Zendaya might be rocking the modern take of iconic MJ in #Marvel's newest reboot of Spider-Man and starring in Bruno Mars' 'Versace On The Floor', but it was her role in Shake It Up! on the Disney Channel that first gave her the opportunity to star in high profile roles. When Shake It Up! came to an end, Zendaya chose to continue with the Disney Channel and went on to star in K.C. Undercover, a show that centered on a black family of spies. Now, she's calling for further diversity on the Disney Channel.
In an interview with Glamour, Zendaya spoke up about her decision to join a second show on #Disney Channel, saying that she didn't feel there was any other choice — given that there wasn't a black family represented on the network at the time.
Zendaya's Quest For A Progressive Disney Channel
Unfortunately, the lack of diverse representation in mainstream media is all too common and Zendaya took it upon herself to break the pattern — using her position to bridge the gap by starring in a show that focuses on a black family.
"There needs to be a black family on the Disney Channel. A lot of people who aren’t people of color can’t quite understand what it’s like to grow up and not see yourself in mainstream media."
K.C. Undercover has had a three-season run, with the third and final season currently airing. When Zendaya tweeted that she was filming her last scene of the show, fans were quick express their sadness while supporting the young star's future on-screen endeavors. In another interview with Vogue, the Marvel star shared her vision for the show. She not only managed to change the title to something that's more fitting to a black protagonist, but also included conditions about her character – specifically ensuring that she wouldn't be another Disney stereotype.
“I want her to be martial arts–trained. I want her to be able to do everything that a guy can do. I want her to be just as smart as everybody else. I want her to be a brainiac. I want her to be able to think on her feet. But I also want her to be socially awkward, not a cool kid. I want her to be normal with an extraordinary life.”
While Zendaya is doing her part to fix underrepresentation, she also acknowledges that we're still far from solving these issues.
"There is so much work left to be done. I’ve talked about this before, but can I honestly say I would be in the position I’m in if I weren’t a lighter-skinned black woman? No."
This Isn't The First Time Zendaya Has Spoken Out About Sociopolitical Issues
Zendaya is known to be a vocal activist in the industry, using her voice to discuss matters of importance, such as diversity and gun violence. As a popular influencer and activist, she's not afraid to be outspoken and understands the importance of her voice – choosing to use her celebrity status to make a difference in the world.
Back in 2015, she discussed the harsh stereotypes associated with African American hair, saying that she wanted to showcase her locks in a positive light. She's also campaigned to help the victims of hurricane Harvey, and worked on the documentary Without a Net: The Digital Divide in America, which focuses on students who are denied access to technology. As a positive role model, Zendaya is doing the best she can to show everyone that we need to be more involved when it comes to our community.
You can check out the trailer for Zendeya's The Greatest Showman below, where she'll be starring alongside Hugh Jackman.
Season 3 of KC Undercover returns Friday, November 17 on the Disney Channel.