Amya RoxxStar: Changing the game by being her best self

Cherri Gregg
February 21, 2020 - 4:00 am
Amya Meekins.

Courtesy of Amya Meekins

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Amya Meekins, also known as Amya RoxxStar, is changing the game simply by being her best self.

"I have learned to love my flaws," she said, "because those are the things that make you, you, and that is how you will impact the world."

The 17-year-old Willingboro, New Jersey native is an author, entertainer, activist and entrepreneur whose journey started when she was a little girl.

"I got a karaoke machine one year," she recalled. "I would always go around the house singing into the microphone."

Growing up, she believed in her own abilities. Her mother and grandmother always told her to dream big. And she does. But her world got a little smaller when colorism bore its ugly head.

"I used to get picked on because of my skin tone," she said. "I didn't want to look at myself in the mirror. I was so damaged."

Meekins says the bullying over her dark skin made her want to hide. She grew up learning about black history heroes like Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, so she decided to take on the bullies by helping others. 

She began by penning a book titled, "Life of A Teenage Girl." The book tells the story of a teen named Faith who is bullied because of her skin color and experiences gun violence.

"All things that I experienced," Meekins said. "But she starts a movement, 'Melanin Matters.'"

Meekins took the experience a step further. 

She hosts workshops to raise awareness about colorism. She's also raised money for a toy drive for kids and a water drive to help families in Newark, New Jersey. She also teaches other Generation Zers how to take action.

"It helped me get my confidence to help other people gain their confidence," she added.

The teen graduated high school early with honors. Now, she is working to complete her first year of college as she travels the country performing on stage. Her rap songs talk about living life, being a positive influence and, by all means, being one's self.

"I feel like by being me, it will inspire others," she said, noting that so many people buy her book to help their brown skin daughters and granddaughters. "It makes me feel like I have a purpose, like I am doing what I am supposed to do."

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Gamechangers is led by KYW Newsradio's community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg. It recognizes 10 individuals or organizations that are making a positive impact on communities of color. 

For a full list of 2020’s Gamechangers, check back here. One honoree will be announced each weekday between Feb. 10 and 21. The awards ceremony takes place on Feb. 27 at The Met Philadelphia.