Harvard student Yara Shahidi, star of the upcoming film “The Sun Is Also a Star,” tackles some big issues in the summer issue of Porter magazine.

In an interview and accompanying photo spread, the 19-year-old “Black-ish” actress explores topics as weighty as identity, youth activism, and politics.

“I’ve seen so many people around me inform politics through cultural ways,” she says, “and I think that’s the route I’d love to take when I look at people whom I’m fortunate enough to call mentors.”

(It’s perhaps not surprising that two years ago, Oprah Winfrey called the young actress/activist one of the “most profound 17-year-olds alive.”)


Shahidi also shares the personal relevance of “The Sun Is Also a Star” (both the book and movie), which is about a teenage girl named Natasha who falls in love with a boy on the same day she is being deported.

“Reading that book hit close to home in terms of immigration being a part of my story,” Shahidi tells the magazine. “What felt parallel to me was Minnesota, where I was born, being the place that I’d most definitely consider home, but at the same time also struggling with nearby St. Cloud proposing a Somali ban. Xenophobia is very prevalent and it’s something that Natasha deals with in this journey — New York is the place she considers home, but the city does not consider itself her home.”

“The Sun Is Also a Star” hits theaters May 17. 

Lillian Brown can be reached at lillian.brown@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lilliangbrown.