Why Zendaya Is Sick Of Being ‘Hollywood’s Acceptable Version Of A Black Girl’

“It's important … to show you how much beauty there is in the African-American community."

During an interview at the Beautycon Festival in New York on Sunday, 21-year-old actress Zendaya spoke up about the unequal representation of Black women in Hollywood. During a conversation with Uber's chief brand officer, Bozoma Saint John, Zendaya called out the unfair beauty standards and lack of diversity in the industry.

"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," she said. "I am Hollywood's, I guess you could say, acceptable version of a Black girl — and that needs to change."

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"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," Zendaya added.  

Her words were met with cheers from the audience — and many positive comments on Twitter. "Zendaya openly discusses colorism, recognizes her privilege and stands in truth. With her opportunities, she recognizes the importance of creating opportunities and amplifying the voices of others. 'No one is free until we are all free,' " one fan wrote. "I love that Zendaya openly discusses colorism and her privilege because many of her peers act like it's not a thing," another commented

In true form, Zendaya also offered words of encouragement to other young women who are trying to feel beautiful in their own skin. While they may not see people like them widely represented in the media at the time being, Zendaya hopes they'll work to uplift themselves through self-love.  

"I can say go love yourself, and I can tell you that all day, but when you wake up in the morning, that's not maybe necessarily how you feel," she said. "I think the No. 1 thing I can say is be OK with it being a process. You're not going to and just everything is going to change. Sometimes it's baby steps. I think self-affirmations — telling yourself small things every day that uplift yourself do huge, huge things." 

Cover image: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

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