Finding Her Purpose & Voice
Lets see...what was I doing at the age of 18, 19, 20 years old? I certainly can't recall but I do know I did not have my plate as full as Ms. Yara Shahidi's. Her name has shot into the stratosphere of celebrity kingdom after becoming an instant breakout star on the sitcom 'black-ish playing the pretty daughter, Zoey Johnson. The hit sitcom stars Anthony Anderson and Tracey Ross as parents. Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown and Marsai Martin as her siblings; Laurence Fishburne and Jennifer Lewis rounds out the cast.
Yara's been earning a paycheck since she was six weeks old from being placed along side her mother in print and commercial ads such as McDonald’s, Guess Kids, Ralph Lauren and Disney. She snagged her first big screen debut role at the age of 7 in Paramount Picture’s “Imagine That” starring along side Eddie Murphy, whom Yara did not know nor heard of when they first met for the movie's audition.
Shahidi and family hails from Minneapolis, her dad was a personal photographer for the late artist Prince, and mom, an actress/model. Both parents were passionately involved in improving the community they lived in by donating their time and money. So it's no surprise that the role of community activism has rubbed off on Yara.
Not only an entertainer, Yara hasn't been shy about expressing her concerns about issues relating to the youth of today. She stood up for LGBTQ rights and was vocal about opposing President Donald Trump's ban on Muslims (Yara's mother is African American, father is Iranian). In addition, she took part in supporting Anti-Bullying messages, shared the spotlight with First Lady Michelle Obama to get the word out about the importance of girl's education and interviewed Hillary Clinton at the Teen Vogue Summit. Whew!
Now achieving a college degree (maybe two or three) is her next task. Although Yara was accepted to a few exclusive ivory league institutions, her scholastic home is her first choice--Harvard University. Before the advanced placement exams, Yara recieved the ultimate endorsement: a letter of recommendation from First Lady Michelle Obama. Double major in social studies and African-American studies are her choice of curriculum.
With all her philanthropic initiatives, double majors at Harvard and a successful spin off TV show, “Grow-nish" on Freeform, and a strong supportive family behind her, Yara seems to have her feet planted firmly on the ground as she uses her fame as a platform to inspire and create change.