“Malcolm and Marie” actress Zendaya recounted her 2015 encounter with Giuliana Rancic following the television host’s offensive joke about her Oscars hairstyle.
Actress Zendaya Maree Coleman became a symbol of change and black revolution in 2015, following her classic clap back at news anchor Giuliana Rancic.
It began with Rancic’s seemingly offensive comment about the star’s hairstyle choice at the 2015 Oscars. Zendaya, then an upcoming star graced the red carpets in an off-shoulder gown by Vivienne Westwood, completing the cheeky look with a mass of cascading dreadlocks.
While the African-American beauty commanded attention with her old-school mix, Guliana Rancic opted to crucify her. During a 2015 episode of “Fashion Police,” the then “E!” news anchor joked that Zendaya’s hair must smell of “patchouli oil and weed.” Recounting the experience, the icon explained:
“That’s how change happens. And it made me think that how could I always have a lasting impact on what people saw and associated with people of color.”
Quite some change it brought! Rancic’s comment quickly sparked a frenzy on social media, as many considered it a racial slur. In response, Zendaya fired back at the TV host, clarifying the line between funny and disrespectful.
She also reminded the news anchor of several prominent figures who don dreadlocks and yet, do not smell of weed or patchouli. Zendaya went on to define locks as a symbol of strength and beauty, which should be worn proudly by African-Americans.
Netizens joined the uproar against the news anchor, condemning her stereotypic remark. Others turned to the then 18-year-old as a symbol of black pride, a modern-day role model, and a voice to those who could not speak for themselves.
Before long, the toy manufacturing company, Mattel created the Zendaya Barbie doll. The doll proudly rocks the star’s 2015 Oscars ensemble, complete with the iconic dreadlocks. That was a turning point in black history, as African-American kids could finally have a successful brown-skinned doll to idolize. Of course, Rancic eventually apologized for her outrageous comment in a tweet which read:
“@Zendaya, I’m sorry I offended you and others. I was referring to a Bohemian chic look. had nothing to do with race and NEVER would!!!”
The apology was met with even more backlash. After all, the deed had already been done. This is not the first time the “Malcolm and Marie” star, Zendaya would address her 2015 encounter in an interview for a magazine cover.
Back in December 2015, the actress graced the front cover and center spread of Complex’s “Women Of Next Year” issue. During the interview, she reflected on the Oscars incident which happened months prior, describing it as a learning experience.
She also revealed that her inspiration to speak up came from her family members, who at some point in their lives, had dreadlocks. Her reaction was a means of setting an example for upcoming generations.
Six years down the line, Zendaya remains a modern-day role model to the African-American community, inspiring through her works and her fashion choices.