*Activist Johnetta “Netta” Elzie and actresses Teyonah Parris and Yara Shadidi are separately featured on Essence magazine’s “Black Girl Magic” issue. A first of its kind which celebrates black female trailblazers who are paving the way for the next generation.
“Being a part of this reemergence of a movement both pro-diversity and pro-woman is the best part of being a black girl,” 16-year-old Shahidi told the magazine.
26-year-old Elzie has met with presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and she helped develop Campaign Zero – a ten-point solution to end police violence.
Elzie also counts “Selma” filmmaker Ava DuVernay among her 82,000 Twitter followers. Ava sent her a private message asking if she needed anything after being arrested during a sit-in at the federal courthouse in St. Louis.
Johnetta revealed to Essence what life has been like since being thrust in the spotlight:
“Lots of crying. Lots of journaling. It is definitely a struggle, every aspect of my life. I’m just really trying to get over this feeling of extreme loneliness that comes with it. It’s really scary and it’s just me. I definitely have an amazing group of friends, like my friends from before the movement, and my friends I’ve made through being a protester and being in the movement [but it’s still] lonely because the people I want to be close to me aren’t anymore,” she explained.
She also tells the magazine that she’s not toning down her colorful persona to make her online critics comfortable.
“We definitely had a huge a moment on Twitter over [my public persona and being respectable]. I’m not going to stop cursing for the movement or to make people comfortable,” Johnetta said. “It, actually, makes me feel a little better when I can throw in a little colorful language every once in a while. I’m a protester. We resist against the police, so I’m not trying to be cordial and polite with someone who’s pointing an M16 in my face. If a good F-bomb feels good there or, if I want to say sh– or damn or motherf—–, I’m going to do it. Protesting includes not being pretty and perfect.”
Other prolific women being honored by Essence include: Bree Newsome, Zendaya, Willow Smith, Aja Naomi King and Quvenzhane Wallis.
The Black Girl Magic issues will be available on newsstands Jan. 8th.