Disney star Zendaya attended red carpet ceremonies prior to Sunday’s 87th Academy Awards, sporting dreadlocks with her white dress. She was later ridiculed by E! Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic, who didn’t seem too fond of the style.
“I feel that she smells like patchouli oil… or weed,” said Rancic during Monday’s episode.
While Rancic may not have intended the comments to be taken in a racial context, that’s exactly how Zendaya received them.
Zendaya fired back at Rancic’s “ignorant racial slurs” on her Instagram page shortly after, in a lengthy statement, which partially reads: “To say that an 18 year old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or ‘weed’ is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive.”
She then listed several African-American celebrities who also wear dreadlocks. “None of which smell like weed,” argued Zendaya.
“There is already a harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair,” she continued. “My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough.”
Rancic has since issued an apology to Zendaya on Twitter, where she also explained that her remarks were not racially motivated.
“I’m sorry I offended you and others. I was referring to a bohemian chic look. Had NOTHING to do with race and NEVER would!!!” Rancic tweeted.