I contemplated blogging about Gabourey Sidibe for a while before I did this right here. For me the topic of a new black actress in Hollywood, an overweight black actress was too close to home. I am also a black woman, in North America (Canada) but still North America and I too am overweight. When I first saw Gabourey it shocked my societal senses. She like me, did not possess any of the "accepted attributes" of beauty that my North American mind and so many others had been programmed to worship.
Just recently the Vanity Fair "New Hollywood" magazine cover came under scrutiny for listing only the white young hollywood actresses...All who happened to have porcelain skin, bony limbs and long flowing hair. You know the usual. Take a look.
The cover promotes a one dimensional view of beauty I have been trying to unthink since childhood. So now we have the beautifully spirited Gabourey Sidibe who enters Hollywood via the movie 'Precious" where she played an obese, molested and abused teen. She was phenomenal in the role not only because of her exquisite talent for tapping into the emotion required to play this character but also because he physicality suited the role perfectly. Gabourey is a phenomenal actress, having played the role of 'Precious' there is no doubt she deserved the Oscar nomination but it's interesting that her career is in debate.
You see Gabourey Sidibe may be talented but at the end of the day, she is overweight...and black. While Ricki Lake and Carnie Wilson may have been able to make careers while at a larger size the discussion people are having is will Gabourey? It's a sad truth. Instead of debating her talents, we live in a world that debates her appearance, her skin color, her weight to determine if we think she will be a relevant force in advancing an industry we know she has the right to be part of.
Recently Howard Stern remarked about Ms.Sidibe's future on his radio show. Read some of the "intelligent" quotes one of the ugliest men on the earth made with regards to this black actress:
Stern, focused on the part of Sunday's show when the camera cut to the five actresses up for the Oscar, including Sidibe, whom he referred to as "the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen."
"You feel bad because everyone pretends that she’s part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie," Stern added. "What movie is she going to be in? ‘Blind Side 2,’ she could be the football player.”
Howard accused Oprah Winfrey, who introduced Sidibe at the Oscars when the best actress nominees were announced, of lying to Sidibe. “When we look at you,” Winfrey told the 26-year-old from the Oscars stage, “we see a true, American Cinderella who’s on the threshold of a brilliant new career.”
Stern disagreed. “She told an enormous woman the size of a planet that she’s going to have a career,” he said during his broadcast. “Oprah should’ve said, ‘you need to get help, we don’t want to lose you.’ "
“You just want to say to her, listen, honey, now that you’ve got a little money in the bank go get yourself thin, because you’re going to die in three years,” he said.
Courtesy of Cnn.com
As a black woman who is overweight I don't appreciate Mr. Stern's comments. I understand the health concerns involved with obesity, yet I don't really think he's worried about Gabourey's health. I don't like the association North America has with black women either being overweight mammies or Chocolate covered bootylicious video desserts. I feel like black women fall as either or. And because we do not have the face of " New Hollywood" there is a denial the beauty of black women and many other minorities exists at all...Unless you look like Halle Berry...Case and point.
Secondly, it is unfortunate to me we live in a world that can find the understanding and comprehension required to send a man to the moon but we cannot live by an age old cardinal rule, "Never Judge a book by its cover".
Here's wishing you Gabourey Sidibe a long healthy life and a happy career.