Yara Shahidi talks activism, politics in Porter magazine

Harvard student Yara Shahidi, star of the upcoming film “The Sun Is Also a Star,’’ tackles some big issues in the summer issue of Porter magazine.

In an interview and accompanying photo spread, the 19-year-old “Black-ish’’ actress explores topics as weighty as identity, youth activism, and politics.

“I’ve seen so many people around me inform politics through cultural ways,’’ she says, “and I think that’s the route I’d love to take when I look at people whom I’m fortunate enough to call mentors.’’

(It’s perhaps not surprising that two years ago, Oprah Winfrey called the young actress/activist one of the “most profound 17-year-olds alive.’’)

Shahidi also shares the personal relevance of “The Sun Is Also a Star’’ (both the book and movie), which is about a teenage girl named Natasha who falls in love with a boy on the same day she is being deported.

“Reading that book hit close to home in terms of immigration being a part of my story,’’ Shahidi tells the magazine. “What felt parallel to me was Minnesota, where I was born, being the place that I’d most definitely consider home, but at the same time also struggling with nearby St. Cloud proposing a Somali ban. Xenophobia is very prevalent and it’s something that Natasha deals with in this journey — New York is the place she considers home, but the city does not consider itself her home.’’

“The Sun Is Also a Star’’ hits theaters May 17.


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