Learn More About Yara Shahidi Through Orchard's "People Project"

The “People Project” is not just a reflection on Black History Month, but rather a way to illuminate important Black voices whose stories go unheard. It is important for us to become familiar with more names, learn about more people, and get others talking about the significant work that so many have done and/or are still doing to promote and move forward the work of social justice. 

The more we learn, the more we can uplift accomplishments and acknowledge the contributions to our greater society by so many who have come before and walk with us today. The “People Project” will feature those who have changed ways of thinking, paved the way for others, and fight for what they stand for. Black History Month is the perfect time to launch the “People Project.” We are excited to continue this project throughout the remainder of the year as we will highlight other important voices in the months to follow. 

-Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lisa Pryor


Miss Shahidi is a breakout television and movie star who is not only known for her acting but her activism as well. Her career started off when she was just six weeks old in print ads and commercials for companies like McDonald’s, Ralph Lauren, Disney, Target, among others. Her first movie, Imagine That with Eddie Murphy, was released in 2009 and earned her a nomination for the Young Artist Award. Miss Shahidi’s most recent and well-known role is in the hit television show Black-ish. Her role as Zoey in the show has earned her awards such as the Young Stars Award at the 2017 BET Awards and NAACP Image Award for best supporting actress in a comedy. The producers of Black-ish created a spinoff for Miss Shahidi’s character called, Grown-ish. The show features Zoey taking on the world as a college student. Miss Shahidi has 33 film credits to her name thus far including television shows and films. She won a Teen Choice Award for her first adult role in the film The Sun Is Also a Star. 
Miss Shahidi is also known for taking a stand and speaking up for the causes she believes in. She is an activist for feminism and STEM. When she was in high school she created a group to help educate people in the hopes of ending poverty. When she turned eighteen and was able to vote she launched Eighteen x 18, which is now known as We Vote Next. We Vote Next is an organization that encourages youth to get involved with civic engagement, speak their minds, and vote. 
Not only is Miss Shahidi an award-winning actor and activist she is also dedicated to her education. While filming the many projects she has been involved with, Miss Shahidi graduated from high school by taking online classes. In 2018 Miss Shahidi began attending Harvard with a plan to major in Sociology and African American Studies. It is believed that because of Miss Shahidi’s involvement in activism and educating other young people around voting, First Lady Michelle Obama wrote a letter of recommendation for her! 
We are wishing a happy birthday to Miss Shahidi as she turned 21 on February 10th! 

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