Though the Oscars were even whiter than the Grammy’s this year (who thought it was possible), there were notable people of color in attendance. From Oprah to Viola Davis, the women of color looked on point head to toe. Zendaya, the young actress and singer, was no exception. Her hair was styled in locs, and I thought they looked beautiful.

Of course people had to criticize though. I heard some saying it was an inappropriate style for the event (she looked put together; they weren’t messy or anything, so what’s inappropriate about that?) Giuliana Rancic (who I had to Google because who are you again?), from Fashion Police, commented that she looked like she smelled like “patchouli oils and weed,” obviously a reference to dreadlocks and the stereotype of people who have them being potheads.

Zendaya decided to respond to the ignorant joke on Twitter and Instagram Monday night.

A photo posted by Zendaya (@zendaya) on

Giuliana later apologized and said she meant it was a “bohemian chic” look. Maybe she had no ill intentions but in my opinion, the comment still raises an issue. Why did the media call it edgy and urban when Kylie Jenner wore dreads, but when a woman of color has them and she’s reduced to comments about what they must smell like?

I very much believe in women uplifting other women, not tearing them down. I guess it’s her “job,” but at 40 Giuliana should feel ashamed to be making stereotypical comments about something she clearly knows nothing about, especially in regard to a younger woman. So I love that Zendaya’s statement as an 18 year old is written so eloquently and maturely, especially toward the end where she says she wore them to remind other black people that our hair is good enough. I’m glad she was able to defend herself (and our race as a whole, really) without letting other people’s ignorance overshadow the huge accomplishment of appearing at the Oscars as a woman of color.


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