2020 has been a wild ride that put everyone across the globe in a similar situation regardless of their age, sex, or status for the first time since forever. Actress and all-around badass Zendaya wants us to know, she's feeling the feels too in her sit-down with Elle and Dune co-star Timothee Chalamet, expressing how important it is for us as members of the Black community to not let anyone or anything take away our joy. Zendaya opened up:
"It feels like a very hopeless time, specifically in this country. I know a lot of my peers feel enraged and exhausted and tired of living and growing up in a system that feels like it wasn't built for us...At this moment in time, it is hard to find joy and beauty in things, and I really think that is important. Right now, we as Black people need to embrace joy and not let it be taken away from us."
This message is a far cry from 'the endure and persevere' rhetoric that we often express to both preach as a means to adapt in the face of adversity. We must not let the darkness of the world dim our light, and that is easier said than done because whenever we turn on the news, it's one thing after another. However, Zendaya is able to counteract the discouragement and fatigue that comes naturally while navigating heavy energies by finding both joy and solace in creating and connecting to herself and others. She shared:
"I experience moments of joy when I'm able to create art and be involved in projects that I connect to deeply, whether it be 'Euphoria' or 'Malcolm & Marie', the movie I shot during quarantine with ['Euphoria' creator] Sam Levinson. Another thing that gives me joy is seeing people's responses to my work. With 'Euphoria', it's been incredibly moving to see how people connected to what Sam has written. I've heard so many beautiful stories about addiction and recovery, and that brings me hope."
Zendaya may be young, but she is ready to let the rest of us know that existential crises aren't just for those facing their turning point of their 30s or their 40s. The difficulty of finding joy and fulfillment is an obstacle one can face at any age and more than once in their lives. The times that we are living in are requiring us to reevaluate so many parts of what we think that we know about ourselves, and that's why it's even more important to prioritize hope. Zendaya explained:
"I find hope in my peers, the people who are out there on the streets doing the work—people I admire and I go to for advice and information on what's happening so that I can make sure I'm using my platform in the most strategic way I can to help...There is so much hope in young people, and when I say young people, I do mean myself—people my own age—but I also mean younger. These really young kids are so smart and have such a clear understanding and plan for how they want this world to change."
Zendaya is a powerful reminder to do more of what sets your soul on fire. Live like your soul depends on it. Decide that you are going to fight for your happiness by any means necessary. And dare to radiate undeniable Black joy.
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