A Toast to All the things Yara Shahidi Completed Lengthy Earlier than Her 21st Birthday
Still in with the former first family, Yara sat down with Barack Obama at the 2019 Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago to interview him about a variety of issues and how young people can get involved in effecting change. In fact, that’s the event during which the 44th president of the United States cautioned against online shaming and famously chided folks for mistaking a social media pile-on for activism.
“Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb. Then, I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because, man, you see how woke I was?” Obama said. “You know, that’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far.”
Naturally, he was, in turn, called out. As Twitter sharks circled, Yara came to his defense—and pointed out that they talked about a lot more than the one thing that made headlines.
“Being that I was part of the 75-minute conversation that preceded it and then followed it, it really was a moment in which I feel like people chose two sentences of what was said,” she told The Hollywood Reporter a few days later. “There is something to be said for the importance of accountability. But I think accountability culture is different than call-out culture.”
She continued, “There’s one thing to be doing something as a force of action and realizing that me being a part of a mass online movement does something, and then there’s still a tendency that we have to acknowledge to criticize people with no sort of solution in mind and to be overly nitpicky with no metric for growth of what we expect in return. And so, I think he addressed the nuance. Really, his comments to me were about the importance of action. Action can look different for everybody, but really acknowledging, ‘When are you taking action and when are you content just identifying the problem?'”