Zendaya accepts Giuliana Rancic’s apology in dreadlocks debacle

Actress Zendaya, who usually sports a pixie cut, sported dreadlocks at the Academy Awards on Sunday.
Actress Zendaya, who usually sports a pixie cut, sported dreadlocks at the Academy Awards on Sunday.
(Christopher Polk / Getty Images)

Zendaya Coleman has accepted Giuliana Rancic’s apology for remarks over the “locs” hairstyle she wore on the Oscars red carpet, invoking the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a statement talking about “hidden prejudice” and explaining why she stood up against the “Fashion Police” barb.

“Studies have shown that even though we try to act without prejudice, sometimes it’s just hidden inside us due to our past or surroundings,” the actress said in a statement posted on social media. “That hidden prejudice is often influential in our actions.

“It’s our job to spot these issues within others and ourselves and destroy them before they become hurtful,” she said.

On the post-Oscars “Fashion Police” broadcast Monday, Rancic had commented that the 18-year-old’s dreadlocks made he “feel like she smells like patchouli oil or weed. Maybe weed.”


Soon after, Zendaya posted a statement calling the comment “ignorant” and “disrespectful” and listed a number of successful African Americans who wear locs.

Rancic apologized quickly via Twitter, saying she intended no harm, then followed up with a lengthy on-air apology Tuesday in which she said that even though she didn’t intend to hurt or offend anyone, " I’ve learned it is not my intent that matters, it’s the result. And the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya, and that is not OK.”

The red carpet host said she was “so, so sincerely sorry” and called the incident a “learning experience.”

Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and Khloe Kardashian were among the celebs who publicly declared support for the “Shake It Up!” actress.


Zendaya took time in her Tuesday statement to explain why she’d taken a stand at all.

“I have so many people looking up to me, that I couldn’t be scared, wait it out, nor could I just stand up for me; I had to do it for WE,” wrote the Disney star. “It is important in this journey to remember that just because someone has inflicted hurt upon us, it does not give us the right to do the same. Body shaming and other hurtful tactics will never get the job done.

“As hard as it was to stop MYSELF from being ignorant and posting the first mean words that came to mind because I was hurt, I had to think about the bigger picture. Instead I sat for two hours on my phone, doing my research and formulating an educated response.”

The “K.C. Undercover” star then addressed Rancic directly, after taking umbrage indirectly on Monday.


“I appreciate your apology and I’m glad that it was a learning experience for you and for the network. I hope that others negatively affected by her words can also find it in their hearts to accept her apology as well.”

Zendaya then splashed a bit of history onto the dreadlocks flap.

“From a quote we all know by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’ Let’s be that light and spread that love.”

What remains to be seen: Whether Kelly Osbourne, who’s good friends with Zendaya, is still questioning whether to remain on the “Fashion Police” panel.


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