Black Girl Supremacy: Zendaya & The Doll that Smelled of Patchouli Oil


This post would be in vain if I didn’t begin by saying that I am beyond proud of Zendaya for all of her accomplishments thus far. Navigating your way throughout a treacherous industry while maintaining a strong sense of self is commendable and very appreciated.

Zendaya has successfully balanced two hit television series, a music career, a clothing line and several other business endeavors.

Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman, known mononymously as Zendaya, is the 19 year old superstar taking the world by storm. Zendaya’s list of accomplishments is endless and her exuberant spirit has resonated through it all.

Recently, Zendaya and Fashion Police host, Giuliana Rancic made headlines when Rancic attacked Zendaya’s Oscar’s fashion by saying that while she admires Zendaya’s fashion sense, she found her long locks to appear “really heavy – it overwhelms her, and it’s just too boho.” She then made peace-sign symbols and went on to say that “Zendaya is more high-fashion. The hair to me on her is making her a little more boho. Like I feel like she smells like patchouli oil. Or weed.” 

What shocked everyone more than Rancic’s comments was Zendaya’s response. Proving to be well-spoken and more than anything, respectful, Zendaya released the following statement:


zendaya_oscarsAfter Rancic “apologized”, Zendaya ended the controversy by saying, “Studies have shown that even though we try to act without prejudice, sometimes it’s just hidden inside us due to our past or surroundings. That hidden prejudice is often influential in our actions. It’s our job to spot these issues within others and ourselves and destroy them before they become hurtful. I have so many people looking up to me, that I couldn’t be scared, wait it out, nor could I just stand up for me; I had to do it for WE.”

Many of the black women Zendaya credited in her initial post, such as Ava DuVernay and Terry McMillian, showed the utmost respect and support for Zendaya during this time. Now, she has a doll.


Barbie, the iconic company that fueled many of our unrealistic standards of beauty during our early adolescent years seems to be revamping their entire collection and thankfully, they chose to start with an amazing young woman. The one-of-a-kind Zendaya doll which is modeled after her Oscar’s appearance, was presented to the young queen at Barbie Rock ‘N Royals Concert at the Hollywood Palladiul in Hollywood, California.


Zendaya expressed her excitement about the beautiful doll and about her hopes for the companies future by saying,

2CCE90FC00000578-0-image-a-59_1443319637496“When I was little, I didn’t have one that looked like me, so I couldn’t connect with her in that way. But getting to visit the Mattel offices and see Barbie’s vision for the future…I was able to see how they plan to diversify, broadening the horizons and the image of Barbie, and make it more, you know, open. I left the office feeling it was definitely something I wanted to be a part of.”





The doll bares a striking resemblance to Miss Coleman unlike many of Barbie’s other celebrity inspired dolls. Times have definitely changed considering the black barbies up until this point were crafted with straight dark hair and packaged with brushes that would unwillingly break under the restraint of any black girl’s 4c kinky curls.



The fact that we have a black doll with locks and braid clamps is an absolute game changer. I believe an interesting thing to see will be if Barbie will decide to mass produce this BarbieIf so, I am curious to see exactly how much she will sell for. Margaret Eby, a writer for Hello Giggles made a post in 2014 about the dramatic price variations on Barbie’s of different colors. A white Barbie would be on sale for a significantly less amount than her black equal.



[ Let me pause to say that Lord have mercy, when I saw the doll, my life changed immediately. I was suddenly hydrated. My skin instantly cleared and I believe that I now have a 4.0 GPA. My hair is healthier and I radiate a natural glow.. Amen. ]


Zendaya and many other women have expressed concern for Barbie dolls that accurately represent women of color. Another blogger by the name of Yanique Chambers wrote an open letter to Walmart saying that she couldn’t find any Black Barbies in their toy department after taking her three-year-old to the store. This shared disappointment experienced by black women and black girls all across the nation is bound to come to a screeching halt with this new wave of conscious black artists and black women that are determined to control the narrative of Black women in America.



Zendaya’s maturity and work ethic is praised time and time again and she gives all the credit to her parent, saying that,“I think it’s all just how I was raised. My parents are both educators and the way they raised me was to always be aware of what’s going on in my business as well as in my personal life.” This also seems to be the reason that Zendaya does not back down and refuses to tolerate disrespect, but fights to maintain a positive environment and safe space for all women of color.

In the words of Future and Drake, What A Time To Be Alive. Earlier this year, Barbie released the Fashionista’s line of 23 dolls, featuring eight skin tones, 18 eye colors, and 23 hair colors. Now, Zendaya is paving the way for a totally new type of doll. I can’t wait to see what all Barbie has in store. Thank God for Zendaya and her radiance and her strength and for breaking even more barriers.


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