Other than surprise Rihanna performances, the best thing about music festivals is that you get the chance to hang out with really cool people who are all in the same place for one weekend (and all hoping to see Rihanna). In this case, the cool people were singer Shamir (listen to "On the Regular" and prepare to become obsessed); actress Amandla Stenberg, who you first saw in The Hunger Games as Rue and then got to know as an activist when her excellent "Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows" video went viral; and model Adwoa Aboah, whose organization Gurls Talk aims to open up the conversation around mental health and addiction for teen girls by fostering mentoring and communication between peers. They represent a new wave of young activists for whom the personal is inextricably political, so Calvin Klein invited them (and me) to meet up at Coachella and talk. Under a sunny California sky, we discussed how the Internet functions in our lives, what it's like being a nonbinary person, growing up, and, of course, knitting. Here are the best bits of our conversation.
On the Internet:
Amandla: I feel like social activism is often rooted in the Internet these days because that's how we organize, how we have conversations, and how we spread information. Right now we're having this really intense buildup, with all these conversations going, and we're starting to organize into something that I feel will culminate into a modern civil-rights movement.
In terms of my personal relationship to the Internet, I joined Tumblr in like ninth grade, and then I started using it more and more as I got older to talk about things that I care about. Finding that Tumblr community was really important to me in terms of figuring out my values and how to use my words to get ideas across.
Shamir: The great thing about the Internet is that it's now a portal for people who live in places that block them off to the world. Anyone [who] is questioning their sexuality or anything [like that], they don't have to feel stuck or ignorant because the Internet is there [to help] them figure it out.