Amandla Stenberg poses at a screening of The Acolyte
(Dia Dipasupil/Getty)

Amandla Stenberg Claps Back at Racist ‘The Acolyte’ Trolls With a New Song

Amandla Stenberg is responding to Star Wars: The Acolyte trolls with a new song calling out their bigotry and determination to spread misinformation about her.

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Stenberg plays the protagonist in the latest Star Wars Disney+ series, The Acolyte. She portrays identical twins Osha and Mae, who are torn apart as children after Mae starts a fire that kills their family. As adults, Osha learns Mae survived the fire and is now on a mission to kill four Jedi masters. Her return suggests that perhaps there is more to the story of what happened the night their family perished. While the show has received stellar reviews from critics for its interesting dive into Star Wars lore and strong female lead characters, it has been targeted by the right-wing mob for inclusive casting.

Although these attacks are common on any TV show that acknowledges women, the LGBTQ+ community, or marginalized racial groups, they seem unusually persistent in this case. The review-bombing is still going strong, and episode 4 led to a torrent of death threats and hysteria over the tiniest canon change. Trolls have been so desperate to find excuses to attack The Acolyte that they even combed through years of Stenberg’s past interviews until they found a 5-year-old comment they could twist and use against her. Now, Stenberg has issued a response to their ridiculous antics.

Amandla Stenberg responds to flood of “intolerable racism”

Recently, Stenberg commemorated Juneteenth by releasing a new song in response to the horrific racist backlash she has received from The Acolyte trolls. She posted the song and music video to Instagram, explaining in the caption that she wrote the song for “those who are flooding me with intolerable racism.”

In the song, Stenberg tackles the ridiculous “discourse” around The Acolyte. She starts by recounting how she went viral over a 2018 interview. The interview was for her promotion of The Hate U Give, and she described how she wanted the movie to stir tears and empathy from white people. Of course, the trolls claimed that it was a new interview and that she maliciously wanted to “make white people cry” through The Acolyte. The first verse of her song addresses the incident, as she sings, “I’m going viral on Twitter again / open up the news to find some interesting things / 20 million views / interview from 2018 / with Trevor the king when I was a teen.”

She goes on to slam how the right twisted her interview to morph it into “the same propaganda they spew” and to conflate her pain with violence by weaponizing “everything” that she does and says. Stenberg finishes the verse by saying, “If you rely upon misinformation / that tells me you’re afraid of the truth.” In the next verse, she criticizes how conservatives stole the term “woke” from the Black progressives who coined it in the 1900s, and now use it to describe everything they feel threatened by. She sings, “And now you listening imma tell you something fascinating / they spinning WOKE bastardize it and appropriate it / last I recall WOKE was something we created / speak truth to power / keep an eye out for you silly racists / and now they use it to describe anything they threatened by.”

Not only does she criticize those who use “woke” as “fodder” for their “clickbait,” but also journalists who partake in the “anti-woke” propaganda for “metrics” and “money and views,” making it difficult for people to trust “anything that they view.” Stenberg concludes her song by describing how her sister encouraged her not to let the trolls get to her. However, she gets honest about how difficult it is. The final verse goes, “My sis said don’t let it get down my spirit / but I’m sick and f***in tired of suppressing my rage / 400 years of taking their bullshit / to compartmentalize like my ancestors had to encage / if you don’t confront the pain that you live with / it’ll manifest as addiction disease and hate / I’ve seen the infection repressing can give ya / I’m not goin to be the next one sent to an early grave.”

It’s a powerful song that points out numerous truths about the right’s vicious propaganda, the media’s spread of misinformation, and the difficulty in constantly having to compartmentalize one’s pain. Additionally, it’s quite inspiring to hear her speak out. Often, actors and actresses are told to just ignore the trolls and stay away from social media when the bad-faith backlash starts. However, we don’t talk often enough about the unfairness of women just being expected to keep their heads down and repress their rage and pain as they’re inundated with disgusting racism and misogyny daily. We often forget that these people are still human and that expecting them to just tune out the hate is expecting the impossible from them.

That’s why it’s wonderful to hear Stenberg stand up to the trolls and find her voice through music, reminding women that they don’t have to be silent or repress their pain. Hopefully, the ability to respond to the bigots and call out their ridiculous tactics was healing and empowering for her.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.