Dear Giuliana Rancic: An Open Letter Based On The Ignorant Comments You Made About Zendaya Coleman

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Dear Giuliana Rancic,

I understand that you’ve “apologized” to Zendaya for that disgusting and ignorant comment about her faux locs

(if you haven’t seen it, check it out below)

However, if I may speak for all of the little girls and grown women across the globe with curly, kinky, and even nappy  hair, your apology simply isn’t enough. For centuries, black women and girls have been criticized and made to feel less than because of the length and texture of our hair. Black women are shamed and told that they are not enough because our hair type and texture does not always fit the standard mold of “American” or “Western” beauty (i.e. what your own hair looks like, Mrs. Rancic). Feelings of ugliness and self-hate have plagued not only myself and the women who look like me today, but our ancestors as well. Black women went from having their hair pulled and picked at on the auction block, to being forced by law (in Louisiana) to cover our heads in public, to literally putting lye (a chemical used as an oven cleaner, among other things) in relaxers to straighten our hair, then finally embracing our hair almost three hundred years later in the 1960’s and 70’s during the Black Power era. The African-American hair “struggle” has been documented in film and literature; specifically in Chris Rock’s Good Hair documentary and books like The Shimmershine Queens, we have always had to fight the uphill battle on whether or not our hair is good enough.

Besides the historical context of why you made such an ignorant comment Giuliana, you aren’t just some random chick that E! hired based off of looks and zero credentials. You are a media professional with two degrees in journalism from prestigious universities, so I am unable to fathom that you were not made to take a course on ethics or basic on-air tact. You are not an idiot (at least not in terms of education), so why would you make such an idiotic statement? These are rhetorical questions of course, because I already know the answer. Black people, for longer than I care to mention, have constantly been laughing stocks. So that night on Fashion Police when you insinuated that Zendaya must’ve smelled like “patchouli oil and weed” not only did you insult her natural hair and the natural hair community as a whole, you insulted an entire culture and religion in the Rastafarian movement, all for a laugh. For you to go on E! and deliver that half-assed, excuse filled “apology” was insulting in itself. Not once did you claim responsibility for the hurt and anger that you caused, rather you cast blame on Zendaya and others for “feeling offended” though you had “no intent” to hurt anyone. That is not an apology, Giuliana. It’s almost like saying “ok, I get that you’re mad and I shouldn’t have said it, BUT…” There is no but. That is an excuse; an attempt to justify what you said because “it was only a joke, guys. Why are you all taking it so seriously?” You were wrong. You were wrong and from that statement (I refuse to call it an apology) you don’t understand the magnitude of what you’ve said, only the magnitude of the response from those in the media and on social media. That dragging you received on Twitter was the catalyst that made you get up on television the day after the Fashion Police incident to “apologize”. Because, let’s be honest Giuliana, if Black Twitter hadn’t dragged you by your edges would you really have apologized? Doubt it. You said something that furthers the negative stereotypes about black people’s work ethic, hygiene, and hair. I get that you want to be Joan Rivers pt.2, but… you’re not. You are not a comedian and therefore you should not behave as such. When Joan made racially insensitive comments (those of which were not okay either) she often caught a lot of flack for those comments. As her mentee, why would you think it would be cute and okay for you to make comments of the same nature? Did you not believe that you would catch heat for what you said? Did you believe that you had the “Joan Pass” and that we would overlook your statements? You don’t and we didn’t.

To E! and Ryan Seacrest,

Save yourselves the trouble and let Mrs. Rancic go. Giuliana needs to be let go from her position as host on Fashion Police and her show Giuliana & Bill needs to be cancelled. Her ignorant comments will forever stain the fabric of both Fashion Police and the network as a whole. Her lack of a sincere and genuine apology shows just how little she understands the impact of her comments. Hire someone with tact, class, and an understanding of race relations as opposed to someone who makes excuses for her poor behavior.

To Zendaya,

Thank you for showing that age does not correlate with maturity. Thank you for not insulting Giuliana in retaliation like many of us would have done, but instead getting her together with a classy and impacting statement. I support you and I though that you, that dress, and your hair looked beautiful.

To the women and men of Hollywood who supported Zendaya,

Thank you for taking her into her arms and protecting her from the negativity.

To the people who have similar thought pattern to Giuliana,

Pick up a book, read a blog, or find a YouTube channel for natural hair or black-centric issues and educate yourselves.

– Signed a young black girl who is proud of her culture, history, and hair.

COLLEGECANDY Writer
COLLEGECANDY Writer
Born and raised in the ROC (or Brooklyn, New York) Karen Elleyse is a current junior at Norfolk State University majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies. She enjoys dancing, singing, reading, writing (ofc), and watching cat videos on YouTube. follow me! @kvrn.__
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