Amandla Stenberg was born October 23, 1998 and is an American actress and singer.
Stenberg was born in Los Angeles, California, the child of Karen Brailsford, an African-American spiritual counselor and writer, and Tom Stenberg, who is Danish. Her paternal grandmother had Greenlandic Inuit ancestry. Stenberg has two older half-sisters on her father’s side. Her first name means “power” or “strength” in the South African languages of IsiXhosa and Zulu.
At age four, Stenberg started doing catalog modeling shoots for Disney. She has appeared in commercials for clients such as Boeing.
In 2011, she appeared in her first feature film, Colombiana, as a younger version of Zoe Saldana’s character. Her breakthrough came at the age of 14, when she was cast as Rue in the 2012 film The Hunger Games.
In 2013, she was cast in the short film Mercy playing the daughter of Robin Thicke and Paula Patton; Thicke directed the film. Stenberg had a recurring role on season one of Sleepy Hollow from 2013 to 2014. In 2013, Stenberg began performing on the violin and singing harmonies at Los Angeles venues with singer-songwriter Zander Hawley. In 2014, Stenberg voiced Bia in the animated film Rio 2, which was a commercial success.
In 2015, Stenberg released her first EP in August 2015 as the folk-rock duo Honeywater. In 2015, she released the video “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows”. She played series regular Halle Foster on the short-lived series Mr. Robinson, which ran in 2015. Stenberg co-wrote the comic book Niobe: She is Life with Sebastian Jones, which was illustrated by Ashley A. Woods, and published in November 2015. It is the first nationally distributed comic that has a black woman as its protagonist, author, and another as the artist.
In 2016, Stenberg appeared in the music video for Lemonade by Beyoncé. In the same year, she signed with The Society, a modelling agency. Also in 2016, Stenberg had auditioned for the role of Shuri in the superhero film Black Panther, however, she walked away because she felt that she was not right for the role.
In 2017, Stenberg and Sebastian Jones released Niobe: She is Death, the second part of the trilogy. In the same year, she starred in the romantic drama Everything, Everything, directed by Stella Meghie, and co-starring Nick Robinson. Her single, “Let My Baby Stay”, was featured in the film’s soundtrack.
In 2018, she played the lead role of Starr Carter in the contemporary drama The Hate U Give, based on the novel of the same name, which is about the Black Lives Matter movement. In late 2018, Stenberg starred in Amma Asante’s World War II drama Where Hands Touch.
In May 2019, she joined the cast of the Netflix miniseries The Eddy, which was released on May 8, 2020. In August 2020, she was cast as Alana Beck in Stephen Chbosky’s film adaptation of the broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen. She will also collaborate with the show’s composers, Pasek and Paul, on a new song being written specifically for her character, whose role was expanded upon from the stage version.
Stenberg identifies as non-binary, and uses both ‘she/her/hers’ and ‘they/their/theirs’ pronouns. She has previously said that she was bisexual and pansexual. In June 2018, in an interview with Wonderland magazine, she came out as gay.