There are several pieces of this story (in full, below). Let’s break them down.
Did Giuliana Rancic intend to make a racially charged comment? No.
Was Zendaya, being 18, having recently chopped off her hair and now taking another big fashion risk at the biggest awards show of the year, a little self-conscious, and thus being a little defensive? Probably.
Should Fashion Police be critiquing an 18-year-old on the red carpet? No, probably not.
So, where does that leave us?
Fashion Police should stop commenting on kids. That’s an easy one.
As far as the real meat of the issue goes though, I’m not sure.
Zendaya was offended, outraged even, and she has a right to feel that way. Clearly dreadlocks and African American heritage are strongly tied together for her.
I wouldn’t have known this. When I think of dreadlocks, I just think of dreadlocks, and probably what Giuliana Rancic was trying to reference: a hippie (which is also stereotypical) or Bohemian style.
For me, Rancic’s comment was not about who was wearing the dreadlocks, but rather the presence and styling of the hairstyle on the red carpet at the Oscars.
Giuliana Rancic has apologized for slamming Zendaya’s Oscars hair.
The young actress rocked up to the biggest movie event of the year with dreadlocks and a gorgeous off-the-shoulder gown.
The E! Fashion Police star was quick to comment on the look, saying: “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil.” Kelly Osbourne, pitched in, adding that she might smell like “weed.”
Zendaya was clearly left disgruntled by Giuliana’s remark, as she headed straight to Instagram to air her grievances. She believes people criticize African American hair all too frequently and that the latest comments just encourage this.
“There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful. Someone said something about my hair at the Oscars that left me in awe,” she voiced.
“I was hit with ignorant slurs and pure disrespect. To say that an 18 year old young woman with locs [dreadlocks] must smell of patchouli oil or ‘weed’ is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive. I don’t usually feel the need to respond to negative things, but certain remarks cannot go unchecked. (sic)”
Zendaya went on to name other people who wear their hair in dreadlocks, mentioning Selma director Ava DuVernay among them. She also compared hers to a lion’s mane, saying they symbolize strength.
Giuliana took to Twitter to clear the air between herself and the 18-year-old.
“Dear @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!!! (sic),” she clarified.