Home Beauty My Thoughts on Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe

My Thoughts on Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe

by Erika Nicole Kendall

I tried really hard to leave this topic alone because, quite frankly, I don’t think my opinion matters much. This ties into another post that I have coming up behind the “Who’s Allowed To Call You Fat?” topic but really… I have no stock in neither her successes nor her failures, so my interest is pretty non-existent.

I’ve never read Push. (I know someone’s gonna get on me for that. I spent more time in music books than I did anything else. My bad.) I haven’t seen the movie Precious and probably never will, simply because I’m not a movie person. However, you cannot ignore the fact that something awesome happened last year, and that awesomeness manifested itself into Oscars, Golden Globes, Solar Systems, and whatever else Hollywood uses to pat itself on the back.

I’m inspired by the roller coaster ride that the Precious team has enjoyed. From thinking that the story could never be done justice on the screen, to winning an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. From thinking that plus-sized women – especially women of color… especially Mo’Nique  – could never be recognized playing “these kinds of roles,” to watching a very gracious and charismatic 26 year old be nominated alongside the Meryl Streep and the Helen Mirren… and watching Mo’Nique win that Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Really, do I need to go on?

There is something really powerful and refreshing here. While there are people who have their concerns about details within the movie (which don’t mean much to me, since I won’t be seeing it), I can only give credit to one thing. The fact that this climate, in this day and age, allowed for a movie like Precious to be funded, screened, lauded, awarded and successful. Forget what you think about “fat Black chicks.” That movie made $47 million dollars in only 200 theatres (if you take a peek at this chart, you’ll see movies who made $70mil but were shown in thousands of theatres) – there was clearly success to be had regardless of how few people were willing to give it a chance.

That’s not enough, though. Collectively as a nation, we need to be able to tear you down and rebuild you. So… let the attempts to tear down Miss Sidibe commence.

Howard Stern and that genius sidekick of his, Robin, lose their freaking marbles calling Gabby “the size of a planet,” and loudly proclaiming that she could never get another part because Hollywood simply doesn’t write for fat Black broads. I mean, that’s putting it bluntly, but it’s still a hell of a lot more polite than Stern’s original words. I’m not really sweating Howard Stern.. no one should. People who like him tune in to hear him say “what everyone is thinking” in the most crass and disrespectful way possible. It’s how he gets down. Big whoop.

This, for some reason, was the straw that broke my back. Some scammy acai berry magic elixir sellin’ company (y’all know how I feel about anything “magic“) tries to capitalize off of Sidibe’s attention by “leaking” a letter supposedly sent to her representatives about their fake-concern for her health. For the purposes of my rant, the letter is typed out for you below:

Dear Ms. Sidibe,

After viewing the recent pictures taken of you strolling around Santa Monica earlier this week, we at [website redacted] have decided we can no longer sit back and keep our mouth’s [sic] shut! Obesity is a major epidemic in the United States, and we would like to help you rid yourself of this terrible affliction. Life doesn’t have to be this way.

It’s time to prove Howard Stern and all of your naysayers wrong! We, along with Oprah agree that you DO have a bright future ahead of you in the entertainment business, and the only way you can reach your goal of someday winning that Oscar is by being active, fit, and most of all, healthy!

Thousands of people around the world say that [company name redacted]’s Acai berry products help them live a healthier life that is full of energy and vitality. [redacted] has taken Acai Berry one step further by combining Acai extract with a combination of nutrients that help with weight-loss, increasing energy levels, and antioxidants that help promote healthier looking skin.

[redacted] would like to offer Ms. Sibide [sic] a ONE YEAR FREE SUPPLY of [redacted] in return for her glowing testimonial after she sheds her unwanted pounds.

Please get back to me at your earliest convenience with your or your representative’s shipping address so that we may ship out your first month’s supply.

Best Regards,
Total Jerk
CEO scammycompany

That last part might be my addition, but the rest of the letter is real. This is where I blew my lid.

