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Zendaya & John David Washington: Luxury Life Black Edition

A photoshoot with a classic flavor with two unpublished protagonists, to overturn stereotypes and pre-concepts

By Francesca Parravicini

Messages, little seeds of language are everywhere. Even images speak, convey thoughts, which can be decidedly revolutionary. Often even a small detail is enough, nothing shocking, but the result is guaranteed: just take a painting, a snapshot that we have already seen millions of times and change the subjects, reversing them.

The American dream, a style that evokes the aesthetics of the 50s, the most opulent side of California, mythical couples like Elvis and Priscilla, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, large villas with gardens surrounded by a luscious nature, fashion that exudes a classic, timeless luxury. In this context we insert two very strong protagonists.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da W Magazine (@wmag)

We have Zendaya, a young but already iconic actress and producer. Born as a Disney tween star, she has been able to evolve, building a career in which commitment, glamor and awareness come together harmoniously. And then John David Washington, son of Denzel Washington, who started his career in sports, playing football in the NFL and after an accident he started working as an actor, participating in quality projects such as Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman and Christopher Nolan's Tenet.

Together the two actors forged a fascinating partnership in the Netflix film Malcolm & Marie, where they play a couple struggling with a love crisis. Just like in the film, on the pages of W Magazine, the two actors embody a new ideal of black luxury, owning an aesthetic previously reserved only for white celebrities, taking already known styles and re-appropriating them in a sort of quiet revolution, without forgetting their origins and their pride.

A Beverly Hills villa becomes the background where Zendaya and John move, clad in Gucci, Valentino, Prada dresses. Zendaya, who wore dreadlocks on the 2015 Oscars red carpet, arousing indignant comments from certain people (to which she replied with her usual class) is not afraid to wear a blonde wig, because whoever said she can’t? The image is identity, but also experimentation and innovation.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Acrimònia Magazine (@acrimoniamagazine)

Two Black actors in this setting seems like rewriting history in an elegant manner, like kind of an Old Hollywood that we wished existed. It’s almost like righting a wrong”. In these words Zendaya perfectly expresses a philosophy that seems to be gaining ground more and more in the black community, which is carving out new spaces and representations.

We have Beyoncé expressing an idea of ​​royalty, with an eye to her African-American origins, but at the same time the exaltation of a new luxury, women like Kamala Harris, poised between a power that many black girls know that now they can aspire to and accessibility, series like Bridgerton where history is rewritten and the nineteenth-century aristocracy is absolutely multi-ethnic. They are small media revolutions, of characters that are at the top of Olympus and certainly do not erase racist and discriminatory ideas still unfortunately rooted in our society, but also images  hold a huge power, they make us reflect and why not, change your mind.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da W Magazine (@wmag)