Zendaya is no stranger to speaking her mind, so we weren’t surprised when she opened up and spoke candidly about race and cultural appropriation in her new interview with Hunger Magazine.
Recently named one of TIME Magazine’s Most Influential Teenagers, Zendaya reminded us all why she’s such a role model when talking about cultural appropriation.
“I don’t like speaking about things that I don’t know about,” she said. “But cultural appropriation is something that I can understand, and something that I can appreciate people being concerned about. You witness it all the time, and for me at least, being someone who’s very proud of where I’m from, I think it’s important to be vocal.”
Being know as a young star that never hesitates to speak up for herself, Zendaya says that confidence comes from knowing exactly who she is.
“Obviously, both my parents are American, and were born in America, but America is such a melting pot—everyone’s from everywhere,” she said.
“The only people who are native are Native Americans! So everyone’s an immigrant in a sense. My mum has roots in Germany and Ireland, and my dad is African-American. There’s a big disconnect with African-American people, because we’re not able to trace our roots as far back, so I think it was really important to my father to take the time to find out where he really comes from. I have that pride in knowing that I’m an African-American. I think when you develop pride in where you’re from then you have more respect and understanding in terms of where other people are from also.”
The star also worked her fashion chops for the magazine, rocking designers like Vivienne Westwood in a video set to her new Timbaland-produced song, “Close Up.” Check it out below.