Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Zendaya's Dreadlocks & India Aries' "I Am Not My Hair" Song

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases the 2006 India Aire song "I Am Not My Hair" and provides the backstory about how that song came to be mentioned in an instagram that was written after the 2015 Oscar award event.

The content of this post is presented for informational, cultural, and aesthetic reasons.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Zendaya Coleman for her powerful comments and thanks to India Arie for her musical legacy. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this video on YouTube.

Zendaya Coleman Responds to Giuliana Rancic’s Comments About Her Lock Extensions Looking Like They Smelled ‘Like Weed’

The actress gave the fashion host a lesson on hair politics.
By: Yesha Callahan, Posted: Feb. 24 2015
"Over the last couple of weeks, Zendaya Coleman has been experimenting with different hairstyles. She’s worn a short pixie cut, which people clamored over, and during the Oscars she decided to opt for long dreadlock extensions. Although she received her fair share of compliments, Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic said she felt like “she smells like patchouli oil and weed"...

Feb 25, 2015 Zendaya Speaks Out After Her Dreadlocks Are Criticized at Oscars

E! hosts declared that she probably "smells like patchouli," or "weed."
By Victoria Dawson Hoff
"At the Oscars on Sunday, Zendaya Coleman paired her sleek Vivienne Westwood gown with a change-up in hairdo: After rocking a pixie cut just days before, the actress sported dreadlocks on the red carpet. She looked totally gorgeous, but like most others who walked the carpet, found herself subject to the commentary of E!'s Fashion Police on the show's special Oscars edition on Monday night—and subsequently, a major social media debate.

Giuliana Rancic mused that Zendaya's hair made her "feel like she smells like patchouli," before adding, "Or weed." The exchange promptly triggered an Internet firestorm as viewers slammed the hosts for being racially ignorant...

But then Zendaya took to Twitter herself to respond to all the controversy, noting that "there is a fine line between funny and disrespectful," and that there is already enough "harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people." "To me," she stated, "Locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion's mane."

Zendaya also wrote in her instagram about this incident:
"I suggest that some people should listen to India Aries :I am not my hair”and contemplate a little before opening up your mouth so quickly to judge."
Click those links given above for a full story about this incident, including the apologies that the commenter gave to Zendaya and her other response to those apologies.

SHOWCASE VIDEO: India.Arie - I Am Not My Hair ft. Akon

IndiaArieVEVO, Published on Jun 16, 2009

Music video by India.Arie performing I Am Not My Hair. (C) 2006 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.
Sierra Mone, 2014
"India is not trying to imply dont like WHO you are by saying you are not your hair or skin. She just means that these things are features about you that should be of little importance when someone is trying to figure out WHO you are. Shes saying that its the soul Or the inside that really counts not just our outsides. In this society we tend to judge soley on looks but shes saying that there is more to us than meets the eye. Dont judge me based my hair or my skin color but on who I am inside."


I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within

What'd she do to her hair? I don't know it look crazy
I like it. I might do that.
Umm I wouldn't go that far. I know .. ha ha ha ha

[Verse 2]
Good hair means curls and waves
Bad hair means you look like a slave
At the turn of the century
Its time for us to redefine who we be
You can shave it off
Like a South African beauty
Or get in on lock
Like Bob Marley
You can rock it straight
Like Oprah Winfrey
If its not what's on your head
Its what's underneath and say HEY....


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  1. The first article referenced in this post about Zendaya's dreadlocks at the 2015 Oscar ceremony mentioned that her hairstyle for that event was the result of extensions.

    Here's a link to a Wikepedia page on hair extensions: That article indicates that "Artificial hair integrations, more commonly known as hair extensions, add length and/or fullness to human hair.

    Hair extensions are methods of lengthening one's hair by incorporating artificial hair or natural hair collected from other individuals. Hair extensions can also be used to protect one's natural hair. These hair techniques are advanced and are used to change the hair drastically without looking unrealistic.".
    Information about how extensions are added to a person's hair is included in that article.

    Here's a link to an article about Black females and hair extensions from
    African American Women and Hair Extensions, February 12, 2011 ‐ By Genevieve St. Bernard
    Note that hair extensions are commonly called "weaves" , a referent to one way that hair is added to a person's hair.

  2. According to, the name "Zendaya" is from the Shona language of Zimbabwe. "Zendaya" means " to give thanks".

    Here's information about Zendaya Coleman from"

    Birth place: California

    Birth date: September 1, 1996

    Family life:
    She [Zendaya] was raised in Oakland, California by her parents, Kazembe Ajamu Coleman and Claire Stoermer. She has 3 sisters and 2 brothers"..,

    "[Zendaya Coleman is an] Actress who became known for appearing in the Disney series Shake It Up, for which she was nominated for a Teen Icon Award for Iconic TV Actress. Her second single, "Watch Me," hit #9 on the USA Top Heatseekers chart in 2011. She starred in the 2014 Disney movie Zapped with Spencer Boldman and in 2015, she began playing KC Cooper on Disney's KC Undercover. She also finished runner-up in the sixteenth season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars"...

  3. Here's information on India Arie from
    "India.Arie (born India Arie Simpson; October 3, 1975) is a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer.[1] She has sold over 3.3 million records in the US and 10 million worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards from her 21 nominations, including Best R&B Album."...
    "India" is a rather familiar female personal name in the United States, particularly among African Americans since the early1970s. The source of that personal name is the name of the nation of India.

    Here's information about the meaning of the nation name "India" from
    "The Indus River (Urdu: دريائے سِندھ‎: Darya-e Sindh, Hindi: सिन्धु नदी) is one of the longest rivers in Asia.

    The word "Indus" is the romanised form of the ancient Greek word "Indós" (Ἰνδός), borrowed from the old Persian word "Hinduš", which in turn was derived from the Sanskrit word "Sindhu" (सिन्धु pronounced [sɪndʱuː]).[1] The word "Sindhu" or "Sindh" is still the local appellation of the Indus River. The original Sanskrit word "Sindhu" is an amalgamation of two words, "sim" (region or entirety or border) and "dhu" (to tremble or shake) and means "a body of trembling water, river, stream or ocean"….

    The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians (people of present-day India and Pakistan) as "Indói" (Ἰνδοί), literally meaning "the people of the Indus".[1] The country of India and the Pakistani province of Sindh owe their names to the river.[2]"...