Yesterday morning, while most of us were just trying to get through the day without sobbing into our keyboards, The Hollywood Reporter released its Next Gen issue featuring Zendaya on the cover. The issue celebrates the next generation of talent in Hollywood. Zendaya is joined by her Spider-Man: Homecoming co-star Tom Holland. They are both 20.
Zendaya is a young black woman who woke up to a country that told her, through their ballots, that her rights and values don’t matter so it’s understandable why she referred to this cover as the, “one good thing” to happen to her yesterday.

Most outlets are jumping on the quotes that hint that Zendaya may not be playing Peter Parker’s seminal love interest Mary Jane Watson after all. Back in August, Sarah wrote about the rumours Zendaya was indeed playing MJ but noted that Marvel and Sony had yet to confirm the news. Zendaya told THR that her character is NOT romantically linked to Holland’s Peter and shot down the speculation.

"… Nothing [about who she is playing] is fact. It’s like, you guys are just making sh-t up at this point and then reacting to it. Whenever we were on set, one of us gets some random character name [on the call sheet]. [Bloggers were] like, “Oh they must be so and so.” And we just crack up about it, because it’s like, “Whatever you want to think. You’ll find out.” It’s funny to watch the guessing game."

OK. To me, that is vague enough to give me hope that Zendaya could still be playing MJ because aside from the pleasure I take from loser, racist fanboys losing their sh-t over the fact that a fictional character could possibly be a different race than what they imagined in their wet dreams, I also think it would be special, especially now, to see an interracial relationship play out in a big Marvel blockbuster like Spider-Man. Plus, here’s how Zendaya describes her character:

“My character is not romantic… My character is like very dry, awkward, intellectual, and because she’s so smart, she just feels like she doesn’t need to talk to people, like, ‘My brain is so far ahead of you that you’re just not really on my level.’


So, she’s an Awkward Black Girl. I am SO down with this. I would love to see Peter Parker’s signature insecure charm paired with this. Maybe they aren’t romantic in Homecoming but they will be in one of the 6 films Holland is signed up for? Hey, a girl can dream.
Back to the loser, racist fanboys. Zendaya opened up to THR about the whitelash that came after the MJ casting rumours.

"But of course there's going to be outrage over that because for some reason some people just aren't ready. I'm like, 'I don't know what America you live in, but from what I see when I walk outside my streets of New York right now, I see lots of diversity and I see the real world and it's beautiful, and that's what should be reflected and that's what is reflected so you're just going to have to get over it.'"

It’s easy to hate on millennials. They’re supposedly lazy, entitled, brunch too much and hate grocery stores. But millennials like Zendaya are the ones who still believe that the world they live in is full of beautiful diversity that should be reflected and respected. Yesterday, a chart was being shared on Twitter that showed what the U.S. electoral map would have looked like if millennials were the only ones who voted.

The accuracy of this specific map has since been debated (apparently the data was collected before the election) but CNN reported that the majority of voters age 18 to 29 did in fact vote for HRC. The sentiment is still clear. The “next gen,” as THR calls them, is the one we’re looking to for optimism. They are the ones who, during the darkest times, we cling to for even a shred of hope. When Zendaya uses her Instagram to vent that she is “petrified” and “heartbroken”, when Tessa Thompson shares that she and her friends are ready to “gather and organize” or when Miley Cyrus cries over the loss of the dream of a female president, my HOPE is that these young people turn their anger into action and their platforms into protest.

Yes, I just turned a post about Spider-Man political but ISN’T THIS ALL WE ARE THINKING ABOUT?