Zendaya Calls for Change Following Oscar Diversity Controversy: 'It Just Feels Like a Step Backwards'
Zendaya echoed the sentiments of many in Hollywood after the Academy failed to nominate actors of color
The Disney star echoed the sentiments of many in Hollywood after the controversy erupted, expressing her disappointment in the film industry while inciting a call to action.
“Well, all I can say is there needs to be, I think, recognition for people to do good work, and it shouldn’t matter what color skin you are. Unfortunately, it does,” she recently told PEOPLE at an event celebrating the launch of her Daya By Zendaya shoe collection in Los Angeles, which was planned by celebrity event planner David Tutera and will be featured on an upcoming episode of WE tv’s David Tutera’s CELEBrations. “It just feels like a step backwards.”
Backlash against the Academy has escalated in the weeks following the announcement of the 2016 Oscar nominations, as many stars have spoken out about the complete snub of actors of color. Some industry players have decided to skip the ceremony altogether.
While Zendaya didn’t weigh in on whether she’ll be attending the show, she did make her thoughts on the subject clear.
“We have to create change” she said, adding that she intends to be a voice for the cause. “We have to be a part of that movement. I think as a young African-American person I will definitely be a part of that change.”
The Disney star is no stranger to controversy when it comes to diversity and race. In 2015, she inadvertently became the center of attention after Giuliana Rancic commented on the star’s dreadlocks during an episode of Fashion Police.
After Rancic remarked that the young actress, who had worn her hair in dreadlocks, looked like she smelled like “patchouli” and “weed,” Zendaya swiftly took to Instagram to speak out about negative stereotypes.
“There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful,” she 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.”