TOMORROW’S LEADER – YARA SHAHIDI

At only 20 years old, she’s an actress, an activist and an academic of Harvard. Yara Shahidi is paving the way for Gen Z and the “woke”.
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28 March 2022

“We don’t integrate, we recreate.” These are the words found in the young activist’s Instagram bio, which is currently dedicated to the Black Lives Matter Movement. While recent events have influenced her activism for the BLM Movement, she has provided a voice for the voiceless for quite some time.

Shahidi gained recognition when she was cast as the role of Zoey Johnson in the sitcom Black-ish and the spin off series Grown-ish. The show brings a side of love and comedy to racial issues, and sheds light on the challenges and joys of growing up. Shahidi has always considered herself a creative, and believes in bringing the power of the narrative to complex world issues.

Shahidi gained recognition when she was cast as the role of Zoey Johnson in the sitcom Black-ish and the spin off series Grown-ish. The show brings a side of love and comedy to racial issues, and sheds light on the challenges and joys of growing up. Shahidi has always considered herself a creative, and believes in bringing the power of the narrative to complex world issues.

She fortunately received a college recommendation from First Lady Michelle Obama herself, but the way she achieved this is even more remarkable. Back in October 2015, Michelle Obama launched the 25 million dollar Let Girls Learn Initiative, fighting for all girls to become educated. Shahidi took major interest in this, as she has attributed all of her successes to her education.

In 2016 in an interview with Glamour, Shahidi and Mrs. Obama spoke about what it means to be a woman, and how a woman’s life is harder than a man’s. Shahidi recalled a time where she was referred to as being “too aggressive” and what she learned from that experience.

«What I realized is it’s ok to take up space without the fear of being too loud or too aggressive,» she said. «That just means I’m owning my space even more.»

Shahidi is a model for girls around the world in persevering and owning their space. She continues to use her platform as a voice for the voiceless, and she is certainly a leader of tomorrow.

Written by Lucy Greaney

Photograph by Complex