Yara Shahidi turned seventeen this year, and has accomplished much more before her eighteenth birthday than most. As a standout star on the award-winning ABC sitcom Black-ish, her performance appears prelude to real-life action, and some of her socially-conscious characterizations on the show — somewhat caricaturized within the guise of television absurdity — feel like fluff in light of her outward-facing, socially aware and progressive public self. And now, she has been nominated for a Teen Choice Award, in the category of Choice Comedy TV Actress (#ChoiceComedyTVActress).
Ms. Shahidi is a multi-racial child of African-American and Iranian parents, a detail in which she has never been shy expressing pride. In our present American era, a celebrity’s personal history — and how it relates to immigration, race, and ethnicity — serve important narratives that solidify and strengthen those of others like her. Beyond even that, her continued dialogue of her Iranian mixed-race heritage (which also includes Choctaw on her mother’s side) on social media and within interviews is especially relevant, as these demographics are not confidently defined in this country by any formal statistics. In essence, Ms. Shahidi’s diverse background is a signification for which there are no reliable present metrics, providing a valuable reference in the public eye for other multi-racial Iranians.
I am the result of love. More specifically, black and Iranian love. Of Shia love, of Christian love, of American love, of a love that highlights how interconnected we truly are.
In addition to being a model and young spokesperson, the actress is slotted for further prestigious destinies, if recent news of her entrance to Harvard is any proof. Bolstered by support from Michelle Obama in addition to her impeccable academic record, Ms. Shahidi ended up with her pick of universities. Life imitates fiction yet again, as she has now signed on for a spin-off series, College-ish, to be released next year on the network Freeform.
Yara Shahidi’s accomplishments are worthy of celebration, especially for young Iranian-Americans looking for more grounded representation on television. This is exactly why we should continue to support individuals like her committed to furthering the conversation, both on and off the screen. To vote for Ms. Shahidi for this year’s Teen Choice Awards, visit this site, or comment on twitter using this pre-fill and the actress’ name. Full details and rules available here.
Yara Shahidi on social media…
— Yara shahidi (@YaraShahidi) January 28, 2017
— Yara shahidi (@YaraShahidi) June 18, 2017
Cover photo credit: chocolatemommyluv
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