Amandla Stenberg is over ‘people talking about my chest,’ especially this film critic

A woman wearing a brown beanie with a gray suit jacket and dress poses for pictures
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” star Amandla Stenberg clarified a message she sent to a New York Times film critic.
(Charles Sykes / Invision/Associated Press)

“Bodies Bodies Bodies” is the latest film in Amandla Stenberg’s body of work. But the actor has had enough of what other people think of her body — specificially her chest.

On Thursday, the “Hate U Give” star was the subject of social media drama after she sent a private message to New York Times film critic Lena Wilson on Wednesday. In her unfavorable review, Wilson wrote, without singling out Stenberg, that the Gen-Z thriller “doubles as a 95-minute advertisement for cleavage and Charli XCX’s latest single.” In the film, Stenberg dons a tank top and cargo shorts.

“I said, ‘Great review. Maybe if you had gotten your eyes of my t—, you could have watched the movie,’” Stenberg explained while laughing in an Instagram Story Thursday. “I thought it was hilarious. I thought that because Lena is gay — I’m also gay — I thought that as gay people we would both find this comment funny.”

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Except Wilson didn’t seem to find it amusing. Instead, the writer tweeted the private Instagram exchange and wondered if Stenberg, 23, had sent similar DMs to other film critics. Wilson also accused the actor of being homophobic.

“always weird when the homophobia is coming from inside the house but this is something,” Wilson tweeted. (She has since made her Twitter account private.)

Stenberg’s private message ballooned into a larger controversy on Twitter, with users voicing support for either Stenberg or Wilson.

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In Thursday’s Instagram Stories, Stenberg said she didn’t mean for her comment to Wilson to be taken seriously, but clarified that she wanted to bring attention to “the amount of commentary I’ve received on my boobs,” which has happened since she was a teenager.

“I do get tired about people talking about my chest,” she added. “It seems to be in Hollywood, it’s not normalized to have boobs that are above an A or a B cup.”

Stenberg also acknowledged that Wilson’s “95-minute advertisement for cleavage” line could have been a dig at the studio, A24, “sexualizing me, sexualizing my body, exploiting young women in order to sensationalize them to make their media popular.”


But even if that were the case, Stenberg said, “There seems to be a lot of unwarranted conversation around my chest that just kind of baffles me.”

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Stenberg then defused the situation with a message for Wilson.

“Anyways, Lena, I thought your review was hilarious. I thought my DM was funny. I did not mean to harass you. I do not wish you any harm,” she said. “You are allowed to have your criticisms on my work, and I’m allowed to have my criticisms of your work. And that is A-OK with me, and I wish you the best.”

Stenberg cheekily concluded her Instagram Story by thanking movie-goers who have “seen our 95-minute advertisement for cleavage.” And then she laughed again.