First of all, I’m not gonna lie. I can hear it now. “Create a letter offering Si-bi-de – oh, it’s Si-di-be? Who cares! You know who I mean – some of our product for free, and send copies of the letter to the major gossip outlets. Tell her all she has to do is agree to promote for us, and she can have the supply for free. At best, she says yes. At worst, she says no and we still have all the publicity. Can’t fail!” That’s smart marketing… even though it’s rather vulture-like.

However… telling her that losing weight is the ONLY way she’d ever win an Oscar? Is that what this country is coming to now? That we believe that someone with stellar, outstanding, amazing talent would get passed over for recognition simply because they’re “fat?” That’s what we support and perpetuate? Is our collective self-esteem and respect for our peers that poor? Even more so, is that what we want to perpetuate? We don’t want to change that? Can’t change that?


Do I think Gabby is overweight? Yes. Do I think she’s unhealthy? Of course I do. Do I think that my opinion is important enough for her to care what I think? Not at all. Does any of this have anything to do with the amazing talent this woman has? Absolutely not. It makes her human. And I’d stand to believe that her “visible imperfection” made her that much more real in her portrayal of an… imperfect person. A real person playing a real role. How… unique.

I’m not even going to get on the fact that the letter repeats that motto that the fitness and weight loss industry LOVES to beat into our heads… that a magic little product will magically make us healthy. ‘Cause health is as easy as being skinny. ‘Cause being healthy is the same as being skinny. I mean, I don’t need to go there on this site, do I?


My eyes kind of just glaze over when I have to face people’s need to talk about Gabby’s weight. Do we… need someone to know that we feel some kind of way about someone’s body? Are we getting some kind of satisfaction from highlighting someone else’s flaws? Is it just open season on people, nowadays? Or do we feel that we are so above criticism that we can say whatever we want about others… since, clearly, the same couldn’t be said about ourselves?

Like I said in the beginning… I don’t care, and I wish more of you felt the same way, too. I support Gabourey as a very incredible and witty personality, and I wish her the best (apparently.. thanks to Showtime, she’s already on her way). My time is better invested in me and making myself a better person, than expelling energy on people that don’t know me or give a damn what I think.

Update: Robin Quivers, the aforementioned sidekick on The Howard Stern Show, wrote for The Huffington Post just so that she could honestly “explain” her and Stern’s comments… without all the snark and crudeness required while on air. Maybe I’m just too much of a cynic to give it any weight, no pun intended.

In an effort to end this rant on an uplifting note, I present you with the best thing to come out of a celebrity’s mouth in a long time:

“I learned to love myself, because I sleep with myself every night and I wake up with myself every morning, and if I don’t like myself, there’s no reason to even live the life […] They try to paint the picture that I was this downtrodden, ugly girl who was unpopular in school and in life and then I got this role and now I’m awesome, but the truth is that I’ve been awesome, and then I got this role.” – Gabourey Sidibe


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Ironlady March 17, 2010 - 6:31 AM

I think we all knew it was coming, eventually. But, Gabby’s a really intelligent young woman. I love that quote and it just goes to show everyone how down to earth and really smart she is. I just hope this doesn’t shake her spirit.

Inkognegro March 17, 2010 - 7:30 AM

I am loathe to put money or energy against such an uncommon and amazing talent.

If she’s gotten this far…methinks shell be JUST FINE

Barbie1908 March 17, 2010 - 8:16 AM

Ugh! I wish would leave alone!

Lisa March 17, 2010 - 8:18 AM

I wish they would leave her the HELL alone. Damn. Girl can’t even enjoy her success in peace. IF and when she wants to lose the weight, TRUST, she is in the most PERFECT position to do so. The MAIN folx worried about her so tough have their OWN health demons to worry about. I will bet my dues that fully 75% of the MEN commenting on her (of whatever age/demographic/race/what have you) haven’t been to a doctor in at least three years. And let’s not get into the women. Yes boo, you too have no room. If you’re talking isht about old girl and YOUR game isn’t tight, STFU. Period. Work on you, let her work on her.

