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Yara Shahidi on her collaboration with Dell XPS to empower the next generation



Yara Shahidi is making moves on behalf of Generation Z. The actress and activist has announced a multi-year collaboration with Dell XPS to inspire the next generation to “use technology to drive their passions.”

For years, the Grown-ish star has used her platform and fame to truly make a difference, from co-founding the youth-voter engagement organization Eighteen X 18 to working with Michelle Obama to shed light on the importance of girls’ education. In her latest collaboration, Shahidi is looking to technology as a tool to help Generation Z feel empowered and go after their dreams. Shahidi opened up to theGrio about the partnership and how her own life has been impacted and amplified through technology.

Actress Yara Shahidi BTS Photo Shoot Celebrating Her Appearance On CNN Heroes
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 13: In this image released on December 13, 2020, actress Yara Shahidi prepares for her appearance on CNN Heroes at The West Hollywood EDITION in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

“When I’m thinking of the Dell XPS campaign, I really have to speak to the actual longline, which is about expanding our universe,” she said. “They are intentionally coming up with tech and forms of support to make sure that our passions have outlets, and to really bridge the digital gaps. Not only are they focusing on a question of access and price point in their philanthropic programs, but they’re also then saying, ‘How can we create a device that allows you to lean into all of your desires by having the best of the best?’”

The importance of access to powerful and useful technology is personal for Shahidi.

“I’m juggling school full-time, I am a producer, an actress, I am socially engaged, and my XPS is what kind of has to hold and help me juggle all of those truths and all of what I do,” she explained.

Speaking broadly about tech, she said, “Coming up in an age in which technology has been more meshed with our everyday lives, there have been some pretty incredible outcomes…I have gotten to close the geographical divide between me and my peers who are passionate about different topics.”

“That’s something that I don’t even think was as common when I was first getting into the tech world at seven,” she added with a chuckle.

Shahidi and Dell XPS’s partnership with Ghetto Film School, an award-winning nonprofit “founded to educate, develop and celebrate the next generation of storytellers,” adds a significant layer to the collaboration.

“That is precisely what we seek to amplify…it’s not just a platform for me to talk about what I love, but we’ve really consciously made an effort to say, ‘How do we give back?’ Not as this kind of side thing that we do, but integral to our partnership,” she said.

Actress Yara Shahidi BTS Photo Shoot Celebrating Her Appearance On The Trumpet Awards
In this image released on Dec. 13, 2020, actress Yara Shahidi poses during a photoshoot for the Trumpet Awards. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

As for the XPS laptop specifically, Shahidi insists they had this generation in mind when making it.

“It is evident not only in materials used but in the programming, [but] who you’re making technology for comes through in design,” she said.

Speaking to algorithmic bias, she explains, “We see the ways in which tech can quite literally translate values in who you care about. So, when you see the team that helped put this together, they have an act of excitement, they are thrilled to try and make the best product possible for us.”

As Shahidi has always been incredibly outspoken regarding her missions, this collaboration is a perfect match.

“When there is that perfect alignment, that’s when that special magic happens! We know that we’re not just collaborating for this short-term game, but to really genuinely make an impact,” she said.

For more on the Yara Shahidi X Dell XPS collaboration, head to the official website.

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