Yara Shahidi is much like her character on the hit series Black-ish. Like her character, Zoey, Yara is concerned about society and active in her community. The young star tells the Los Angeles Times about her advocacy for the educational program Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
“I am a STEM advocate,” she tells the editorial. “I think that what’s so important about it is more than just taking a class to get credit, [STEM] really helps you with problem solving, and it helps you be a more analytical thinker. I feel like oftentimes STEM programs are underdeveloped because it takes a lot of funds for experiments and to have the proper supplies.”
The star actress further explains, “What’s so amazing is seeing young girls empowered in STEM fields because there is an overwhelming lack of a female presence. I feel like it’s so important that somebody’s love or interest in STEM isn’t squashed by this idea that ‘Well, I’m not a man, this is not appropriate for a woman.'”
In many ways, Yara is like her Black-ish character, Zoey. The oldest child of the Johnson family expresses discontent in police brutality that has led to tension in society after watching a news segment of a young man beaten by authorities with the family during the recent episode “Hope.”
“She is the voice for Generation Z in that she may not be the person that is super vocal or at the protest, but she is connected through social media or she is connected to the people that are getting hurt,” Yara says. “What I really loved is that she had an opinion. Because it’s so easy to say she was off in the corner the whole time, not really caring. But opening the script and seeing she had such a visceral reaction, it was fun to play because it was a more serious side that you haven’t seen from Zoey.”
Catch Zoey and the gang on Black-ish every Wednesday at 9:30/8:30c on ABC.