In her time as a red carpet correspondent for E!, Giuliana Rancic has made her fair share of uncomfortable jokes, but this one certainly takes the cake as one of the most misguided. During a broadcast of the Oscars edition of E! Fashion Police, Giuliana had what she thought was a cute little quip regarding 18-year-old Zendaya Coleman’s freshly-twisted locs. “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil,” Giuliana said, “Or weed…maybe weed?”
Yep. Because if you have locs, you are automatically some kind of hippie or Rastafarian — people who fall out of those categories definitely don’t have locs. And they definitely should be made fun of for them, right Giuliana? Giuliana’s cluelessness set Twitter ablaze last night, with members of the Twitterati calling out the TV host for her ignorant remarks.
I’m a loc rocker and I smell like awesome and black vanilla. @GiulianaRancic better occupy EVERY seat this side of the Equator.
— Awesomely Luvvie (@Luvvie) February 24, 2015
Giuliana Rancic is our most useless human https://t.co/c8do3RxVWV
— Amanda Mull (@amandamull) February 24, 2015
The issue I have more than anything is you threw hate like that at someone young enough to be your daughter, @GiulianaRancic.
— Charles Wade (@akacharleswade) February 24, 2015
— Nigel Isaiah (@Nigel_Isaiah) February 24, 2015
Zendaya certainly wasn’t going to take Giuliana’s comments lying down. In a display of pure class, the youngster took to Instagram to post a response. “There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful,” she wrote. “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 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’s supremely classy response was met with what many are calling a non-apology from Giuliana, who tweeted late last night:
Dear @Zendaya, I’m sorry I offended you and others. I was referring to a bohemian chic look. Had NOTHING to do with race and NEVER would!!!
— Giuliana Rancic (@GiulianaRancic) February 24, 2015
Though nothing in Giuliana’s comments insinuated chicness, “I’m sorry I offended you” followed by a qualifier isn’t really an apology. For so long, black hair on black women has been a trap for negative commentary. When Ciara debuted a set of locs in her hair months ago, People StyleWatch wondered if the look was “elegant” enough for her wedding. When the adorable Blue Ivy Carter hit the VMAs rocking a cute little ‘fro, BET’s 106 and Park said, “I really did wake up like this, because my parents never comb my hair.” InTouch Weekly compared Solange Knowles’ natural ‘fro to a poodle’s fur. And it seems all the hate and “jokes” for hairstyles black women typically wear turns to a chorus of praise when Kendall Jenner is taking “bold braids” (cornrows) to “a new epic level.” Her sister Kylie is “the ultimate chameleon” when she wears a loced hairstyle. Many noted that just recently, when Jenner debuted a head full of locs, Rancic called them “edgy.” Now that they’re on a person of color, they smell like weed? This has nothing do with race, of course.
We could go on. We don’t know if Rancic knows any actual brown people with locs personally, but we bet they’ll tell her their hair doesn’t smell like patchouli oil OR weed – probably more like Jane Carter Solution’s wonderfully citrusy Twist & Lock formula. It is instances like these that show how important it is for the general public to be educated on the people and cultures that make up their own country. Rancic should try learning a thing or two about black hair before she decides to make insensitive comments on national television.