It Has Been a Week, So Please Enjoy This Palate-Cleansing Homage to Black Excellence From Zendaya and Law Roach

Zendaya speaks onstage during ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards in Los Angeles, Calif.
Zendaya speaks onstage during ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards in Los Angeles, Calif.
Photo: Randy Shropshire for ESSENCE (Getty Images)

Y’all, we have missed so much this past year—family reunions, brunches, concerts, the Met Gala, casual hookups (if you’re into that kinda thing—no judgments). I’ve now celebrated two birthdays in this damned panorama, so trust when I say I know of what I speak. As The Root’s resident beauty and fashion editor (among other roles), I can also express a genuine longing for the typically exhausting ritual that is Fashion Week, and two of the most Black woman-centric events of the year: the annual Essence Festival of Music and Culture and the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards. (Okay, I’m still awaiting my invite to the latter, but a girl can dream!)

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That said, it set my fashion-loving heart aflutter today to see one that of the best to ever do it, the ingenue-icon we call Zendaya, paid homage to another Black female icon when she made an appearance at this week’s (mostly virtual) Black Women in Hollywood event....and we have longtime collaborator and “image architect” Law Roach to thank

“I’ve been waiting to share this look.....”, he captioned a post on Instagram, featuring Zendaya an ice-blue bubble-peplumed evening jacket and black skirt. “@zendaya wearing vintage @ysl Haute Couture from 1982 (my personal archive) originally owned by the trailblazer Eunice Johnson! We pay homage 🌹🌹🌹”

In case you didn’t know, Eunice Johnson was the wife of Ebony magazine creator and publisher John H. Johnson and the founder and director of the legendary Ebony Fashion Fair, where the iconic Yves Saint Laurent-designed ensemble first appeared for the magazine’s 25th anniversary issue.

Of course, the Chicago-born Roach would be familiar with the legacy of one of the city’s—and America’s most powerful Black women, and wisely procured this outfit for his own archive, only to bless his muse with it on the absolutely perfect occasion. And because Zendaya is as humble and conscious as she is stunning (case in point: her most recent IG posts are of Ma’Kiah Bryant and George and Gianna Floyd, rather than herself, the 2020 Emmy winner payed her honor forward, thanking Black women for inspiring her as she accepted her well-deserved award.

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Does it make up for a hellish, and heart-wrenching week? Maybe not—but maybe it’s a small and stylish reminder that we’re here, we we see each other...and we are ever excellent.

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?

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