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Zendaya urges journalists: 'Get to know black people'

Zendaya urges journalists: 'Get to know black people'

Actress/Singer Zendaya has urged media professionals to address diversity issues with more knowledge.

The 19-year-old was at the centre of a feud with TV's Fashion Police co-host Giuliana Rancic last year (15), after she poked fun at Zendaya's dreadlocked look on the red carpet of the 2015 Oscars, suggesting the teen probably smelled like "patchouli... maybe weed".

Rancic later apologised for making the ill-advised remark.

A year on and Zendaya is still disturbed by the depiction of black culture in mainstream media, and she's upset ancient African hairstyles, like cornrows and dreadlocks, are often presented as some type of new fad.

"Black women have been wearing braids for a very long time, and that's another part of the frustration," she tells POPSUGAR. "We've been using that as a protective style, as a hairstyle. That's been in our culture and our community for a very long time. So it's not this new, fresh, fun thing.

"It became new and fresh and fun, because it was on someone else other than a black woman. So that is the frustration. That's where the culture appropriation element comes into play."

Turning on the fashion journalists who love to suggest African styles are 'all the rage' or 'out of date', Zendaya blasts, "Talk to women of colour and hear their personal experiences. Get to know the background, understand why people are offended by it (what they write), and (learn) how we can be more sensitive of other people's cultures - how we can enlighten ourselves.

"Use it for good other than just something to click on (while surfing on the internet). Because you click on it and then you read about how people are upset, but you don't know why. You don't learn anything, and you just feel like people are upset for no reason."

- Cover Media