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Zendaya Reflects On Speaking Up About Giuliana Rancic’s Ignorant Red Carpet Diss About Her Hair At The 2015 Oscars

Zendaya Reflects Back On Giuliana Rancic’s Ignorant Red Carpet Diss About Her Hair At The Oscars

Zendaya is looking back on what she learned about standing up for herself after Giuliana Rancic’s ignorant remarks on her hair in 2015.

As a refresher, Rancic made some racially offensive comments about the then 18-year-old’s decision to rock dreadlocks on the Oscars red carpet in an episode of Fashion Police following the big night. During it, the entertainment journalist said the actress looked as if “she smells like patchouli oil or weed.” The comment seriously still us makes wonder what the f**k?!

Related: Zendaya Responds To Criticism Of Her Age Gap With John David Washington

Zendaya Reflects Back On Giuliana Rancic’s Ignorant Red Carpet Diss About Her Dreadlocks At The Oscars
(c) Adriana M. Barraza/WENN

After the ep aired, the former Disney star took to Instagram to call out the E! News co-anchor for her “outrageously offensive” words. She wrote:

“There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful. Someone said something about my hair at the Oscars that left me in awe. Not because I was relishing in rave outfit reviews, but because I was hit with ignorant slurs and pure disrespect.”

Zendaya continued:

“To say that an 18-year-old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or ‘weed’ is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive. I don’t usually feel the need to respond to negative things but certain remarks cannot go unchecked.”

The Malcolm & Marie actress went on to name drop successful Black men and women such as Ava DuVernay and Vincent Brown — all of whom she said have “locs” and “none of which smell of marijuana.” Z concluded the post, expressing:

“There is already a harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. I suggest some people should listen to India Arie’s ‘I Am Not My Hair,’ and contemplate a little before opening your mouth so quickly to judge.”

Ch-ch-check out the full statement (below):


Rancic later apologized for her opinions on Twitter, clarifying that she was “referring to a bohemian chic look. Had NOTHING to do with race and NEVER would!!!” The momma of one later followed up the initial apology with a more detailed show of remorse in an on-camera statement on E!:

“Now, as you know Fashion Police is a show that pokes fun at celebrities in good spirit, but I do understand that something I said last night did cross the line. I just want everyone to know, I didn’t intend to hurt anybody — but, I have learned, it is not my intent that matters, it’s the result. And the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya, and that is not okay. Therefore, I want to say to Zendaya, and anyone else out there that I have hurt, that I am so, so sincerely sorry. This really has been a learning experience for me. I’ve learned a lot today, and this incident has taught me to be a lot more aware of clichés and stereotypes, how much damage they can do — and that I am responsible, as we all are, to not perpetuate them further.”


Zendaya accepted the apology in a follow-up post on the situation, sharing:

“Giuliana, I appreciate your apology and I’m glad it was a learning experience for you and for the network. I hope others negatively affected by her words can also find it in their hearts to accept her apology as well.”

You can read the IG statement (below):


After the Oscars debacle, toy company Mattel even created a Zendaya Barbie in response to the Rancic backlash. The figure was decked out in the same off-the-shoulder, light-pink Vivienne Westwood gown and dreadlocks!! For the TV personality’s part? She left E! News, but stayed on for Fashion Police, which co-host Kelly Osbourne quit over Rancic’s comments.

Now, in a cover story for W Magazine with her Netflix co-star John David Washington published on Monday, the 24-year-old reflected on her reason to speak up about the 2015 incident between her and the 46-year-old star. Giving a quick comment, the Euphoria actress stated:

“That’s how change happens and it made me think, ‘How could I always have a lasting impact on what people saw and associated with people of color?’”

It definitely was an important conversation to have! Peep the stunning cover shot of the duo (below):

Zendaya previously opened up about the situation in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, discussing how:

“I wanted this to be a positive experience, for people to learn from it, people to grow from it. And that’s all that I hope is their show is able to learn and grow and hopefully, positive, be more positive.”

Drops us your thoughts in the comments (below), Perezcious readers!

[Image via Adriana M. Barraza/WENN & Nicky Nelson/WENN]

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Mar 15, 2021 14:40pm PDT