Rue, the 12-year-old female tribute from District 11 in the iconic "Hunger Games" that brought Katniss to the limelight, is now all grown-up and set to herald a new wave of racial discussions. Amanda Stenberg, the young girl who managed to shine bright even within the shadow of Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games", has definitely come into her own and like her character she is not to be underestimated.
Stenberg, who will soon be seen in upcoming sitcom "Mr Robinson", has called out many popular pop and rap singers on how they have been adopting "black culture" into their music and style, yet failed to stand for the Black community when in need.
Stenberg begins her educated and well-researched discourse by pointing at R&B singers like Beyonce, R Kelly, and Alicia Keys, who took up the stylish cornrows. The hairstyle is usually adopted by black women, who have heavy, curly, and thick hair. Cornrows, however, is now being promoted by fashion houses as an "urban hairstyle".
Another way for the black culture to become popular was through hip-hop, as proved by Eminem and Riff Raff. She also mentioned how white, suburban singers started using hip-hop, which stems from black struggle, as a way to seem edgy and cool.
The line between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange is always going to be blurred. But here's the thing: Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalisations or stereotypes where it originated, but is deemed as high fashion, cool or funny when the privileged take it for themselves. Appropriation occurs when the appropriator is not aware of the deep significance of the culture that they are partaking in.
Amethyst Amelia Kelly, a white Australian girl who took up the rap name of Iggy Azalea and cashed in on the black culture, refuses to speak up for black people in their times of need. Stenberg named a number of celebrities who did not speak up after the Ferguson shootings, although they cash in on black culture. She also highlights the hypocrisy of big-shots like Madonna, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, among others.
Stenberg is not a stranger to racial discrimination. When she was chosen to play the role of Rue in "The Hunger Games", many fans of the books expressed their racist thinking online. She maintained her cool even though people continued to make such attacks on her. Stenberg responded only by thanking fans who supported her during the rough patch.
Watch Stenberg's crash discourse on black culture, "Don't Cash Crop On My Cornrows":