Zendaya Opens Up About “Embracing Joy” During Difficult Times

"We as Black people need to embrace joy and not let it be taken away from us."

In a November 10th interview for ELLE Magazine, conducted by friend and Dune costar Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya expanded on what she touched upon in her Emmys acceptance speech for winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Euphoria.

“There is hope in the young people out there,” she said in her speech, thanking her peers for “doing the work in the streets” to turn that hope into reality. When Chalamet asked Zendaya what hope meant for her, she said her intention was, “really just to be honest, because it feels like a very hopeless time, specifically in this country.”

She continued, “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, she said.

Chalamet asked what brings her hope and joy during these unprecedented times, and Zendaya said that moments of joy come when she’s able to create art and involve herself in projects that she connects to deeply, like Euphoria and her quarantine-shot movie Malcom & Marie.

“Another thing that gives me joy is seeing people’s responses to my work,” she said. “With Euphoria, it’s been incredibly moving to see how people connected to what Sam [Levinson] has written. I’ve heard so many beautiful stories about addiction and recovery, and that brings me hope.”

She again touched upon the people who are bringing hope to the masses. I find hope in my peers…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,” Zendaya continued. “These really young kids are so smart and have such a clear understanding and plan for how they want this world to change.”

And with a role model like Zendaya, heavily concerned with social justice, politics, and the future of our country, at the helm, the young people have a fighting chance and will make this world better for everyone in it.

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