Actress | Miscellaneous Crew | Soundtrack
Named for the Zulu and Xhosa word for “power,” Amandla was born in Los Angeles, California, to Karen Brailsford, a writer, and Tom Stenberg. Her mother is African-American and her father is Danish (and of part Inuit-Greenlandic ancestry). In the summer and fall of 2010, the actress shot her first feature, Colombiana (2011), an action-thriller starring Zoe Saldana whose character, the avenging assassin Cataleya Restrepo, Amandla plays as a child. In April 2011, Lionsgate announced that Amandla had landed the role of Rue in the screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ popular young adult series, The Hunger Games (2012). For her heart-breaking performance, Amandla earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture. She also won (with Jennifer Lawrence) a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Chemistry.
Amandla has starred in the recurring role of Macey, the daughter of Captain Frank Irving (Orlando Jones), on season one of Fox’s Sleepy Hollow(2013). In the summer of 2015, Amandla played series regular Halle Foster on Mr. Robinson (2015) opposite Craig Robinson. She made her Sundance Film Festival debut with the teen angst drama As You Are (2016) which won a Special Jury prize. Amandla appears in several sequences in the visual album Beyoncé: Lemonade (2016). In March 2016 Fox 2000 won a heated bidding war for Angela Thomas’ debut novel, The Hate U Give with Amandla attached to star. The actress has also nabbed lead roles in the YA adaptation Everything, Everything (2017); the Amma Asante World War II romance, Where Hands Touch (2017); and in the film adaptation of The Darkest Minds (2018) series by Alexandra Bracken.
In addition to on-camera jobs, Amandla has put her sensitive ear to work in voice-over gigs for both film and television. She lent her voice to Rio 2 (2014) in the role of Bia, a high-flying feathery spawn of Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway). A gifted musician, she plays the violin, drums and guitar. In 2013 Amandla began performing on the violin and singing harmonies at LA venues with singer/songwriter Zander Hawley. The folk-rock duo, known as Honeywater, released their first EP in August 2015 and a second in November 2016.
When she’s not making music, Amandla is making noise on social media. She was declared “one of the most incendiary voices of her generation” by Dazed magazine, which featured Amandla on the cover of its Autumn 2015 issue. Teen Vogue featured Amandla on its February 2016 cover. In tandem with the issue’s release, Amandla co-directed a trio of videos about black women. She helped catapult the topic of cultural appropriation into public discourse when she posted her school project video, “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,” onto her Tumblr in 2014. Oprah Winfrey took note of her activism and invited Amandla to give a talk (“My Authenticity Is My Activism”) for SuperSoul Sessions Series 2 at UCLA’s Royce Hall in April 2016. Highlights were featured on Super Soul Sunday (2011). “Black Girls Rock!” (2016)_ Inc honored Amandla with the Young, Gifted and Black award and she is also the winner of the “BET Awards 2016” (2016)_ YoungStars award. The Ms. Foundation for Women named Amandla, along with Rowan Blanchard “Feminist Celebrity of the Year” in 2016. The actress-activist landed a spot on Time magazine’s list of the 30 Most Influential Teens in 2015 and 2016. With Stranger Comics’ Sebastian Jones, Amandla co-writes the comic book “Niobe: She is Life.” A youth ambassador for No Kid Hungry, Amandla also supports the Ubuntu Education Fund, which nurtures children “from cradle to career” in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Mother is African-American and father is Danish.
Once took a ride on the Goodyear Blimp.
Paternal grandmother was an Inuit from Greenland.
Amandla means power in Zulu.
At the dedication ceremony of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. on October 16, 2011, Amandla gave a speech entitled “Reflections on Women of the Civil Rights Movement” with Cicely Tyson. Her talk honored the four girls who were killed in the Birmingham church bombing in 1963.
Named #1 Breakout Kid Actor of 2012 by “Entertainment Weekly”.
- I’ve read the ‘Mortal Instruments’ series; I was obsessed with those.
- ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ by Betty Smith is one of my favorites. Even though it doesn’t have any monsters or crazy fantasy in it, it’s such a raw story, and I can really relate to the characters. I think it’s a beautiful story.
- Within months after reading the novel ‘The Hunger Games,’ I went from telling my mom that I could see myself as this character to actually getting the role. My mother reminds me that if I could manifest such an important role just because I wanted it so much, all of my dreams are possible.
- I think ‘The Hunger Games’ has a really powerful message about survival, and sacrificing for the ones you love. It’s almost like a warning for us to not lose touch of our humanity. We live in a world in which we watch other’s misfortunes for entertainment.
- I love all kinds of art. I mean, I love sketching and acting and music.
- My mom reminds me that all things are possible.
- As a fan of the books, I feel fortunate to be part of ‘The Hunger Games’ family. It was an amazing experience; I am proud of the film and my performance. I want to thank all of my fans and the entire ‘Hunger Games’ community for their support and loyalty.
- I come from a very musical family. My dad taught me to play guitar. I play violin and drums as well. Violin, I started in elementary school. Drums actually came when I was in a program called ‘Rock Star,’ which was really awesome. We were doing a song by the Ramones, so I thought, ‘Why not play the drums?’
October 23, 1998
Los Angeles, California, USA
5′ 3″ (1.6 m)