BY KOURTNEY WEBB
Seventeen-year-old actress, Amandla Stenberg known for her role as Rue in “The Hunger Games” has launched a new comic book franchise titled “Niobe: She is Life.”
The comic follows the adventures of a black female warrior, Niobe Ayutami, a half human half elf teenager. The official synopsis released by Stranger Comics, describes the comic book as a coming of age tale that takes Niobe to her limits and beyond. Niobe Ayutami is an orphaned wild elf teenager and would-be savior of the vast and volatile fantasy world of Asunda. She is running from a past where the Devil himself would see her damned… toward an epic future that patiently waits for her to bind nations against the hordes of hell.
The comic was published by Los Angeles based Stranger Comics. The company is all too familiar with black warriors, as they produce and distribute narratives about experiences of people of color.
“I actively pursue a diverse range of creators. I may be mixed, but I am not a young, black, teenaged woman, so it would have been idiotic and morally insensitive of me to not team up with someone who could really engage with Niobe’s soul and state of being,” said Stranger Comics CEO, Sebastian A. Jones in an interview with the Huffington Post.
Stenberg is a big advocate for diversity and the Black community. She was named Time’s “30 Most Influential Teens of 2015.” Among the top listers were Malia Obama, 17, who as President Obama’s daughter, has become a cultural icon, and Zendaya Coleman who created her own shoe line at only 19.
Stenberg’s focus lately has been to bring the challenges and the negative views black women face to the forefront. In a post to Twitter, Stenberg outlined her views on how black women go unnoticed in the fight for black lives.
“Black features are beautiful. Black women are not. White women are paragons of virtue and desire. Black women are objects of fetishism and brutality,” Stenberg wrote in her tweet. “While white women are praised for altering their bodies, plumping their lips, and tanning their skin, black women are shamed although the same features exist on them naturally. As culture shifts and racial tensions are tested through the vehicle of the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s important to question: Do female black lives matter too?”
Stenberg’s comic book character Niobe is a relatable figure to many young women who are on their own journeys to self discovery.
“It is important for black women to know that their not only seen as one thing but an entire spectrum, because we are all different. It’s about the goofy ones, the shy ones, the strong ones, every woman has a right to be represented in the media,” said Sophia Davis, 20, a York College economics major.
“Niobe: She is Life” is available for sale online through your local comic book supplier.
“I think what has made me an influential teen has just been being myself and using my voice and my platform to communicate my ideas … and not being afraid to be myself despite the challenges and limitations that black girls face,” said Stenberg in an interview with People magazine.