Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman, popularly called Zendaya, is highly aware of colorism in Hollywood and says her own ‘light skin’ privilege is proof.
The popular actress and star of The Greatest Showman spoke with Bozoma Saint John, Uber’s chief brand officer, at this year’s Beautycon Conference in New York.
The Conference brings together creators, influencers, and celebrities to celebrate the diversity of women’s beauty.
Speaking on the representation of Black women in Hollywood, the 21-year-old star said the following:
“As a light-skinned Black woman, it’s important that I’m using my privilege, my platform to show you how much beauty there is in the African-American community. I am Hollywood’s, I guess you could say, acceptable version of a Black girl and that needs to change. We’re vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to be the only representation of that. What I’m saying, it’s about creating those opportunities. Sometimes you have to create those paths.”
Zendaya also spoke on self-love, staying true to oneself, and navigating a career in Hollywood.
“Here’s the thing, I’m only 21 years old. I don’t have all the answers. I think it’s important to know that we’re all young and we’re still just trying to figure it out. I’m not going to sit here and preach and have all the answers for you. What I can say is that everything in life is a process,” she said.
This is not the first time Zendaya has talked about activism and advocating for others. Her speech at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards was a rallying call for young people to become more active and involved in their communities.
“With all the injustice and the hatred and everything that is happening. I need you to listen. I need you to pay attention. I need you to understand that you have a voice and it’s OK to use it,” she advised.
While some have praised Zendaya for speaking up on the issue of her light skin privilege, others are cynical, saying that she benefits from the same system she is criticizing.
The star who says she never speaks negatively about herself probably doesn’t care about the cynics anyway. “Your number one fan should always be yourself,” she said.
Watch Zendaya speak below:
“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
What are your thoughts? Can the biracial star speak on colorism? Or is she too far removed?