Zendaya Opens Up About The Giuliana Rancic Dreadlock Debacle

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Remember earlier this year when Giuliana Rancic said that Zendaya's dreadlocks "must smell of patchouli oil or weed" on Fashion Police?

If you don't, you're in the minority. Rancic has been fielding fallout over the incident ever since. Zendaya, on the other hand, has used the comment as an opportunity to call out — and combat — casual racism as part of an ongoing, constructive conversation that's lasted pretty much the entirety of 2015.

"It was a learning experience for myself and for everyone who read it,” the rising star recently told Complex. She went on to say that Rancic's "joke" wasn't just culturally insensitive to Black women; it was an affront to women across ethnic lines.

"A lot of people don’t realize that hair is a big thing for a lot of people, not just African-American women. It’s something to be aware of and to be cautious of," Zendaya explained. "There were so many women, of all races, that came up to me and were like, 'I really love what you said,' or 'I had my daughter read that.'"

The 19-year-old actress also added that she felt like she needed to address the negative stereotyping on behalf of her own family. "All my brothers and my dad at one point had dreadlocks. My little nieces have curly hair," she went on. "And if they were to have someone say something demeaning about what they have and what they hold dear to them, then I would want them to at least have the pride within themselves to come up with a response that made sense and that they were proud of."

Zendaya certainly accomplished that — and then some.

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