Zendaya Coleman has been enjoying cover star status for popular magazines like ESSENCE and Cosmopolitan after announcing that she will star in the upcoming Spider-Man film.
For her interview with Cosmo for their June issue, she opened up about colorism:
“I feel a responsibility to be a voice for the beautiful shades my people come in. Unfortunately, I have a bit of a privilege compared to my darker sisters and brothers… Like people question, Would you listen to Zendaya if she wasn’t the same skin color? And that’s an honest question. Can I honestly say that I’ve had to face the same racism and struggles as a woman with darker skin? No, I cannot. I have not walked in her shoes and that is unfair of me to say. But I’m completely behind that woman. I want to be a part of the movement and growth. And if I get put in a position because of the color of my skin where people will listen to me, then I should use that privilege the right way.”
Beautifully put, especially considering how stars like Zoe Saldana and others are missing the mark when it comes to discussing the issue of colorism in Hollywood and beyond. As young, talented, and smart women like Amandla Stenberg and Coleman continue to be lauded for speaking out about racism in our society, people are questioning whether colorism has shaped this hierarchy of activists and feminist leaders within pop culture.
Coleman did what was necessary: she acknowledged another level of injustice stemming from slavery, racism, and white supremacy.