Zendaya on why she’s sick of being “Hollywood’s acceptable version of a black girl”

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Susan Devaney
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Actress Zendaya has called out current beauty standards for a lack of diversity and representation during a recent beauty festival. 

While some celebrities are content with simply being famous, others are hell-bent on using their highly publicised platform to instil change.

Zendaya is, of course, falls into the latter category. 

Which is why during the Beautycon Festival in New York City, The Greatest Showman actress dispensed some valuable advice about colorism in Hollywood.

“As a black woman, 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,” Zendaya told host, Bozoma Saint John. 

“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. And that’s with anything, Hollywood, art, whatever.”

And it’s not the first time the actress has used her position in the spotlight to push for change.

“I feel a responsibility to be a voice for the beautiful shades my people come in. Unfortunately, I have a bit of a privilege compared to my darker sisters and brothers,” Zendaya told Cosmopolitan in 2016.

“Like people question, would you listen to Zendaya if she wasn’t the same skin colour? And that’s an honest question. 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,” she continued.

And people on Twitter have applauded her for calling out current beauty standard (once again). 

“This is why she will always have my support she always says what needs to be said,” one user wrote. 

“Zendaya openly discusses colorism, recognises her privilege and stands in truth. With her opportunities, she recognises the importance of creating opportunities and amplifying the voices of others. No one is free until we are all free,” another user posted. 

And another person tweeted: “I love that Zendaya openly discusses colorism and her privilege because many of her peers act like it’s not a thing.”

Earlier this year while at the Academy Awards, actress Frances McDormand called for change in the entertainment industry while picking up the Best Actress gong for her standout performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. In her short speech she brought two words to the table: ‘inclusion rider’. Basically, it’s a clause in an actor’s contract that requires the cast and crew on the film be diverse and support gender equality in order to retain the actor. In other words, fair representation of all. 

Moving forward, let’s continue the conversation and see more women of colour on screen. 

Images: Getty / Twitter