Truth be told, I have only met the lovely Yara Shahidi once. It was at Elle Magazine’s Women in TV dinner and I thought she was precisely that: lovely. Little did I know that beneath this bubbly exterior and beautiful face lived a kindred spirit in social consciousness and self-empowerment. When a dear friend shared a clip from a speech she recently gave, I was riddled with chills; her young voice was strong, wise and powerful…and it reminded me of myself when I was her age. It was at eleven years old that I rallied the troops to have a sexist commercial changed, and many moons later as an adult that I was able to voice the realities of colorism, discrimination, and the slippery slope of television and its non-color-blind casting. But for this dynamic young lady, she has embraced her voice, now. Yes, she’s an actor – and a fine one at that – and yes, she’s a beauty, refreshingly and naturally, but she is our Tig crush du jour because of her exceptional ability to know what she feels and to how share it: proudly, loudly, beautifully. Preach, sweet Yara, preach.

Images via: Emily Berl (NYTimes), Yara Shahidi, Points of Light