Zendaya Makes History for her Performance in HBO’s Euphoria

Anyae Johns- Staff Writer

Photo Credit: Invision, AP (AP20265171505843.jpg)

Zendaya, 24-year-old star of HBO’s “Euphoria”, won an Emmy at the 72nd Emmy Award show ceremony on Sept. 20th for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Written by Sam Levinson, “Euphoria” focuses on high-school students as they navigate love, sex, drugs, and more. Zendaya plays the role of Rue ~ a troubled teen fresh out of rehab struggling with her drug addiction, among other things. The show premiered on HBO in June of last year. 

Zendaya is the youngest to ever win this category, making history with her first nomination for an Emmy award. 

She is also the second Black woman to ever receive an Emmy in this category, after Viola Davis was awarded in 2015 for her lead performance in “How To Get Away With Murder”. 

Being that it took over 60 years for a Black woman to win this category is quite alarming and should be addressed. 72 years later, two phenomenal Black women have taken over this category and there needs to be more. 

“The talent is there. It always has been. I’m glad the world is waking up and giving credit where it’s due. I hope they continue to give awards based on performance and not ethnic group,” expressed Madison Williams, a Hampton University Communications Major from Dallas, Texas. 

Despite her award, critics and social media users claim that her historic achievement of being the second Black woman to win in this category is inaccurate due to her ethnicity. Zendaya is biracial; her father is African American and her mother is Caucasian.

Other critics disagreed with the award as a whole. A New York Post article titled: “Biggest upset: Zendaya wins Emmys 2020 over Jennifer Aniston, Laura Linney” stirred up a lot of opinions from Euphoria enthusiasts. 

Cameron Jones, Sophomore Theater Major from Detroit, Michigan explained that age has no say in awarding theatrical performance. 

“When it comes to acting it does not matter who has more “experience” its about who delivered their performance the best,” he said. 

Zendaya was over a decade younger than most of the actresses nominated in her category but her work speaks for itself. Her irrefutable performance as Rue definitely showcased her unique acting skills.

Many millennials have watched Zendaya blossom as a young Black actor. From her dancing days on Disney’s “Shake It Up”, to the moment she was seated around family and friends as Jimmy Fallon announced her victory. It was a very emotional moment for the star and she tried to find the words in her acceptance speech. 

 “This is a really weird time to be celebrating but I just want to say that there is hope in the young people out there.”

“I know our tv show doesn’t always feel like a great example of that but there is hope in young people. To my peers out there doing work in the streets, I see you, I admire you, I thank you,” she further explained. 

“Euphoria” was renewed for the highly anticipated second season on HBO but due to the pandemic, production has been delayed. Thankfully, HBO president Casey Bloys stated in an interview with Deadline that Euphoria will likely begin filming season two in “early 2021.” Many fans can expect a premiere date around the end of next year. 

In the meantime, you can expect to hear a release date for Zendaya’s latest project, “Malcolm and Maire”. Euphoria creator, Sam Levison, has shot and completed the entire film during quarantine. Not much is known about the plot but the film will star John David Washington and Zendaya as they navigate a rocky relationship. The film will premiere on Netflix. 

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