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Zendaya Coleman and Giuliana Rancic’s Dispute Wake Claims of Cultural Appropriation

The entertaining days of Fashion Police may be long behind us. When the show returned to E! Network on Jan. 12 for its 5th season after Joan Rivers passed away, Kathy Griffin stepped in to take her place as host. Stylist George Kotsiopoulos also left the show and was replaced by Brad Goreski. Now yet another original is leaving Fashion Police.

Kelly Osbourne called it quits on Friday after remarks made by co-panelist Giuliana Rancic while discussing Zendaya Coleman’s red carpet look at the 2015 Oscars. Those who follow Coleman’s style know that the actress and singer is known to take fashion risks. But like any true trendsetter, she always pulls off her looks so well—she even looked like a goddess at the Oscars. The show, however, is known for its hurtful comments and brutally honest fashion critiques but Rancic may have pushed the boundaries too far.

“I feel like she would smell like patchouli oil or weed,” said Rancic about Coleman’s red carpet hairstyle, which she chose to wear in dreadlocks.

Unlike other celebrities however, Coleman didn’t stay quite about these critiques. She took to her Twitter and released a statement about Rancic’s offensive stereotypical remark and she did it very eloquently.

“There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful, “ Coleman said, “I was hit with ignorant slurs and pure disrespect… I don’t usually feel the need to respond to negative things but certain remarks cannot go unchecked. 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 went on to mention the names of many successful men and women of all races who all have one thing in common, “locs and none of which smell of marijuana.”

Osbourne also went on her Twitter to say that if no apology were made, then she would say how she really feels and “contractually” she’s not allowed to speak. Even though, Rancic did publicly apologize to Coleman, E! Network announced on its website that Osbourne was leaving Fashion Police to “pursue other opportunities.” There has been some speculation that because of her Twitter posts, she was fired rather than voluntarily quitting on her terms.

However, Executive Producer Melissa Rivers released a statement saying, “Kelly Osbourne is a friend and has been a wonderful part of the Fashion Police family. I will miss her terribly and wish her the very best in all of her future endeavors. As my mother always said, the show must go on and I plan to continue in the same spirit.”

Regardless of Rancic’s apology and Osbourne standing for her beliefs, the bigger issue seems to be cultural appropriation. It seems to be quite widespread in pop culture, especially among the white elite. Many celebrities appropriate different cultures while showing no concern for their customs and traditions.

Sharing culture and striping people from their identity while getting praised for it are two different things. When Kylie Jenner posted a picture on her Instagram in a chest baring tank top and dreadlocks, she was admired for being a trendsetter but when Coleman wore her hair in dreadlocks, they were seen as dirty.

Nowadays, Tumblr has created this confused idea of cultural appropriation that it is ok to glamorize the objects of someone’s culture, even though people of different cultures and race are shunned on their part. While women of color are forced to neglect their pride, white women are praised for wearing bindi’s on their foreheads that are seen as cool, trendy, or hippy.

Likewise, you cannot smoke hookah, cover your hands in henna and love eating falafel and hummus but all the while stereotypically claim every Middle Eastern person to be a terrorist. That is why cultural appropriation is wrong and that’s why it needs to stop. If you’re going to embrace materialistic things from someone’s culture then be prepared to also embrace its people because they go hand-in-hand.

 

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