Zendaya realizes she has benefited from colorism in Hollywood. In a new interview, the “K.C. Undercover” star gets real about her role in the industry and says she carries the torch for fellow actors who face restrictions because of their darker skin.
“I feel a responsibility to be a voice for the beautiful shades my people come in,” she told Cosmopolitan.” Unfortunately, I have a bit of a privilege compared to my darker sisters and brothers.”
The singer-actress acknowledges her light skin privilege means it would not be fair to claim she’s struggled in her career because of her complexion.
“Like, people question, ‘Would you listen to Zendaya if she wasn’t the same skin color?’ And that’s an honest question,” she said. “Can I honestly say that I’ve had to face the same racism and struggles as a woman with darker skin? No, I cannot. I have not walked in her shoes and that is unfair of me to say.”
“But I’m completely behind that woman,” she continues. “I want to be a part of the movement and growth. And if I get put in a position because of the color of my skin where people will listen to me, then I should use that privilege the right way.”
While Zendaya embraces the benefits of having fair skin, “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams has denounced his privilege.
In an interview with The Guardian last year, the newest recipient of the BET Humanitarian Award said he does not get involved with deeming someone attractive based on white beauty ideals.
“To some people, I might be a celebrity because I’m physically attractive,” he remarked. “We are programmed to believe that someone is attractive because they told you that blue eyes are hot. I am not going to participate in that s—,” he says. “I aim to do what I can with what I have. And I have my [looks] – you know, European beauty standards give me access to things.”