Miss Zendaya Maree Stromer, better know as Zendaya, is a household name for anyone living with young teens, twenty- something girl’s and, I myself am thirty-four and even I follow her!  Zendaya is most recognizable from Disney’s 2009 show Shake It Up when she portrayed the character Rocky Blue, a recording artist and also,  an increasingly familiar face that’s synonymous with young girl’s and, the Disney brand alike. If you’re aware of trending news you will  also recall Zendaya from media controversy about her biracial black and white mixed identity.

Zendaya was selected to portray the late Aaliyah in a Lifetime move but, eventually backed away after some in the black community verbally ripped her to shred’s for not looking black enough to portray Aaliyah.  Zendaya’s also been called out for her bold non-Hollywood conforming style choices and, the gorgeous dread locked hair she wore to the 2015 Oscar’s, when Giuliana Rancic of E! News called her out for wearing the ethnic style.

Zendaya at the 87th Annual Academy Awards. Photo Credit: Jennifer Graylock

Zendaya at the 87th Annual Academy Awards. Photo Credit: Jennifer Graylock

Recently the classy young actress made headlines by becoming CoverGirl’s® newest and freshest face.   The choice has quickly received some harsh criticism from a few dis-satisfied black women, who feel the popular makeup brand has photo enhanced Zendaya’s skin to appear lighter than it is.  Some of the comment’s on the Facebook reveal ridiculous, redundant and, a frankly some ignorant comments.  Zendaya has a black father, a white mother.  She is naturally light-skinned.  Some people are up in arms, whining because they swear that CoverGirl® has purposely whitewashed Zendaya’s photos.  Bright camera lights notwithstanding, I think folks are digging a little to deep on this one and, to say she looks white is quite a stretch.  When comparing other photo’s of her there’s clearly no difference that is worth mentioning.  I as anyone would love to see more dark skinned CoverGirls® and in general more models, actresses, writers, directors and producers.  But I won’t disparage Zendaya for the lack of black faces in print magazines or on television.  How is this her problem of her fault?

Zendaya covergirl 1

When I first saw Zendaya’s new ad I was  delighted and thought what an adorable choice for the CoverGirl® brand. White washing never even crossed my mind especially since I know she is of biracial heritage. I think girls of all skin shades can relate to Zendaya’s bubbly personality, intelligence, wit and talent but, some are still complaining.  Zendaya just can’t catch a break.  Many comments lament that CoverGirl® needs to start ad campaigns that have a positive influence on young black girl’s.  Some of the comments repeat that CoverGirl®  chose the lightest black girl they could find.  Still, other’s are upset because they feel Zendaya is not dark enough to positively impact black girls.  In my mind, she has always stood out from fellow her fellow Disney and other Hollywood co-stars. Zendaya has been a great example to young black and multiracial girls by embracing her black culture, remaining wholesome and, being open about who she is as a mixed race young woman.

Although CoverGirl® is a non-ethnic cosmetic company,  they came out with lines for ethnic women with darker skin tones.  They have darker skinned models.  And many black celebrity Cover Girls include beauties like Janelle Monae, Queen Latifah, Tyra Banks and Brandy so I will not be jumping on the “victimized black woman media induced racism  bandwagon” for this one.  I just  don’t have the time!  I will not discredit our rich history and wrongs done to black women (after all I am one of them) but I’d rather save my energy for more pressing matters.  We have a long way to go for black women to be more empowered, but I can’t with the silly pick me! pick me foolishness.

Also, I think it’s nice for biracial girls to see themselves represented as well under the diversity umbrella. CoverGirl®  is not responsible for raising the esteem of our young black girls.  That is our job as mothers and mentors.  With all the progressive efforts and resources Proctor and Gamble (parent company of CoverGirl®) has dedicated to diversity within the company and ethnic communities; there is always going to be someone or some group that will feel left out or that not enough is being done.  We as individuals and the black population in general are responsible for teaching our own community how important we are.  We need to teach our young women and girls to know their worth.  We simply must stop pointing fingers at the mass media and, do our own empowering as no one else will do it for us.

I wish all our young girls of African descent nothing but the best in life one positive example at a time.  Lord only knows we have enough stacked against us and this type of trivial matter is the last thing they need to buy into or spend energy on when there are bigger fish to fry!  Zendaya is a very busy girl, she shakes off the negativity, hate and fault finding and keeps it moving.  I congratulate her success!

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