Zendaya is doing what she does best: Staying woke.
The Disney Channel star jetted off to Rio de Janeiro to pose for our August issue—our second annual global issue—but the real magic comes through in her cover story. Though she’s only 19, Zendaya has made it her mission to use her voice to speak out against any and all racial injustices.
“When I talk to people about [standing up for myself], it’s not new,” she said. “It’s not something I just started doing. I Just did it in public, and more people saw it than usual.”
And see it they did. The K.C. Undercover star made headlines (and earned the applause of Black women everywhere) when she came up with a perfectly eloquent response to E! Fashion Police host Guiliana Rancic, who said that her 2015 Oscars locs looks like they smelled like “patchouli…or weed.”
And just last night, Zendaya posted a photo on Instagram honoring the lives of our slain brothers and sisters.
“#EricGarner #SandraBland #OscarGrant #AltonSterling #WalterScott #PhilandoCastile,” she wrote. “To think…that’s not even the beginning of it, these are just the few we got on video….makes me sick.”
So where did this willingness to speak her mind come from? Zendaya credits her parents, who both taught in the Oakland school district and made it a point to teach her respectability politics.
“With her being my daughter, I want her to feel like he’s empowered by having an opinion on life,” her father, Kazembe Ajamu, said. “I don’t want her or any of my children to feel like they have to be a part of the status quo and go along with the tide.”
For more from Zendaya, pick up a copy of our August issue, on newsstands tomorrow!