I’ve held back on talking about this topic because I knew that there was going to be more nonsense… I mean information… to surface. On Monday’s episode of E!’s Fashion Police, the cast took on the best and worst dressed of the 87th Academy Awards. The show is known for its snarky and sometimes brutally critical reviews of red carpet fashions, but a very thin line was crossed by panelist Guiliana Rancic after a comment she made about 18 year old singer/actress, Zendaya. Instead of discussing how elegant Zendaya looked in her ivory Vivienne Westwood gown, Rancic shared the following, “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil… or weed.”
The comment was followed by backlash from pretty much every community there is: Black, fashion, and anyone who has the capacity recognize an ignorant comment with racial undertones. Zendaya, like the poised young lady she is, took to Instagram to address Rancic:
Following Zendaya’s statement, Rancic scurried to Twitter to deliver a lackluster non-apology:
Since the comment was initially made, many celebrities and fans of Zendaya have spoken out about the matter in her defense. And now, it’s my turn.
As a woman with locs, I hate that this has escalated into what it is. Once again, black women’s hair is at the center point of someone’s casually racist joke, and I’m tired of it. I understand that locs have a long history of being associated with hippies, Bob Marley, and marijuana, which are stereotypes that have penetrated the minds of many. It is without question, a stereotype that is damaging and perpetuates racial undertones that encourage an idea of subhuman inferiority implying that Black women will never live up a Eurocentric idea of beauty. “Wow Aley, all that from just one joke?” Yes!! The fact that Rancic associated the loc hairstyle to weed and some oil only further prove the effects of stereotypes that have been embedded in our subconscious, just waiting for the opportunity to be set free; Giuliana Rancic had the platform and manipulated it.
She stated in her apology that she was referring to a “bohemian chic look”. Well Mrs. Rancic, why didn’t you just say that instead of insulting not only Zendaya but all of the women within the loc community?! Whether Zendaya’s locs were faux or real, they still represent a culture, a community. She also stated that her comment “had nothing to do with race,” but honey, it has EVERYTHING TO DO WITH RACE, whether you intended it or not. And are you telling me that, even in the same dress, if Zendaya decided to wear her hair in a long, flowing weave with bundles dragging the red carpet, that she would have gotten a more positive rating?! But it’s not about race? Okay… *drinks whole kettle of steaming tea*
Time and time again, melanin deprived individuals get on these television shows, blogs, and social media platforms and say things just to say it; with no real thought, knowledge, or sensitivity to the subject or group of people in which they speak on. And we *taps back of the hand* are left to pick ourselves up and help heal one another from the damage; let me tell you, I’m exhausted. From the petition to comb Blue Ivy’s hair to First Daughter Malia Obama‘s two-strand twists that shook the world, and countless others, people can not resist the urge to keep Black women’s hair out of their mouths. But as soon as a Jenner daughter or fashion designers hits the runway with a hairstyle that has been looted from Black culture, it’s “groundbreaking,” “trendy,” and “bold.”
To Giuliana Rancic, please take this as an opportunity to educate yourself and your white counterparts on this issue. And for future reference, neither my mother’s, sister’s, nor friend’s hair is any of your concern. Focus on fashion, not my culture.
Before you go: Below is Rancic’s most recent public apology. Do you buy it? Personally, she can keep it; and I encourage her to please have an NFL stadium of seats. Be sure to share your thoughts below and let me know what you think.
Peace, peace, peace,