Zendaya Is The Black Girl Hollywood Wants

Zendaya has never been one to shy away from conversations about race. The actress expressed her thoughts on colorism during this year’s Beautycon Festival in New York City. Stating that in the entertainment business many see her as an “acceptable version of a Black girl.” 

Photo taken from Popsugar

Photo taken from Popsugar

(Just in case you are unfamiliar with the term colorism according to Webster dictionary it means prejudice or bias against persons on the basis of their skin color or complexion, often among persons of the same racial identification.)


Colorism is something that has pledged the black community for centuries. Women with lighter skin have always been seen as more beautiful and more intelligent than women with darker skin. Even in the days of slavery slaves with lighter skin normally would work in the slave owners house, which was considered better, than the darker skin slaves that worked in the fields.  

Hollywood has a bad track record with diversity. According to an analysis done by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, 68 percent of all female characters in the top 100 films of 2017 were white, while only 7 percent were black. All of that is slowly changing, with the success of movies like Black Panther. The film Black Panther has a cast made up of mostly dark skin characters and very strong female characters. This film debunked the theory in Hollywood that films with a predominantly black cast can't be successful.

“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 during a conversation with Bozoma Saint John, Uber’s chief brand officer. “I am Hollywood’s, I guess you could say, acceptable version of a Black girl and that has to change.”