Zendaya Just Spoke Out About the Need for More Diversity on the Disney Channel

"There needs to be a black family on the Disney Channel. "

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Like so many young stars, Zendaya got her start on the Disney Channel. First, she costarred in Shake It Up alongside Bella Thorne, but when her first Disney show came to an end, Zendaya made an interesting decision: Instead of moving on to feature films and more adult projects right away, she signed on for a second Disney series.

That show was K.C. Undercover, a show about a black family of spies that Zendaya both starred in and produced. In a new interview with Black-ish star Yara Shahidi for Glamour (opens in new tab), she opens up about why she decided to stay at the children's network and bring K.C. to fruition.

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"I didn’t feel like there was any other choice," she explained. "I was like, 'If I’m going to do this, this is how it has to be.' 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. And you know, 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."

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Yara completely agreed, adding, "One thing that I constantly say is that my goal is not to be the face of black girls. The goal is to open the door so widely that I am drowning in a sea of—."

"In a sea of black girls," Zendaya finished the thought for her. "Absolutely."

As Zendaya said though, there's so much work left to be done to make that dream a reality.

Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.