Indiablack April 28, 2012 - 1:25 PM

Lol lol @ lisa i love you girl i agree with 1ooooooooo times, i hate when nasty ugly ignorant people judge people on there looks, i hate that but this is the world we live in, everybody have a opinion, so heres mine, j have always liked gabby and always will, shes smart ,cute,nice,funny,good actress, e’t.c. She knows she needs to lose weight, but when shes ready to do it, nobody can make her do it, shell be fine, when shes ready shes be ready, her wieght dont bother me at all, its was her warm sprited good down to earth personality that i love, yes its about the personality when a person should be judge, everybody has been picked and made fun of, if they say you dont thats a dam lie, looks are subjective, gabby will be a good wife and mother some day, what goes around comes around, thats a fact, to me when act ugly as hell you ugly period, dam what you look like, another thing i love about gabbyis that she doesnt care what people think and that takes courage and strength which she does, god has giving her courage and the acting, shes bless with family and suport team, and i support her, i like her in presious but i couldnt take that movie, really i will never watch that movie again, it was good but so much bad stuff going on, i made me sick to my stomach, lol i will never watch that movie again to sad for me, but shes a good actress, god bless

Ralonda March 17, 2010 - 11:27 AM

Even if their game is tight, they still have no right to trash anyone. I hate when people say horrible things about people then say that their just concerned about said person’s health. They don’t give a damn about their health, because what about their mental health? If making fun of people for their weight worked, NO ONE would be overweight.

Tisha March 17, 2010 - 12:33 PM

Good stuff, E. And I LOVE her comment at the end!!

tdixonspeaks March 17, 2010 - 11:13 PM

I had been working on a similar blog post, and deliberately withhelf from reading yours so my view wasn’t influenced.

But as usual, we tended to be on the same page. You just said it with more eloquence. Love her quote too!

PhluffyPrincess April 2, 2010 - 9:31 PM

I am SO divided on views of Gabby. I feel because of her size and even dark skin color she is such a target of criticism, which is unfair. She is a person with feelings and her own insecurities, I’m sure. However – I do think she should lose weight as you’ve said and acknowledging her unhealthy weight and possibly lifestyle would be an appropriate first step, whether public or private. but that is hard to do until you are completely ready to change for yourself – not Howard Stern, or the public or the Academy or anyone else.

I’ve not seen Precious either. I read a LOT and I read the book back when it was first published. The story isn’t something I could relate to at all so I passed, also – you aren’t the only one. But I watched the awards and cheered with the rest of Black America!

Hidi April 27, 2010 - 9:01 AM

It irks me to no end the endless arguments over Gabby’s body size; I don’t like it. People need to leave her alone. Her body is just that HER BODY. She has full rights to live the way she wants to. Who are we to tell her she is going to die early or she is unhealthy??? Really? This type of mentality is what’s wrong with society because it’s an endless battle between who is healthy versus unhealthy and what it should look like. SMH…What does a person with HIV look like? Or what does a person with cancer look like? See, conversations about Gabby in regards to her weight are superficial. Sometimes it gets so exhausting.
Do you Gabby and let no one tell you any different.

Jae112 August 28, 2010 - 10:37 AM

I loove Gabby!! Trust me, she knows exactly what she’s dealing with in Hollywood and what makes her a true success is her unlimitless confidence in herself and the loving support of her family and friends. With that said, Dear writer of this article: WHY ARE YOU NOT SUPPORTING THE MOVIE WITH YOUR DOLLARS BY SEEING IT? As a testament to the Black struggle and with this Black forum, you should spend the dollars to see the movie, regardless if you’re not a movie watcher. It’s a supporting our own and keeping us on top, can’t do that if you don’t economically support the same woman you are writing about.

Erika August 28, 2010 - 10:40 AM

Quite simply, because my dollars are going to more important things in my life than movies that don’t interest me.

chocolateqt December 4, 2010 - 12:23 PM

for this comment alone, i love you. and this site is quite fabulous!

