D.A.R.E. has seemingly come out of the woodwork, criticizing actor Zendaya for her stunning depiction of an addicted teen in the HBO Series “Euphoria.” The drug abuse organization hasn’t been so vocal in the past when non-black actors played addicts.
Wait, D.A.R.E. Still Exist?
D.A.R.E was created in the 1980s by the Los Angeles Police Department, and students in schools around the US were taught to “just say no to drugs.” The drug prevention program is trying to make a comeback off Zendaya’s back, attacking her depiction of an addicted teen in the trendy and popular show, “Euphoria”.
“Euphoria” features drug-related content, following the everyday life of high school teenagers. Rue, the main character, is played by award-winning African-American actress Stoermer Coleman, best known as Zendaya. In the show, Zendaya is a teen suffering from a severe drug addiction in the thick of troubled friendships, relationships, and home life. D.A.R.E claims that the show is a negative influence on teens and glorifies drug abuse.
Sorry D.A.R.E, We Are No Longer In The Ronald Reagan-Era
D.A.R.E made a statement to NBC news claiming “HBO’s television drama, ‘Euphoria,’ chooses to misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict high school student drug use, addiction, anonymous sex, violence, and other destructive behaviors as common and widespread in today’s world.”
Fans clapped back, saying D.A.R.E. has been living under a rock and that Euphoria is not the first popular television show that highlights drug-addicted teenagers. The response to DARE goes even further, pointing out that D.A.R.E has yet to criticize or acknowledge any other show depicting drug abuse and that Zendaya is being targeted because she is black.
The hit Canadian show “Degrassi” ran from 2001 to 2015, featuring four-time Grammy Award-winning rap artist, Drake. The show addressed issues of teen pregnancy, sexuality, and yes, teen drug use.
The CW’s 90210 reboot aired from 2008 to 2013 portraying teenage drama and teen drug abuse. One of the main characters, Adrianna, played by Jessica Lowndes, was a troubled teen living with a drug addiction that caused her to go to rehab.
Zendaya Sets the Record Straight
Zendaya took to Twitter to respond with her statement, reminding us of what “TV-MA” really means.
I know I’ve said this before, but I do want to reiterate to everyone that Euphoria is for mature audiences. This season, maybe even more than the last, is deeply emotional and deals with subject matter that can be triggering and difficult to watch.
Please only watch it if you feel comfortable. Take care of yourself and know that either way you are still loved and I can still feel your support.
Hip-Hop Lost Lives To Drug Abuse
While sometimes exaggerated, drug use and television shows are often designed to mirror the realities of addiction. According to the CDC, “in 2019, nearly 71,000 people died from drug overdoses, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States.”
The Hip Hop community has lost many legends over the years due to drug overdose. Back in September, the Hip Hop community remembered the late Hollywood star Michael K. Williams who recently passed away after consuming a deadly dose of fentanyl-laced heroin. In December, HBO dropped the trailer for its doc on the late rapper, Juice WRLD, whose death was finally revealed as an accidental drug overdose after he reportedly swallowed several Percocet.