After being ridiculed for wearing faux-dreds to the Oscars last year, Actress/singer/model Zendaya has become well-known for being a huge part of the cultural appropriation discussion.
The teenage icon recently sat down with PopSugar Beauty to discuss her own beauty and style techniques. But when the conversation transitioned into talk of Black hair trends and who has permission to wear cornrows and why, Zendaya kept it all the way real and educated the brand on what exactly cultural appropriation is all about.
Yo go Zendaya!
PS: Braids are a buzz term right now, especially when it comes to cultural appropriation. What do you consider to be cultural appropriation, and where do you think we should draw the line?
ZC: Well, first of all, braids are not new. Black women have been wearing braids for a very long time, and that’s another part of the frustration. We’ve been using that as a protective style, as a hairstyle. That’s been in our culture and our community for a very long time. So it’s not this new, fresh, fun thing. Another problem is it became new and fresh and fun, because it was on someone else other than a black woman. You know what I mean? So that is the frustration. That’s where the culture appropriation element comes into play.
PS: Do you have any advice — and I could be wrong here — for how celebrities like Kim Kardashian or Katy Perry can wear a style that’s been traditionally black one? Is there ever an appropriate way to do that? Or is it better just stay away from those looks?
ZC: I don’t know. I really don’t know. I would be careful, I would definitely be careful. I don’t know if there is an appropriate way — that’s not something I can answer.
My girl Amandla [Stenberg], who is super dope, brought up another problem. She wished society loved black people as much as they love black culture. That’s the truth. The credit gets taken away from us when we make certain statements or when we do certain things. That is the frustration. People want to be around for the positives and the things that we bring as far as culture, but they don’t want to be around when we have problems or when we’re getting shot in the streets. You know what I’m saying? You have to be there for the whole experience. You can’t just decide when you want to be a part of our culture.