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Her red-carpet hairstyle turned heads, but one fashion cop didn't get it. Here's where she's wrong.

From locs to braids to twists and 'fros, I love natural hair in all its forms. So when I saw actress Zendaya Coleman rocking loc extensions at the 2015 Academy Awards, I was ecstatic. But it wasn't until after the awards show that I had to shake my head.

Her red-carpet hairstyle turned heads, but one fashion cop didn't get it. Here's where she's wrong.

Here's how Zendaya usually wears her hair:

But like most teenagers, the 18-year-old actress has been known to switch up her look every now and then.


Zendaya debuted her gorgeous faux locs hairstyle at the 2015 Academy Awards.

Full disclosure: I've had locs (sometimes referred to as dreadlocks) for over 10 years, so I instantly loved everything about Zendaya's look. So I'm somewhat biased, but I couldn't help but love Zendaya's explanation for wanting to rock locs on the red carpet.


So imagine Zendaya's surprise when Giuliana Rancic of E!'s "Fashion Police" had this to say:


"I feel like she smells like patchouli oil ... or weed." — Giuliana Rancic

Now just to be clear, Giuliana made these comments the day after the Oscars during her "Fashion Police" segment on E! She didn't actually *smell* Zendaya, she just assumed she must smell like patchouli or weed because of her loc'd hairstyle. And while there's nothing wrong with liking the smell of patchouli or smoking weed (if that's your thing), patchouli is often associated with uncleanliness because its pungent smell is sometimes used to mask body odor. Given that, it's easy to understand why Zendaya didn't take so kindly to such comments.

That's when Zendaya went on Twitter to respond to Giuliana's hurtful and ignorant comments.


"There is already harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. 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. To me locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion's mane." — Zendaya Coleman

Whew! Say it, Zendaya!

Then Guiliana offered an apology on her Twitter.

So what's the big deal? Well, despite Giuliana's intentions, we can't ignore the very complicated politics surrounding black hair.

Throughout history, black women have been told that their natural hair is unprofessional, dirty, and even distracting. And that doesn't even begin to touch on the misconceptions surrounding locs. Many assume loc'd hair is dirty and cannot be washed or that people who wear locs are drug users. In recent years we've seen companies and schools institute regulations banning natural hairstyles, including the U.S. military. One Oklahoma school even sent home an elementary school student for wearing locs, resulting in the student unenrolling from the school.

It's also worth noting that hairstyles, fashion trends, and even body shapes that are normally associated with blackness (like locs, braids, full lips, and even shapely behinds) are often dismissed as ugly, "ghetto," trashy, or a whole host of other negative insults. But when those same attributes are co-opted by white people, they're suddenly "edgy" and fashionable. This is cultural appropriation at its finest.

For example, when R&B singer Ciara debuted her faux locs shortly before her wedding day, People magazine initially wondered if she'd keep them since they might not work with a "very elegant affair."


(The original People post was later updated after audience feedback.)

Meanwhile, when reality TV star Kylie Jenner debuted her "dreadlocks" on Instagram, Cosmo magazine labeled them "edgy."

While I don't doubt Giuliana didn't mean for her words to be harmful, it's important to understand that there is a long and painful history associated with criticizing black skin, hair, and bodies that continues to this very day. That on top of appropriation that deems blackness "cool" when it's on white bodies and associates those same things with "ghetto" — or in this case, drug usage — it's hard to ignore the racial undertones. As much as it pains me that this conversation had to happen, I hope Giuliana can learn from her mistake and Zendaya's words can inspire other women to love and embrace their natural hair and natural beauty.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less