Dreadlocks and Racism

by Tee on October 13, 2015 - 9:10pm

An article written by Helen Nianias on Independent.co.uk in February 24th of this year is one that focuses on the racism in the media today. The article titled “Zendaya Coleman: Racism row over 'ignorant slurs' after Giuliana Rancic says her dreadlocks look like they smell of 'weed'” by Nianias is about, like the title says, the actress Zendaya Coleman and her response to the comments Guiliana Rancic made towards her hair. Rancic said that Zendaya’s dreadlocks looked like they smelled of “patchouli oil and weed.” Zendaya quickly replied to Rancic’s comment by posting on Twitter. Zendaya replies saying that Rancic’s comments were not only centered around stereotypes, but that her comments were offensive. She then goes on to name a list of influential people in Hollywood and links them together saying that they all have one thing in common, which is dreadlocks. Zendaya wraps up her response to Rancic by saying that dreadlocks are a symbol of strength and beauty and that she wore them in her hair to show just that. Rancic replied back to Zendaya saying that she was worry and that her comments weren’t about race. Author Nianias then ends the article talking about how African-Caribbean hair has been an issue within our society which certain artists have used as a touchpoint.

I believe that the article “Zendaya Coleman: Racism row over 'ignorant slurs' after Giuliana Rancic says her dreadlocks look like they smell of 'weed'” by Helen Nianias is an article that shows us that no matter how young you may be, you will still be a victim to obvious racism within the public eye. Zendaya, who was 18 years old at the time was targeted because of her dreadlocks and black culture. It’s wrong for a grown woman like Guiliana Rancic to attack an 18 year old for her choice to wear her hair a certain way when there are women who are white and have dreadlocks and nobody says anything negative about it. Zendaya, in my opinion, answered in a suitable way, addressing the issue head on and not just brushing it off, like what Winkler in the article “Children Are Not Colourblind: How Young Children Learn Race” says to do. True, Zendaya is dealing with a grown woman, not children, but personally I think that if a woman like Guiliana Rancic wants to make such childish comments, she deserves to also be taught like a child would be taught. All in all, I would say that Zendaya replied to the racist comments in a reasonable and mature way, one that an 18 year old shouldn’t have had to make, though.


Nianias, H. (2015, February 24). Zendaya Coleman: Racism row over 'ignorant slurs' after Giuliana Rancic says her dreadlocks look like they smell of 'weed' Retrieved October 10, 2015, from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/zendaya-coleman-racism-row-over-ignorant-slurs-after-oscars-host-guiliana-rancic-says-her-dreadlocks-10066386.html


Kess McRae
Thursday, October 22, 2015


I have chosen to comment on your post because many times have I seen a post criticizing a teen wearing their hair in dreads or braids. Which has been commented on a lot in the media due to the fact that people like Kylie Jenner and Miley Cyrus have styled their hair that way. Like you said in your response, it is ridiculous for a grown woman to be making childish comments on a young woman just living life wearing a hair style, just like Winkler in the article “Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race”, this woman should pretty much be treated like a child and learn about racism. But she also works for a magazine where controversy and gossip is there source of work. I don’t know why are hairstyle have to be so controversial and news worthy. I loved Zendaya’s response on twitter it was very mature and insightful and definitely put the author of the article in her place. Saying that it is a form of beauty and strength and referring to other celebrities really pushed away the authors stereotypical comments. Not only is racism based on skin but now it’s about hair as well. This just shows that people in the news business will make a story out anything. In this situation I don’t know what can be change or resolved, people need to stop being so judgmental and relying on stereotypes. Especially since this article was a writers own view, all people can do is ignore her comments and reinforce zendaya’s views.

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