Actress, Activist, Author, Violinist — There’s Nothing Amandla Stenberg Can't Do
‘The Eddy’ actress Amandla Stenberg plays violin, acts, sings, writes, and is a vocal activist. There’s basically nothing she can’t do.
People who know how to play musical instruments know that there’s nothing more infuriating than watching an actor pretend to play a musical instrument in a movie or TV show. Come to think of it, it’s probably similar to the frustration real doctors must feel while watching Grey’s Anatomy. Amandla Stenberg is one of the stars of Damien Chazelle’s upcoming Netflix series, The Eddy.
Since Damien Chazelle is involved, you’ve probably already guessed that music plays a big part in the plot of the show. Naturally, we wondered if the stars are actually musically talented in real life. Happily, they are! In fact, Amandla Stenberg plays the violin — and she plays it amazingly well, we might add.
Amandla Stenberg plays the violin and has been performing since 2013.
The 21-year-old The Hate U Give star began performing on the violin at various Los Angeles venues with singer-songwriter Zander Hawley. Together, they released an EP in 2015 as a folk-rock duo named Honeywater. Recently, Amandla shared a video of herself playing the violin as part of a 24-hour live stream to benefit No Kid Hungry. It’s basically the most relaxing and lovely thing ever:
In a 2019 interview with Vanity Fair, Amandla said that music acts as a form of meditation for her. “I started playing classical violin in these intense competitions where kids would cry in the corner before their recital,” she said. “Then I met this amazing teacher who taught me how to improvise. Now it’s a way to relax and a therapeutic tool. Recently I’ve been making a lot of music with the intention of putting it out at some point. But not trying to put that pressure on myself — there’s already enough pressure.”
We don’t know yet whether Amandla will put her violin skills on display in The Eddy, but we do know that music plays a huge role in the series. The eight-episode drama takes place in Paris. The Eddy is a jazz club owned by Elliot Udo (André Holland) and his business partner Farid (Tahar Rahim). Elliot soon learns that Farid is involved with some unsavory characters, threatening his livelihood. That’s when his daughter Julie (played by Amandla) shows up, wanting to live with him.
In addition to acting and playing the violin, Amandla is also a comic book author.
In 2015, Amandla co-authored a comic book called Niobe: She Is Life with Sebastian Jones. Amandla says she sees a lot of herself in the half-elf protagonist of the series. “As I navigate the world and try to use my platform to bring people together, Niobe is doing the same thing, only in a much more badass way,” she told Vogue in 2017.
Sebastian said working with Amandla on the series was a “transcendent” experience. “It has been incredible to watch Amandla grow as Niobe grows along with her. She brings a sense of worldliness to the character and an honesty that speaks to our readers, reflecting her own personal journey as someone who is mixed and feels the weight of the world, or many worlds, on her shoulders,” he said.
“[Amandla] is extremely intelligent and empathetic, which has allowed me to step back and see Niobe flourish as a more well-rounded and vulnerable character. Amandla often emphasizes the mistakes as well as the hero moments for Niobe, which allows our readers to honestly connect and see themselves within her.”
She’s already conquered the violin, writing, acting, and activism — so what’s next for Amandla? When talking about her plans for the future, Amandla says, “I’m just guided by what I want to do. I love acting, but it’s not the only thing I’m going to do with my life. It’s important to me to chill out and shut up and learn.” Whatever dream she sets out to achieve next, we have a feeling she’ll master it with flying colors.
Season 1 of The Eddy premieres on Netflix on May 8, 2020.