Each year Time Magazine releases its list of “The 30 Most Influential Teens” and this year it includes the granddaughter of Oak Park resident (and former WJ Viewpoints columnist Kwame Salter).

According to the online version, Time wrote, “we consider accolades across numerous fields, global impact through social media and overall ability to drive news. In the past, we’ve recognized everyone from singer Lorde to golf champion Lydia Ko to political activist Joshua Wong.”

Here is what they said about Yara Shahidi, 16, who lives in Altadena, California:

“As an actress of African-American and Iranian-American heritage playing a smart, complicated teenager on a popular TV show [she plays Zooey, the daughter in Black-ish], Shahidi knows she’s breaking boundaries: Zoey, she has said, ‘is my activism through art.’ But Shahidi, who recently appeared on the cover of Essence, has also become an activist in real life, using her newfound fame to push for more representation and diversity in Hollywood. ‘If a child grows up never seeing themselves represented as successful or as the hero,’ she said in July, ‘then they are the anomaly if they succeed and the expectation if they fail.'”

According to the ASOS fashion website, she’s also a favorite of Michelle Obama:

“She and Michelle Obama led a Q&A in the White House for International Day of the Girl, to talk about education for girls as part of FLOTUS’ Let Girls Learn campaign … She’s the most intelligent, talented, gorgeous 16-year-old we’ve ever seen.”

Proud Grandpa Kwame writes: Yara is one of my five grandchildren. She is the second oldest. I have two granddaughters who live in Chicago and attend Whitney Young Magnet School. My oldest, Camryn Salter, is a standout student and ranked tennis player at WYHS.

Ken Trainor

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