Zendaya reflects on being a black woman in Hollywood: The ultimate goal is to make room for black talent

Zendaya reflects on the responsibilities she has as a young black woman in Hollywood in a detailed statement. Read her full statement ahead.
Zendaya speaks up about the pressures she faces as a black woman in Hollywood.
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During the Hollywood Reporter's Drama Actress Roundtable with actresses Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Janelle Monáe, Helena Bonham Carter and Rose Byrne, the 23-year-old Zendaya opened up about the stress of becoming a successful role model.  "I have a heavy responsibility on my shoulders, but I’m appreciative… because with that there’s a lot of good that I can do and I know who is watching," said Zendaya. "Now more than ever specifically with Black Lives Matter and everything, I feel an obligation to make sure that I’m aware and putting out the right things and in line with organizers and people who are on the ground," she continued.


The portfolio of acting credits for Zendaya includes movies such as The Greatest Showman, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far from Home and edgy teen drama series Euphoria by HBO. "It's a persistent problem," said Zendaya, referring to her anxiety of "not wanting to make a mistake." She further stated that being a young Disney actor, that’s one level, being a young Black woman is one level, and then being very hard on myself is another level. It’s also just a personal fear.


When she landed the lead role as troubled Rue Bennett, a struggling opioid addict on Euphoria, Zendaya said that her worries subsided.


"It happens when a certain character comes along , the worries melt away," said Zendaya. "They don't come back until it starts screening, which is when I began to get a little scared again. But now I'm ready to go back because the incentive is to work harder to become a better actress.


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Zendaya acknowledged her own "privilege" in landing the role of Rue as a light-skinned Black woman, a character she said "had no description" at casting. Previously, Zendaya said she auditions for white roles to create space for Black entertainers.


"I’m very grateful, and hopefully I’ll be in a space like these ladies where I can create things and make space for women who look like me and women who don’t look like me," Zendaya said. "That’s the ultimate goal, to make room, (because) for a lot of Black creatives, it’s not a lack of talent but a lack of opportunity."

Anonymous 5 months ago

She's not black