

Music Career Fizzled Out

Stenberg’s attempt at a music career with the 2015 EP This Is What It Feels Like failed to gain traction. This disappointed fans who expected more from someone with her talents.

Young Age and Evolving Opinions

It’s also worth noting that Amandla Stenberg is still very young at 24 years old. Many of the opinions and stances that have sparked backlash came when she was still a teenager finding her voice.

As she matures, it’s likely her opinions and approach to activism will evolve. What some now see as youthful outspokenness may moderate with age and wisdom. She should be given room to grow as a person and a public figure.


In summary, Amandla Stenberg elicits strong reactions from both fans and critics for a few key reasons:

  • Her vocal stances on controversial social justice issues rub some the wrong way
  • Changes to her public identity, politics and activism alienated former fans
  • She sometimes goes too far in criticizing mainstream culture
  • She hasn’t matched early acting success, disappointing fans
  • Her youthful outspokenness may mellow with maturity

Yet despite dislike from some circles, Stenberg remains an inspiration for many. Her courage to speak up for her beliefs and stand out as a progressive voice still earns her plenty of supporters.

As her career continues, Amandla Stenberg will likely remain a polarizing figure. But her willingness to take risks and speak boldly ensures she will leave an impact on popular culture and activism.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do some people think Amandla is too “woke”?

Some people believe Amandla embodies performative wokeness – being vocally progressive to gain social credit versus sincerely caring about issues. Her constant focus on social justice is seen as over the top or lecturing by critics.

What led to her feud with Kylie Jenner?

In 2015, Amandla called out Kylie for posting pics of herself with cornrow braids, accusing her of cultural appropriation. This led to a major feud between Jenner fans and Stenberg supporters on social media.

What happened when Amandla deactivated her social media?

In 2018, Stenberg deleted her Twitter and Instagram accounts temporarily, citing mental health reasons. Some fans praised the move for prioritizing self-care, while others saw it as running away from criticism and backlash.

Why did Amandla turn down a role in Black Panther?

She turned down a part in the Marvel blockbuster to star in smaller projects focused on racism and LGBTQ issues like The Hate U Give. While admirable to some, others saw it as a missed opportunity for mainstream stardom.

How has Amandla identified her gender and sexuality?

Stenberg came out as bisexual in 2016, then later as non-binary, using they/them pronouns. While embraced by LGBTQ fans, some found her evolving gender identity confusing or accused her of chasing trends.

Is Amandla anti-capitalist?

She now identifies as a leftist and has criticized capitalism’s exploitation. Some fans appreciate her bold views, while critics say she sounds like a radical activist versus a mainstream actress.

Why hasn’t Amandla’s music career taken off?

Despite initial hype, Stenberg’s 2015 pop/R&B EP failed to gain success. She has yet to follow up with more music, disappointing fans who expected her to thrive as a recording artist.

What mainstream roles do fans wish Amandla had taken?

Many wanted her to star as Shuri in Black Panther after her breakout in The Hunger Games. Some also hoped she would land major roles in blockbuster young adult franchises like Divergent or The Hunger Games sequels.

Does Amandla regret any past controversial stances?

She has yet to directly apologize for past stances that sparked backlash. But Amandla has said she is still evolving in her views, indicating she may view some past opinions as youthful mistakes.

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