Zendaya says young Black women are taken less seriously in film industry

"Your opinion is not taken as seriously"

Zendaya has opened-up about her experience being a Black woman in the entertainment industry.

The actress has teamed-up once again with Euphoria creator Sam Levinson for new Netflix film Malcolm & Marie, which co-stars John David Washington.

The movie, which was filmed in lockdown, presented an opportunity to collaborate in a way that Zendaya has not experienced before, something the actress explained is rare for women of colour.

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“I’m grateful that [Levinson] listens to me, because sometimes you can feel like people don’t listen to you, or people don’t take your opinions,” she said in a virtual Q&A.

Zendaya John David Washington Netflix Malcolm Marie
John David Washington and Zendaya in ‘Malcolm & Marie’ (Credit: Netflix)

“Especially being a young woman in this industry, a young Black woman in this industry, your opinion is not taken as seriously. Or maybe I don’t have the knowledge of film or the time or the experience, or whatever the case may be.

“But I’ve never felt that, not from day one with Sam. I always felt like my creativity and what I had to say definitely mattered inside the work, and I think this is like an example of that.

“Being able to have a creative partner that you can talk to, and go back and forth with, and there is no bad idea – and that’s why it was something I wanted to do so badly, because I never have had that experience as an adult, to be able to do something with that much dialogue and that much conversation involved.”

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Opening-up about creating Malcolm & Marie, Zendaya further recalled: “[Levinson] had this brilliant idea that now that is Malcolm & Marie, and as soon as he talked about stripping things back and possibly shooting it in black and white, trying to create a skeleton crew.”

Levinson himself explained of how he came up with the concept for the movie: “I needed a catalyst for it: What’s a really terrible thing a person can do to their partner? Here’s the truth: I forgot to thank [Ashley Levinson, his wife] at the premiere of Assassination Nation, which was a brutal film to edit, and she was upset. I felt very guilty about it.

“Supposedly, we only talked about it on the car ride home. In my head, I imagined we’d had 1,000 conversations about it. I took that as the catalyst for this piece.”

Malcolm & Marie has already been getting rave reviews, with some suggesting Zendaya could be a strong contender for the Best Actress Oscar.

The full synopsis reads: “When filmmaker Malcolm (John David Washington) and his girlfriend Marie (Zendaya), return home from a movie premiere and await his film’s critical response, the evening takes a turn as revelations about their relationship surface, testing the couple’s love.”

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