Commentary: I dread those bad stereotypes

lindsay carey (web)

Its award show season, so every other weekend I find myself hunkering down to watch the red carpet footage of the events—because I’m just that kind of girl I guess.

I only care to actually watch a handful of the award shows, because let’s be honest, they’re predictable and in my opinion, fixed so that certain people win.

My interests really are the gowns, the makeup, and the musical performances, which I usually watch on YouTube the following day. I like watching the red carpet, and until recently I was a big Fashion Police fan.

With Joan Rivers recent passing, the show has finally returned with some new cast members. I watched the new show, but quite frankly wasn’t as drawn to it since Joan is gone. I liked the old cast.

However, this week I found that the two original cast members Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne, who I was fans of, made some offensive comments about actress and singer Zendaya’s hair.

Zendaya opted for a hairstyle known as “faux locs,” which is essentially a temporary form of dread locks.

The eighteen year old starlet sported a beautiful white off-the-shoulder dress and natural looking makeup. In my opinion, she looked flawless, and I was pleased to see someone so young boldly embrace dreadlocks on the red carpet.

Two summers ago, I sported the faux dreadlocks in a similar fashion and received only compliments during the time I kept them in. I received compliments from people of all different races and backgrounds and they all asked me how I got my hair to be so long and healthy. When they found out they were fake, they were shocked.

So when I saw the footage of Giuliana Rancic making fun of Zendaya’s look, I took personal offense to it.

Giuliana said that Zendaya looked like she smelled like “patchouli oil,” and Kelly Osbourne jumped in to add “or weed.”

I understand that Fashion Police is a show where celebrities are brutally judged on their appearance; however, I never expected it them to use such an insensitive stereotype.

Imagine how someone with real dreadlocks must feel hearing this?

Dreadlocks in both West Indian and African American cultures is a respected hairstyle, because historically it comes from a place of religious belief, but also just embracing our naturally thick and course texture of hair for what it is and not what society wants it to be.

Zendaya noted in her response to the critcism that locs are culturally recognized as a symbol of strength and beauty.

I am so disappointed by these comments, because I am proud of my own natural hair and respect other’s decisions to dread their hair. I’m also disappointed because they chose to pick on dreadlocks that were, by anyone’s standards, very neat and chose to attack a young woman who dressed elegantly.

Over the years, I have witnessed members of Fashion Police praise ugly or promiscuous outfits as well as Kelly Osborne’s ridiculous purple hair. Yet, Zendaya dressed like a class act with a hairstyle respected by many and became the butt of a cruel joke.

Zendaya responded to these comments via social media with as much poise as she graced the red carpet.

She noted that she has family members, as do I, who have dreadlocks. Zendaya also provided a long list of successful individuals who have dreadlocks and do not fit the stereotype that Giuliana Rancic used on the show.

I mean for Pete’s sake, Whoopi Goldberg is on one of daytime TV’s biggest shows and won an Oscar herself and has been wearing dreadlocks for years! Anyway, I digress.

Rancic did post an apology to Zendaya on Twitter, which I hope is sincere, I will no longer be watching a show with co-hosts who make ignorant comments and feed into stereotypes that should no longer exist in America today, but sadly do.

We all should strive to be sensitive and respectful the cultural traditions and practices of others.

If you have not seen the pictures of Zendaya at the Oscars, please Google them. Her look was absolutely stunning and did not deserve the harsh criticism it received. For now, I’ll leave you with an important quote from Zendaya’s detailed response.

“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,” said Zendaya’s post. “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.”

Lindsay Carey is a staff writer for The Southington Observer.

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