Zendaya on Speaking Up for Herself: ‘This Is Not New’
Disney Channel star Zendaya graces the August cover of Essence magazine and talks about how she was raised to stand up for herself and how she makes it her mission to speak out against any and all racial injustices.
The 19-year-old told Essence, “When I talk to people about [standing up for herself], this is not new. It’s not something I just started doing. I just did it in public and more people saw it than usual. I don’t remember when I didn’t do it, to be completely honest. I think that’s just the way I was raised, or the way my parents just taught me to be…”
Zendaya made headlines in 2015 after E! Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic said that Zendaya’s Oscars hairstyle looked like it smelled like “patchouli…or weed.”
Zendaya responded on Instagram:
There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful. Someone said something about my hair at the Oscars that left me in awe. Not because I was relishing in rave outfit reviews, but because I was hit with ignorant slurs and pure disrespect. To say that an 18-year-old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or ‘weed’ is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive. I don’t usually feel the need to respond to negative things but certain remarks cannot go unchecked.
Zendaya’s mother, Claire Stoermer, told Essence, “With her being my daughter, I want her to feel like he’s empowered by having an opinion on life. I don’t want her or any of my children to feel like they have to be a part of the status quo and go along with the tide.”
As for being a role model to young girls, the K.C. Undercover star said, “You’ve got to realize those Twitter followers, those kids who watch you, that’s technically power. So, to me, I have a responsibility or a duty to the people who watch me to promote positive things, or to show them positive things, or to enlighten them…”
Read more of Zendaya’s cover story at Essence.com!