5 Takeaways From Kap’s Interview With Yara Shahidi In Paper Magazine

Written by Ann Brown
By Autumn Keiko

There are takeaways from when ex-NFL player/activist Colin Kaepernick sat down with actress, model, activist Yara Shahidi to interview her his special guest editor stint for Paper Magazine. The focus of the discussion was education. It is all part of Kaepernick and his “Know Your Rights” campaign. His special issue hits newsstands Sept. 3.

Shahidi is not only making her mark in entertainment, but she’s also making changes in society. Having gained recognition for her starring role as the oldest daughter Zoey Johnson on the sitcom “Black-ish” and its spin-off series “Grown-ish,” Shahidi is using her spotlight to empower the Black community.

Here are 5 takeaways from Shahidi and Kaepernick’s chat.

Young Leaders

Shahidi is on a mission of defeating poverty through education. “It’s a vision echoed in Yara’s Club, her partnership with the Young Women’s Leadership School that brings high school students together to discuss social issues and how to take action,” Paper reported.

Kaepernick and Shahidi share the inspiration to help empower Black and Brown communities through learning and knowledge. At Kaepernick, camp — the Know Your Rights Camp — every kid in the camp receives a copy of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and a DNA test kit. 

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When asked by Kaepernick’ if she felt the histories of Black and Brown peoples are represented properly in our education system, Shahidi responded: “If everyone is taught to relate to Napoleon Bonaparte, every dictator, every European or American leader, and not taught to engage with the rest of the world, with Africa, then you’re not taught to care about those people on the most intrinsic basis. And so that has large implications when you think about mainstream culture and majority politics, but it has even larger implications when you think of never being informed of your self-worth, never being in a position in which you learn about the beauty of your culture, how movements of your culture have contributed to global freedoms and global progress.”

New Style Education

According to Shahidi, when your education is refocused to be more inclusive it can change self-images and ultimately society. “And so I think when you rearrange our education system, when you make it something that decenters Europeanism and centers this idea of being identity-celebratory, then there are so many repercussions that are positive,” she said.

Education & Liberation

Shahidi told Kaepernick that she felt education can help liberate those who are oppressed. Here’s what she said: “Education is directly connected to opportunity, and when we have an education system that not only has equal access across Black and Brown communities, but is also on the basic level rearranged to be considerate of Black and Brown communities, to celebrate Black and Brown communities, it inherently restructures how we view politics. It raises a whole other generation that’s been taught to care about you, that’s been taught to care about people that may not look like them. And so I think when you rearrange our education system, when you make it something that decenters Europeanism and centers this idea of being identity-celebratory, then there are so many repercussions that are positive.”

Poverty & Education

When asked in what ways are marginalized communities being denied an education, and how does poverty affect that? She answered: “ When you look at what schools get access to after-school programs or music programs and what schools don’t, [there’s a difference between school] being a place that you are sent for mandatory learning and a place in which you are expected to grow and given the support to grow. And when you’re not given a space where people are considering you as an individual and as a student, it affects your willingness to go into new academic areas, your freedom or even self-confidence to say that you’re equipped to take on the next steps of life.”