@litladiesnetwork’s third event → fictional woc in literature ↳ rue, the hunger games
but i feel as if i did know rue, and she’ll always be with me. everything beautiful brings her to mind. i see her in the yellow flowers that grow in the meadow by my house. i see her in the mockingjays that sing in the trees.
“I don’t think gender even exists.” It’s a sunny day in Los Angeles, and the eighteen-year-old actor Amandla Stenberg is sitting under a flowering tree in the backyard of her rented bungalow in West L.A., very much living up to her reputation as the wokest teenager alive. “My sexuality’s very fluid and my gender is very fluid,” says Stenberg, who is petite and cherubic at five feet three, dressed in black denim overalls and a purple-and-white thrift-store shirt, her hair cropped short for her latest movie. “I don’t think of myself as statically a girl.”
Stenberg was already known for playing Rue in 2012’s The Hunger Games when, two years ago, a video she made for a high school class went viral online. Titled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,” it’s a romping Internet mash-up in which Stenberg delivers a thesis worthy of an American-studies dissertation in four and a half minutes flat: The adoption of the hairstyle by non-black pop stars such as Christina Aguilera and Katy Perry is part of a larger appropriation of black culture that divorces its aesthetics from the struggle that produced them. Narrating on-camera with the confidence of a trial lawyer, Stenberg closes her case with a pointed question: “What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?”
Can we talk about how in District 11 after Rue’s death, the entire district rioted. They burned and broke things. Everybody watching the movie loved it because they saw the unjust government for what it was. A little black girl died. Yet when a black boy dies in real life and people start riots over their unjust government, they’re ridiculed and labelled “dangerous”.
I did know Rue. She wasn’t just my ally, she was my friend. I see her in the flowers that grow in the meadow by my house. I hear her in the Mockingjay song. I see her in my sister Prim.
She was too young, too gentle,
and I couldn’t s a v e her.