Young Role Models That Represent #BlackGirlMagic Part I: Zendaya Coleman
[Image: Queen by Frank Morrison]
We've all heard or have seen the hashtag #BlackGirMagic on social media under a bomb selfie or under a picture of a black girl's latest accomplishment. Hell, I've even used the hashtag especially on Tumblr where every first Friday of the month we, as in black people, celebrate #Blackout (a holiday made to put our beauty on notice, something that mainstream America tends to forget.)
So what exactly is 'black girl magic' you ask. Lindsey E. at Single Black Female Project defines it as 'a term black girls everywhere have adopted to describe that indescribable characteristic about us. It's what we exude. It's our Je Ne Sais Quoi. That sprinkle of magic that embodies our sassiness, our sharpness, our talent, wit, beauty, style, skill and the list goes on. It points the finger to our mystic and one-of-a-kind creation that every black girl is born with. #Blackgirlmagic puts a stamp and spotlight on our works our interests and our accomplishments.' Preach!
How many of you are tired of turning on the television or browsing the Internet and seeing our black girls being protrayed in a negative light? From fights on YouTube to our sisters being slaughtered by policemen just like our brothers but getting ZERO news coverage are becoming too common of an issue. Lastly, how many of you are sick and tired of seeing our culture and features (lips, noses, hairstyles, butts) serve as a costumes for others?
Well, for those of us that were fortunate enough to grow up in the 70s, 80s and 90s, we had natural beauties and an abundance of women that loved themselves in the limelight for us to idolize. Unfortunately, our young girls lack a great amount of role models BUT there are a few out there killing the game flawlessly. I wanted to acknowledge these care free young girls that are 18 and under but are girls that we can ALL admire.
Zendaya Coleman, 18
We were first introduced to this beauty back in 2009 when she played 'Rocky Blue' on Disney Channel's original series Shake It Up!. Zendaya is an actress, singer, model, and dancer who is slaying the red carpet and attending high school at the same time. Recently, she slayed the MET Gala red carpet and received her high school diploma all within the same week. She's been the youngest person on ABC's Dancing With the Stars, did print ads for Macys, Old Navy and Sears, wrote a book back in 2013, has a clothing line of activewear for young girls AND had her debut album reach 51 on Billboard 200. Many older people heard about Zendaya when she was first given the role as 'Aaliyah' in the Aaliyah: Princess of R&B biopic which she eventually dropped out of and the role was given to actress Alexandra Shipp. Many thought she dropped out because she received a widespread of hurtful criticism but Zendaya cleared the air with this quote from a series of Instagram videos:
"Let me just explain something...the reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or people telling me that I couldn't do it, I wasn't talented enough, or I wasn't black enough. It had absolutely nothing to do with that. The main reasons were the production value wasn't there, there were complications with the music rights, and I just felt like it wasn't being handled delicately considering the situation. I tried my best to reach out to the family on my own and I wrote a letter, but, I was unable to do so. Therefore, I felt not really morally okay with moving forward with the project."
This wasn't Zendaya's first time overcoming public controversy. Back in Feburary, Zendaya took a new fashion risk (as she always does) and decided to wear dreadlocks to the 2015 Oscars.
The next day on E!'s Fashion Police, correspondent Giuliana Rancic made a disrespectful comment saying that Zendaya must've smelled of "patchouli oil" and "weed" due to her wearing the dreads. This threw social media into a frenzy especially those that were fed up with the negative stereotypes main stream America connects to the black culture. Instead of getting out of line or bashing Giuliana and E!, Zendaya was very mature about the situation and posted this on her social media accounts.
Zendaya has moved on from the controversy and is now starring and serves as executive producer for Disney original series, K.C. Undercover and is working on her new album with producer Timbaland.
You keep slaying and letting that #BlackGirlMagic shine through, Zendaya. We support you 100%.
*I originally wanted to put them all in one post but their accomplishments are so grand that they all deserve their own posts. Up next: Amandla Stenberg.