Zendaya Talks Cultural Appropriation: ‘You Have to Be Aware’
Zendaya has already proven to be far more socially aware than most celebrities her age, often using social media to draw attention to heavy issues like racism and cultural appropriation.
She isn’t afraid to call people out directly either, like the time Giuliana Rancic made a racist comment about Zendaya’s hair during an episode of E!’s Fashion Police. And while it isn’t Zendaya’s responsibility to enlighten those around her, her continued vocalization about racism and prejudice is admirable.
In an interview with Nylon magazine, she broke down the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation.
"You can go about it as cultural appreciation or cultural appropriation," she said. "You have to be very careful. Some things are really sacred and important to other cultures, so you have to be aware, politically, about those things before you just adopt them. In order to appreciate something, you have to know about it and understand."
She continued, noting, "You don’t just wear something just to wear it—you have to understand the history behind it. I urge people to take the extra step of knowledge and learn about things. I’m someone who feels uncomfortable with things unless I know [about them]. I’m not going to try something unless I’ve taken the time and effort to learn about it. I just think with the Internet and the resources we have, you should do a little research."
She isn't wrong. Most people (fellow celebrities included, by the way) participate in cultural appropriation unknowingly, because they don't take the time to evaluate why what they're doing might be considered offensive to someone else. But considering how easy it is to get information nowadays, the ignorance excuse falls a little flat.
Check out Zendaya's full interview over at Nylon.
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