Zendaya is not new to the activism scene. Leading the pack with fellow Blacktresses like Yara Shahidi, Zendaya decided she'd challenge Hollywood and their definition of acceptable black girl.
I've experienced the complement "oh but not you, you're not like them" which unfortunately falls into the same category as "you're so pretty what are you mixed with?". These things happen because in some why, whether physical or behavioral you've adapted the standard of behavior or beauty.
Creating the standard was simple how does everything in the world match up in comparison to what we say it acceptable. Straight hair is good so the closer you're hair is to straight the "prettier" it is. Speaking with the eloquence of the "educated" is good and anybody who can't do these things is probably bad. Of course light colored skin is close to white so let's brown paper bag test our beauty and acceptability.
Zendaya sat on a stage at BeautyCon in New York and stood firm in her challenge to Hollywood about being "acceptably Black".
"I am Hollywood's acceptable version of a Black girl and that has to change. We're vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to be the only representation of that." - #Zendaya in conversation with @BadAssBoz at #BeautyconNYC pic.twitter.com/wZaIrJm1Tw— Danielle (@theislandiva) April 22, 2018
She isn't alone in the fight. Amandla Stenberg who autition for the role of Shuri in Marvel's Black Panther decided it wasn't time for her to shine.
“One of the most challenging things for me to do was to walk away from Black Panther, I got really, really close and they were like, ‘Do you want to continue fighting for this?’ And I was like, this isn’t right.”
Stenberg much like Zendaya felt she fit the mold of acceptable Black Girl way to well and it was time to step aside and allow a revolutionary look at black women to take place with this revolutionary film.