Watch CBS News

Gamechangers: Once Bullied, South Jersey Teen Amaya Meekins Creates Platform To Fight Colorism

WILLINGBORO, N.J. (CBS) -- In recognition of Black History Month, we are honoring Gamechangers who are making a positive impact on communities of color in our area. Once bullied, a South Jersey teenager created a platform she uses to fight colorism.

Meet 17-year-old Amaya Meekins -- aka "Amya Roxxstar."

"I'm an author, artist, entertainer, entrepreneur. I do everything," Amaya said.

The Willingboro, New Jersey, native has been honing her craft since she was a little girl, never afraid to take the stage.

"I feel like it was always in me," she said.

Raised with an admiration for the struggle for civil rights, Amaya added the title activist to her list of identities when she was just a tween.

"People were teasing me about my skin complexion and I didn't really understand colorism," Amaya said.

While in elementary school, bullies targeted because of her dark skin. It made her turn away in shame.

"I wouldn't even look in the mirror. I didn't want to see any mirrors. I was, like, so damaged," she said.

Thanks to the support from family, including her mom Kay, Amaya transformed the experience by writing a book about a girl who fights back against colorism by starting a movement called Melanin Matters.

"It helped me get my confidence to help other people gain their confidence," Amaya said.

She even wrote a song empowering girls to love their complexion.

"It makes me feel like I have a purpose," she said. "I'm a faith-based person and I feel like God put me here to have a purpose."

Amaya pushes the purpose forward by holding workshops to encourage other Gen-Zers to make changes and to stop gun violence. She's organized a water drive and a book drive for foster youth. She graduated high school early and is in her freshman year of college, while performing all across the country.

"I just feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to do," Amaya said.

She is sharing a positive message and changing the game by being her best self.

"Be yourself and love your flaws because that's what makes you," Amaya said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.