Ebonie B January 20, 2011 - 10:40 PM

You know what they say, when you assume, you make an ass out of yourself, and that statement Gabby made sure proved that point. Unfortunatley we are bombarded by the idealogy that looks overrides talent anyday. That is why we have so many beautiful people with no talent and no soul. Gabby is a beautiful actress and a beautiful woman, because she loves herself. She has to, so why not love her, just as she is? If she does decide to lose the weight, she will still remain a large woman until she reaches her goal. Does that mean that she is unworthy of acceptance and appreciation until she becomes “thin?” I think not…..

Joy June 22, 2011 - 8:57 PM

I know I’m really late on the topic, but I’m still fairly new to the site and really wanted to jump in when I saw the “visible imperfection” phrase.

Just recently I came to the defense of a friend that was the butt of a mean and embarrassing fat joke. I jumped in because I’ve totally been in that spot before and it really pissed me off because they didn’t deserve it at all. As an adult, I’ve come to think of being fat as a “flaw” that everyone can see, just a symptom of a bigger problem (that really isn’t anyone else’s business in the first place)…doesn’t matter how talented, smart, sweet, hard-working, or funny you are, no matter if you are the best at what you do in your field, if you have a flaw, someone’s going to pounce on it, ESPECIALLY if you are fat. Being fat is just an easy target, since most people hide their flaws, and you’d actually have to get to know the person to figure out their weaknesses. But for those that are not fat, they should imagine if their biggest insecurities, flaws, secrets, and bad habits were tattooed on their foreheads for the whole world to see. Imagine the messages you’d see walking down the street, or around the workplace (“I’m promiscuous and I sleep with married men”, “I’m 35 and I still wet my pants”). We’d all be humiliated…so we try to deflect our own flaws by pointing out someone else’s. Real mature…

Granted, Gabby’s health, I think as just an outsider making an observation, could use some improvement, but that’s her business. She’ll do it when she’s ready, not when someone else thinks she should. I think she’s a great talent and a wonderful example of someone that exudes good self esteem. Her weight doesn’t take away from her talent, and I loved “Precious” btw. Kudos to her and I wish her much success.

Stefanie August 3, 2011 - 12:23 PM

I agree with PhluffyPrincess in the fact that I am divided on the Gabby issue. And like you, Erika, my opinion isn’t worth a dime to her because she is doing her thing whether I like her or not (which, I don’t know her, so I surely can’t say if I like her, or not). I have not seen the movie Precious, and after hearing about it, I don’t know if I want to see it b/c I hear it’s a tough story line.
Anyway, Gabby’s body size and weight- I felt the issue would finally rear it’s ugly head. When I first saw her on TV, I was happy to see a young lady ‘non hollywood’ like come out and succeed the way she has. HOWEVER, I agree with Robin (from Howard Stern) that being healthier (not skinny, but healthier) will get her more work, if that’s what she chooses to do (FYI: It is NOT cool to me to flat out make fun of anyone – they are a celeb show, so they will talk about people, but to name call/etc is rude on any level). Could she get more roles at her weight? SURRRE! She did it with Precious. But I’m afraid that most of her future roles would CENTER around her weight. Now, her skin color – whoever has something to say about that – get over yourself! She is born dark skinned and has a beautiful skin tone. But her weight, yes, she can help it. She is pretty but she is unhealthy and it doesn’t look good whether she is a role model or not. But, Gabby knows what she wants to do, and I hope she’ll do whatever she needs to do to achieve her goals with dignity and staying healthy (and do it for herself).
Again, just my opinion, it doesn’t matter. I just wanted to let you all know what I thought (smile).

Thanks for allowing me to post.

Marsha August 3, 2011 - 8:03 PM

Amen, too!

Do celebrities or talk show hosts criticize a fat man who rises to the top? Do they say, ” He better lose that belly if he wants to win an Oscar.” ? No, they focus on his talent.

I love that Gabby loves herself. What a confident, smart, talented and attractive young lady.

