As if she really needed to, Zendaya has gone ahead and given us yet one more reason to love her. Not only is she a multi-talented singer, actress and dancer with a fashion sense that wipes the floor with most all of her contemporaries, she’s also outspoken and sharp-thinking.
In conversation at the Beautycon Festival in New York city over the weekend, she took the opportunity to highlight discrimination, colourism and the struggle for representation within the worlds of fashion and entertainment, reminding us all just how far there is to go.
“As a light-skinned black woman, that’s important I’m using my privilege and my platform to show you how much beauty there is within the African-American community. I am Hollywood’s, I guess you could say, acceptable version of a black girl…. And that has to change. We’re vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to just be the only representation of that.”
It’s hard not to be uplifted by her eloquence, power and words of truth and empowerment, bringing some much-needed attention to the topic, highlighting that we’re still not quite there when it comes to true inclusivity. And she had something to add too, about fostering that change. “It’s about creating those opportunities, sometimes you have to create the path.”
“I am Hollywood’s acceptable version of a Black girl and that has to change. We’re vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to be the only representation of that.” – #Zendaya in conversation with @BadAssBoz at #BeautyconNYC pic.twitter.com/wZaIrJm1Tw
— Danielle (@theislandiva) April 22, 2018
It’s not the first time she’s spoken out on the subject. Talking with Cosmopolitan in 2016, she had some honest words to share, openly admitting, “I have a bit of a privilege as compared to my darker brothers and sisters… Can I honestly say that I’ve had to face the same racism and struggles as a woman with darker skin? No, I cannot. I have not walked in her shoes and that is unfair of me to say. But I’m completely behind that woman. I want to be a part of the movement and growth. And if I get put in a position because of the colour of my skin where people will listen to me, then I should use that privilege the right way.”
Sounds to us like she’s doing just that, which, given that her profile has upped significantly in the past couple of years, will hopefully go that much further. We love to see someone speak so honestly about the double standards that continue to pervade popular culture — and it’s high time for more in similar positions to follow her example.