Fashion Police Attack Black Hair on Oscars Red Carpet
By Sheryl Estrada
Updated Feb. 28, 2015
Wednesday afternoon viasocial mediaactress Zendaya Coleman responded to the host of E!’s Fashion Police Guiliana Rancic’son-air apologyissued Tuesday.On an episode of the showthat aired Monday,Rancic mocked Coleman’s dreadlocked hairstyle, which she wore to the Academy Awards: “I feel that she smells like patchouli oil or weed,” Rancic said. “Yeah, maybe weed.”
Prior to Rancic’s apology, late Tuesday afternoon Kelly Osbourne, a co-host of the show, gave an ultimatum on Twitter:
Im giving everyone involved 24 hours to make it right or the world will hear how I really feel. contactually Im not allowed to speak!
Kelly Osbourne (@KellyOsbourne) February 24, 2015
A tweet typed in haste followed:
I DID NOT MAKE THE WEED COMENT. I DO NOT CONDONE RACISM SO AS A RSULT OF THIS IM SEREIOULSY QUESTIONONIG STAYING ON THE SHOW! Kelly Osbourne (@KellyOsbourne) February 24, 2015
It was announced Feb. 27 that Osbourne decided to leave her position at Fashion Police“to pursue other opportunities.”
Our original post continues:
Actress Zendaya Coleman’s dreadlocks are making headlines after Guiliana Rancic, a host of E!’s Fashion Police, made a snarky, stereotypical and offensive comment about the 18-year-old Disney Channel star’s hairstyle.
During Fashion Police‘s annual debrief on the designer clothes, jewels and hairstyles of celebrities attending the Academy Awards, Rancic critiqued Coleman’s appearance thusly:”I feel that she smells like patchouli oil … or weed,” Rancic said. “Yeah, maybe weed.”
Matted coils of hair are an ancient African hairstyle historically worn by various cultures for religious purposes, including in Hinduism. The Rastafari movement is a religion, which originated in Jamaica in the 1930s. Its followers did coin the term “dreadlocks” for the hairstyle as it is incorporated into their belief system.
However, stereotypically the hairstyle is only associated with Rastas, who also practice spiritual use of cannabis, or “weed.”Western pop culture has equated the hairstyle with “smoking weed,” making light of the beliefs associated with it.
In terms of nonreligious purposes, some choose to wear dreadlocks as a statement of counterculture; some, simply for style.
Coleman took to social media to express her displeasure at Rancic’s comments:
“There’s a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful,” she wrote on Twitter. “Someone has said something about my hair at the Oscars that has left me in awe. To say that an 18-year-old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or ‘weed’ is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive.”
She included the names of famous Black women who chose to wear dreadlocks, including Ava DuVernay, director of Selma; Ledisi, a Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and actress; and bestselling author Terry McMillian. “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,” Coleman wrote.
Rancic also took to social media to apologize for her statement, saying it wasn’t race related.
Some Twitter users pointed out that previously Rancic commented on Kylie Jenner’s wearing dreadlocks:
when Kylie Jenner got dreads they were “edgy” and “urban”. Yet when Zendaya got them, they smell like “weed & oil”. THIS IS WHY WE GET MAD. aquatic mistress (@momodamermaid) February 24, 2015
Love how when Kylie Jenner has dreads it’s an “edgy trend” but when Zendaya or any black person does they’re subject to the harshest racism. Halle (@killersass) February 24, 2015
Black women’s choice of natural hairstyles seems to continually provoke criticism in mainstream culture. In January, a QVC host made light of a Black model’s natural hair during a live segment.