Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Zendaya: Putting it on Loc-Down!!

Zendaya at the 2015 Oscar's

Giuliana Rancic.... whoo, you picked the wrong one to throw dirt on, because baby threw it back, in spades. Apparently, Mrs. Rancic, long-time E! correspondent -- and someone I remember way back when she went only by her first name and then by her full name, Giuliana DePandi -- was trying to keep up with the big kids (looking at you, Kathy Griffin) and make an off-color comment pertaining to singer/actress Zendaya's dreadlock 'do at the recent Oscar's ceremony. The comments were -- and this is not a direct quote -- along the lines of Zendaya looking like she smelled like patchouli oil and weed, which clearly did not sit well with her or with her 4 million plus followers on Twitter, which led to an epic reading. She never mentions Rancic by name, but the use of the very words the Fashion Police co-host let loose during the telecast leave no mystery as to whom the tweet was directed.

Giuliana Rancic at the 2015 Oscar's
Now, of course Giuliana did the mack daddies of all backpedaling, not only apologizing to Zendaya on Twitter, but returning to the scene of the crime (well, the channel and not necessarily the set in which she made the ill-fated mistake) and apologizing again for the remarks she made about Zendaya's loc'ed tresses. Many, including Zendaya, were making the accusation that the comment was not only inflammatory, but down right racist. Keep in mind, my next statement comes with a caveat: What Giuliana Rancic said was stupid as all hell, but I don't think for one second she meant it with any racial connotations.

Dreadlocks have a rich history that go back hundreds of years, with people of all colors donning them. In recent years, the wave of individuals -- usually not black -- wearing dreads has been one of a movement of bohemians smoking weed, often looking like that of a tattered hipster of sort, and living very much "in tune with nature." Does this description sound stupid? That's because it is. Dreadlocks have meant many things to many cultures throughout the years, with the Rastafari movement in more recent times using the style as a form of spiritualism, although the hairstyle is not a requirement among Rastafarians nor is it universally seen as belonging to only them. Rancic was obviously appealing to a type of dreadhead she's used to seeing, either on TV or where she lives, and that is usually the ones who smoke weed and have very hippie-like appearances and mannerisms. I've seen those type, too... but, I've also seen those who regard it as nothing more than a hairstyle.

If anything, this incident demonstrates that Rancic went for the obvious low-hanging fruit and it backfired on her big time as it does with those who are not trained in the comedic art of blurring the line between offensively hilarious and downright out of touch. To make matters worse, her fellow Fashion Police co-host Kelly Osbourne is a friend of Zendaya's, and weighed in with her own opinion, making a not-so-subtle threat to quit the show if the situation was not rectified. Now, kudos to Osbourne for speaking up, but -- and I'm just gonna be blunt -- where the hell were all of that talking during the telecast? Because she sure as hell wasn't piping up then, even though you could tell she was not amused by the joke. 

By no means do I think that she was making the comment as a racial jab, but girl should know better than to think she could take a shot at a black woman's hair and not get flack for it, even if that was not the intention. I would very much prefer we keep words like "racist", "homophobic", and "bigot" reserved for actual racists, homophobes, and bigots. People really need to take a step back and actually evaluate situations and contexts in which words were used, rather than being johnny-come-lately's, pouring gasoline on a bonfire and blowing someone's bad joke into an all out endorsement of the KKK. Zendaya and Giuliana are both grown ass women who handled the situations well, given the circumstances of the latter's remarks. This ain't a race issue, people... stop trying to make it one. 

Okay, I'm done. 

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