Giuliana Rancic has been labelled a “racist” this weekend after making negative comments about actress Zendaya’s hair choices at the Academy Awards.
Zendaya wore dreadlocks that onlookers such as Scandal’s Kerry Washington called “Well done [and] Beautiful.” Critiquing the same look on Fashion Police, Giuliana said: “She has just such a tiny frame that this hair, to me, overwhelms her. I feel like she smells like patchouli oil. Or weed! Yeah, maybe weed?” Specifically referring to Zendaya’s hair.
Zendaya responded to the comments on Twitter with a long explanation of why she felt it was offensive.
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.
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. I’ll have you know my father, brother, best childhood friend and little cousins all have locs.
Do you want to know what Ava DuVernay (director of the Oscar nominated film Selma), Ledisi (9 time Grammy nominated singer/songwriter and actress), Terry McMillan (author), Vincent Brown (Professor African and African American studies at Harvard University, and an MA and PhD from Yale University) as well as many other men [women] and children of all races have in common?
None of which smell like [marijuana]. There is already 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. 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.
To me locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion’s mane. I suggest some people listen to India Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair” and contemplate a little before opening your mouth so quickly to judge. [via Twitter]
Here’s the music video she’s talking about. It’s about comments aimed at women of colour over their hair choices.
After being called out by Zendaya and being called a racist by fans and the media, Giuliana issued a statement. The host tweeted “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!!!”
Some fans have called BS because Zendaya’s white Vivienne Westwood gown and her hair weren’t really “bohemian”. And there’s an obvious racial slant to the earlier comment.
Fashion Police co-host Kelly Osbourne has refused to issue further comment as she’s close to both women. Kelly tweeted “I WILL NOT BE DRAGED INTO THIS! The situation is being rectified like ADULTS by both parties. I hope you can leave it to them & do the same!” Adding, “you guys do realize that @Zendaya is my friend right?”
UPDATE: As fans on Twitter note, Giuliana’s comments were particularly problematic because of how E! treats White versus non-White stars with dreadlocks.
Gaga wore dreads. edgy and cool. Kylie wore dreads. edgy and cool. Zendaya pays tribute to someone, she smells like weed.
— skittles. (@chasemylovex) February 24, 2015
when Kylie Jenner got dreads they were "edgy" and "urban". Yet when Zendaya got them, they smell like "weed & oil". THIS IS WHY WE GET MAD.
— aquatic mistress (@momodamermaid) February 24, 2015