Singer Zendaya, 18, showed up at the Academy Awards sporting tasteful dreadlocks, but comments made by “Fashion Police” host Giuliana Rancic about how they probably smell like “patchouli oil or weed” have sparked outrage online.
E! Network’s hit show “Fashion Police” involves the show’s hosts critiquing celebrities’ appearances. In the most recent episode following the Academy Awards, Giuliana Rancic along with her cohosts were doing just that when 18-year-old singer/actress Zendaya’s dreadlocks came up for discussion.
“I feel like she smells, smells like patchouli oil… or maybe weed,” Rancic said of the teen’s hair.
Quickly, Twitter erupted with angry people who blasted the TV host for her mean comments and accused her of being racist. In contrast, Rancic publicly stated that model and Kardashian reality star Kylie Jenner’s dreadlocks looked “edgy.” Jenner, who is white, didn’t get any negative comments from Rancic, but Zendaya, who is black, was mocked because of her hairstyle.
In an elegant response on Twitter, Zendaya came back at the TV host, defending her choice to wear dreadlocks and calling out Rancic for being hypocritical.
“There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful,” Zendaya wrote. “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. 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.”
Zendaya went on to name other high profile people who successfully wear dreadlocks, and by the end, she explained why she decided on the hairstyle.
“My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough,” Zendaya said. “To me locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion's mane.”
Rancic quickly responded on Twitter, saying, “Dear @Zendaya, I'm sorry I offended you and others. I was referring to a bohemian chic look. Had NOTHING to do with race and NEVER would!!!”
What do you think of Rancic’s comments?