Yara Shahidi makes Time Magazine’s list of the 30 Most Influential Teens of 2017!
Most network TV stars tend to avoid talking politics, so as to appeal to the widest possible demographic. But as the child of an Iranian father and an African-American mother, Shahidi, who plays Zoe on popular ABC sitcom Black-ish, has felt compelled to speak out. When President Trump first tried to enact his travel ban against several Muslim majority countries, for example, she took him to task for xenophobia. “Immigrants don’t threaten safety — stereotypical narratives that promote hate do,” Shahidi wrote on Instagram, noting that she herself is the product of “Black and Iranian love.” If Shahidi is no ordinary sitcom star, it’s because Black-ish is no ordinary sitcom. The show examines issues of race and class through the lens of a black, upper-middle-class family; in January, Shahidi will star in her own spinoff, Grown-ish, about college students wrangling with those same issues in the age of Trump. “My family taught me to use my voice, my work, to help better society,” she tells TIME. Next year, after Grown-ish wraps, Shahidi is heading to Harvard to double major in sociology and African-American studies — thanks in part to a recommendation letter from Michelle Obama.