Zendaya Calls Out Disney For A Lack Of Diversity

The actress opened up to friend Yara Shahidi about the importance of their own visibility

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At the tender age of 21 Zendaya has firmly established herself as a force to be reckoned with.

Not afraid to call-out everything from gun violence to photoshopping, the all-singing, all-dancing actress is focussed on using her platform for good.

She spoke about the importance of her own visibility for Glamour with Yara Shahidi, another bright, young thing that is changing the face of television.

Zendaya and Yara Shahidi
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About four years apart, the young women have been friends since 2015, after Shahidi's show Black-ish had enjoyed it's first season.

Zendaya apparently approached the then 15 year-old and said, 'Man, I really appreciate the work that you're doing.'

As two, young, black girls, who grew up with a distinct lack of role models looking like them in the media, they both understand the importance of representation, not that they intend 'to be the only versions of 'blackness' in the world of entertainment.'

Zendaya

Zendaya rose to fame on the Disney Channel and had success with her own show, K.C. Undercover.

In Glamour, she reveals that she had a big hand in making sure her show featured a black family. She told Yara:

I didn't feel like there was any other choice. I was like, 'If I'm going to do this, this is how it has to be.' There needs to be a black family on the Disney Channel. A lot of people who aren't people of colour can't quite understand what it's like to grow up and not see yourself in mainstream media.

Zendaya also acknowledges her own privileges, namely, that she has lighter skin:

And you know, there is so much work left to be done. I've talked about this before, but can I honestly say I would be in the position I'm in if I weren't a lighter-skinned black woman? No.

Zendaya

Not content with simply pushing down barriers of race, Zendaya also explains about her clothing line's lack of gender categorisation, saying:

I was lucky to have parents who let me wear what I wanted to wear and let me shop where I wanted to shop. Nine times out of 10 I was shopping in the boys section. I wore cargo shorts and hoodies. That was my uniform. And it's different being a girl. We can wear guys' clothes, but the second a guy wears girls' clothes, it's like—

We love to see these young celebrities taking their visibility so seriously. More of this please.

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