Marley Dias is 15 years old and already changing the world. Named after Bob Marley, she is of Jamaican and Cape Verdan descent. She is eloquent, powerful with her words, and has done things most adults could only dream of- like speak at the White House’s United States of Women event alongside Michelle Obama and Oprah . She is the founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, which she created after wanting to see more children books where Black girls are the main characters.
In 2018, Dias was recognized by TIME as one of the 25 most influential teens in 2018. She is also the youngest member of the Forbes 30 under 30 list to date. She is the host and executive producer of Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices, a new Netflix series in which Black celebrities read children‘s books by Black authors. Lupita Nyong’o , Tiffany Haddish , Common and Jill Scott are among the readers. Dias is also the author of Marley Dias Gets it Done: And So Can You!
She recently hosted an Airbnb online experience called “How to be a Social Problem Solver” with her parents and sat down with Hola! USA to talk about the experience, being a 15 year old girl, and how adults can help change the world we created.
Hola! USA: So let‘s talk a little bit about your Airbnb experience first that I know you have coming up tomorrow. Tell me a little bit in your words what it is and what to expect. Marley Dias: So my Airbnb experience alongside my mom and dad is called ‘How To Be a Social Problem Solver.’ I am super excited because usually after when I do speaking engagements people come up to [my parents] and ask “oh how does she do that? Did you write that for her? For her to say that? And they‘re kind of doubting the ability I have to speak for myself and the passion I have for the work that I do with a 1000 Black Girl Books. So Airbnb presents the opportunity for me to talk about the campaign… and show and represent the value that I have in my work. How to be a social problem solver obviously comes from the success found in my campaign, but that success is and kind of rests on the ability that my parents have had to invest in me and these ideas. So it’s really exciting to have something that we all do together. My mom and I have only done one speaking engagement together before and… it’s a really limited edition thing. We are very different in the way that we talk about social justice, we don’t necessarily have the same presentation with all our ideas. So it’s super fun, especially now that I am older and I think I have more independent and mature ideas.
Hola! USA: That‘s a really good point. I can understand and can see how people would try to downplay you and say that your parents are writing all this stuff for you or that these thoughts aren’t coming from your own head. I think it’s cool that you’re creating your own agency and independence. What age range is this experience for? Marley Dias: I think that‘s a good question cause although I definitely want to say that it’s for all ages. I think social action became something that I cared about when I was around 10 years old… It is a guide and a resource for all ages, but I think when you become 10 years old you start to have your moral perspective- You feel like you’re a big kid, you’re in elementary school and you experience more independence and have to work on self-efficacy and self-agency. So the event is really focused on being 10 and up and we want to make sure that younger kids if they have ideas are able to attend as well and theirs no limitations. But when it comes to all those kids we also want to encourage that their parents are along with them. This isn’t the kind of event where you can just click the link for your children. We wanna make sure they are both engaged and listening to what we have to say. Because although I’m hosting the experience, we are gonna talk about my dad’s perspective of watching me grow and my mom’s experience… So we are going to be covering those bases for both children and adults.
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