The actress surrounded herself with a team of Black creatives for the InStyle photoshoot, including longtime stylist Law Roach and photography duo Ahmad Barber and Donté Maurice

By Hanna Flanagan
Updated August 07, 2020 01:34 PM
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Zendaya
PHOTO BY AB+DM

InStyle released its September 2020 issue on Thursday, which stars Zendaya on the cover and highlights the work of other Black creatives throughout the spread, including the 24-year-old's longtime stylist Law Roach and photography duo Ahmad Barber and Donté Maurice.

Inside the issue (available Aug. 21), the actress and activist spoke to Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors about everything from her upcoming films and coping with anxiety, to racial injustice and why she chose to work with an all-Black team for her latest fashion magazine cover.

"I've always had a Black stylist and Black hair and makeup artists. But we were able to work with two talented young Black photographers on this shoot too," Zendaya told Cullors. "We're actually around the same age, so it was cool to be with my peers and have an opportunity to show what we can do."

Law Roach made an artistic statement by dressing the Euphoria actress in exclusively Black designers like Jason Rembert, Christopher John Rogers, Cushnie, Pyer Moss and more.

On the newsstands cover, Zendaya wears a satin dress from Rembert's fall 2020 Aliétte collection paired with earrings from Mateo New York. On the subscriber cover (below), the actress strikes a pose in a color-block pleated dress by Hanifa and Tori Soudan boots.

PHOTO BY AB+DM

The Disney Channel alum said she hopes InStyle readers will feel compelled to support them after seeing the sleek satins, oversized suits, bold prints and cut out dresses featured in the shoot. 

“There are also so many Black designers people don't know about, so having an opportunity where they can be in InStyle and get the love they deserve is really special," she explained. "I hope people are like, "Oh, I like that dress!" And then go support them."

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The actress — who recently let Cullors take over her Instagram account to share information about systematic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement —  also opened up about being an activist and why she's "always hesitated to call" herself one.

"I have always hesitated to use the word "activist" for myself. That is a lifestyle. That is a choice every day to be doing the work and devoting your life to a cause. And I don't feel I am deserving of the title," she said. "There are a lot of words that better describe what I do. I'm an actress, but I'm also just a person who has a heart and wants to do the right thing. I care about human beings, so this time is very hard to talk about. It's painful."

So, what helps the star stay positive right now? The change her generation is initiating.

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"For me, it's important not to entirely give up hope and faith in humanity. A lot of young people feel like the system has never worked for them, so why should they even bother? If there is anything positive that has come out of this time, it's that I feel a little bit of hope too. There are changes happening," she said. "I'm so inspired by my peers and their commitment."

Zendaya continued: "My niece is going into high school, and when I see her Instagram posts and the things she's talking about, it's really special. She is only 15, and we can have a dialogue about what's happening. So clearly there is hope in the youth. That makes me want to keep going. And more than anything, I just want to tell people that your voice does matter. The little things do matter. And continue to use your emotions. They are sometimes considered a weakness, but in this time they are very powerful."

The September issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download August 21.