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Yara Shahidi Is The Leader We Didn't Know We Needed

Culture & Entertainment

Yara Shahidi stole our hearts as Eddie Murphy's adorable daughter on Imagine That.

And now, she's kicking ass and taking names as the main character on the Black-ish spinoff, Grownish, and gradually coming to be one of the industry's most influential teenagers.


The activist advocates for social issues on and off screen, was recently accepted to Harvard, and is a fashion icon at the same damn time. You know you're lit when Michelle Obama writes your letter of recommendation and Oprah tells you that your future's so bright, it burns her eyes.

The actress has actively been a crusader for women's rights, gender identity, and racial equality, making the statement that unless everyone has a voice, none of us do. She even celebrated her 18th birthday by launching an initiative to increase voter turnout when she hosted a voter registration party. Now if that isn't commitment to civic duty, I don't know what is.

The 18-year-old recently shared her passion for political engagement in Oprah's SuperSoul conversations:

"Our generation realizes that age has never been a limit in terms of social activity and being able to look back at the civil rights movement... and see that it does not matter how old you are to get engaged. If anything, it is so important to make it our mission, especially if you have the privilege to do so, to be socially aware and to help our global community."

In last week's episode of Grownish, Shahidi tackled political protests but this wasn't the first time that the actress has gone toe-to-toe with "the man." Shahidi feels that her platform gives her even more incentive to be politically engaged. Shahidi told PorterEdit:

"If we are going to be on this red carpet, what are we going to talk about? We are not going to just ignore the fact that there are riots happening and there is a KKK rally. And so, just being with a team that supports that [is special]. There is so much fear of actors being political, like that's not our place, even though I feel that media has always been so inherently political."

The ambition that powers the philanthropic powerhouse is rooted in her reverence for the women that paved her way. At Glamour's International Day of the Girl event Shahidi said:

"While our political and social climate is ever changing rocky and scary at times, we can look back and better understand our societal structures and how revolutionaries of the past have changed these structures, and we have to look at this because then we can figure out how we change these structures because we are a result of their work. And the next generation and the generation after that will be a result of the work that we do."

Shahidi's revolutionary spirit is proof that as women with purpose, we all hold the power to spark much-needed societal change, but the change will only be successful if we do it together.

Featured image via Yara Shahidi/Instagram

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