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Zendaya Will Play 1st African-American Woman to Graduate From Vassar

15 November 2017, 03:23 | Elsie Buchanan

Zendaya Will Play 1st African-American Woman to Graduate From Vassar

Zendaya Will Play 1st African-American Woman to Graduate From Vassar

Thanks to Zendaya and Witherspoon, A White Lie will be headed by its all-woman team: women producers, a female star, and a woman writer and screenwriter.

It's particularly meaningful to cast Zendaya in the role of Hemmings, as she's spoken openly about racial diversity, among other important issues.

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A White Lie is based on Karin Tanabe's 2016 novel The Gilded Years and will tell the nonfiction story of Anita Hemmings, the first African-American woman to graduate from Vassar College.

Though the daughter of a janitor and descendent of slaves, with her olive complexion and dark hair, Anita was able to "pass" as white when she set out to attend the prestigious Vassar during the late 1890s. She even finds romance with a rich Harvard student, but he (nor anyone else) know her real identity. Homecoming star is no stranger to crafting stories behind the scenes, as she produced two episodes of Disney's K.C. Undercover this year and co-produced 40 episodes since 2014. She will next be seen opposite Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron in "The Greatest Showman" as trapeze artist Anne Wheeler.

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