Zendaya Gets Real About Police Brutality: 'I'm Terrified For My Father and Brothers'

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Zendaya has never shied away from controversial issues and her latest interview was no different.

For her cover story with Allure, Zendaya (humbly) discussed all of the qualities her fans know and love about her. She could have easily left the interview at that,  keeping things fluffy and light. Instead, she thoughtfully reflected on the social injustices she sees every day and how it’s personally affected her.

In particular, Zendaya, whose father is African American, recalled learning about the death of Philando Castile, a black man who was brutally shot and killed by a police officer in 2016 in his car. She said,

“I just started crying. My dad had gone out to get some food, and I was immediately like, ‘Where is he? Is he okay?’ I’m worried about my dad. My dad is a 60-something-year-old man, and I’m worried about my dad and then I started thinking about my brothers, and I’m just like, ‘What can I do? How do I stop this? I’m terrified.'”

Sadly, Zendaya has every reason to fear for her family. Police brutality was recently named one of the leading causes of death for black men. 810 people have been shot and killed by the police in 2019 alone.

Police brutality is hardly the only thing we have to worry about these days. As Zendaya explained,

“There’s literally injustice happening every second. It’s intense and it’s overwhelming, and I think a lot of young people are feeling that”.

She added,

“But what do we do about it? All I can say is try to find a balance between doing the work and still not letting it destroy you as a person and destroy your hope and faith in humanity. It’s allowing yourself to be angry enough to want to be motivated to do something, but not to where it breaks you down.”

Zendaya has certainly used that motivation to bring attention to the issues she cares most about. She’s proudly stood up for LGBTQ rights, has been an advocate for black female representation onscreen, and, of course, notoriously stood up to Giuliana Rancic’s racist comments in 2015. We can only imagine what she has in store for us next.


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This article was originally published on November 21, 2019

Ashley Ziegler
Aside from being a writer, Ashley is a mom of two girls and a wife to a passionate public school administrator. When she does have free time (cue laughter from working moms everywhere) she loves going to hot yoga classes, watching anything on Netflix that isn't a cartoon, and weaving her way through every aisle of Target while listening to one of her favorite podcasts.