The morning of July 28 brought about some lovely news: A record number of black actors and directors have been recognised and nominated for 2020 Emmy Awards. Of them is 23-year-old Zendaya Coleman, nominated for Best Actress in a Drama for her turn as a drug-addicted teenager named Rue in Euphoria.
The trippy, critically-acclaimed series was a major pivot in Zendaya’s career. Springing into the limelight on the Disney Channel’s Shake It Up, Zendaya became well-known as one of those wholesome, squeaky-clean kids who would likely go down the same Disney-come-music path as Miley, Ariana and Britney. Instead, she starred in Beyoncé’s multigenerational music video “Lemonade” – a time in her career where she seemingly became very comfortable standing up for what she believed in and a moment she wrote about for GRAZIA in 2016.
“I have way too many family members and friends who have to deal with not being happy in their own skin literally on a daily basis,” she wrote. “That’s a serious issue and it’s not something you joke about. It’s not light, it’s not funny, it’s not comedy. It’s real.”
“Because, at the end of the day, we are all in this together. Humanity, that is. There’s only one earth we can live on and we can’t just get up and leave whenever we want to. We’re all stuck here together and we’ve got to appreciate each other and love each other.”
But it was her role as Rue – a dark contrast to her Disney days – that made her the women she is today, Zendaya says. The young actress is up for the Best Actress gong alongside Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show), Olivia Coleman (The Crown) Laura Linney (Ozark), and Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer (both in Killing Eve).
“I’m honestly speechless, my heart is just overflowing with love and gratitude,” Zendaya wrote on her Instagram. “I’m so incredibly honoured to work beside the talented people that I get to call family. I am a small piece of a big beautiful puzzle and I’m so proud of all of you. Thank you to everyone out there who’s watched and given our show life… We out here Emmy nominated y’all!”
We are all rooting for Zendaya to win!
This year’s Emmy Awards will take place virtually on September 20 and will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.