Cherished October 3, 2011 - 10:36 AM

This makes me think of Star, Oprah, Monique, Jennifer Hudson and Patti LaBelle (Diabetes)…All who inspired us at heavier weights. Some who gained weight for roles but who again inspired us when they began to live healthier lifestyles…and it reminds me of Luther VanDross who didn’t conquer his struggle completely. We loved them all at any size but ultimatedly we want to see them healthier and living.

NaturalBlackOne October 3, 2011 - 11:19 AM

Like some of the others, I also am torn on this subject. I do feel like losing weight would benefit Gabby’s overall health, but I am positive that she knows that! With that being said, her success should never depend on her size. True the entertainment industry is a looks oriented thing, but my hope is that she can kick down doors and blast her way through-meaning she will find regular roles, and not be forever typecast, leading the way for future actresses that look like “regular everyday folks”.

To the person that decided that E was being unsupportive because she didn’t see the movie… I haven’t seen it either. And don’t ever plan to. Everybody’s tastes are different and people must be true to themselves. I know I will be! When she appears in a movie that looks interesting to me, I will be sure to go see it. Support shouldn’t necessarily be given arbitrarily.

bannef October 3, 2011 - 1:20 PM

Ugh. I remember seeing on some tv show (House maybe?) someone talking about how no one has walks or arm bands for lung cancer, or any sympathy for the patients, because they “deserved it” by smoking. I think the same assumptions are made about people being overweight – they “deserve” the health risks, they “deserve” the derision of others, and they “deserve” our judgments. Lots of health problems could have been prevented, often including ones people making these judgments have – oh, your knees are bad, well you “deserve” it for all that skiing you did!

Should people take responsibility for their own health, and their decisions which partially caused it? Yes, absolutely, and good luck, because it sure as hell isn’t easy. But that’s for them to TAKE, not for you to GIVE! Just consider yourself lucky that your flaws (which honestly might be just as unhealthy as Ms. Sidibe’s) aren’t apparent to everyone who sees you, and don’t give them “permission” to judge you for them.

(And honestly, that goes for being too “slutty,” or having anorexia, or drinking too much, etc. – if you know and love them that’s a different situation entirely, but people don’t get to make those judgments because of what they read in the tabloids.)

Jasmine October 3, 2011 - 9:13 PM

I am a plus size young woman that struggles with people putting my appearance before my intellect just as Howard Stern and his co-host have done to Gabby. God doesn’t put us in any situation that we haven’t already conquered. As human beings we all have things that we wish we could or can change about ourselves (even Howard Stern!) It is sad that the only thing he seems to be good at is hearing himself talk and being a professional bully. No one’s opinion matters but the opinion that person has of themselves. Let the haters hate, conquer the impossible and keep it pushing.

Toonie November 3, 2011 - 5:21 AM

I personally feel like Ms Sidibe needs to lose some weight. I don’t lose sleep over it, but she really could benefit from decreasing her body weight even by a small percentage.

Too often we make excuses for those around us who are huge and when they ‘kick the bucket’, we start thinking about why we didn’t say/help out. There is no such thing as a happy, secure obese person, many of these people wear their weight to hide other issues.

Erika Nicole Kendall November 3, 2011 - 8:40 AM


natalie December 21, 2011 - 11:34 AM

i agree! i feel she has a great personality and most likely a future in hollywood. i’m pretty sure that she’ll get some roles. but, i’d just like to see her lose weight for her health. i think about John Candy and others who were incredible entertainers and are no longer here because they didn’t take care of their health. their careers were cut short because of morbid obesity. i wouldn’t want that to happen to her.

Naomi January 21, 2012 - 1:00 AM

There is another 99% and 1%…in the media industry. 99% money-attention-hungry-narcissistic-total jerks; 1% people who love being creative-good-souls.

I once heard an executive producer suggest the network retitle a would-be show about a black family with multiples “Country-fried” multiples. He was white and jewish (sorry if that hurts anyone’s feelings…I’m just stating what really happened). There were over 16 media professionals in that room (3 blacks…including me), no one said anything but I was livid. I wanted to keep working. He is now the VP of that network. He has black friends. The racism and sheer evil behind the scenes in media is astounding. Just imagine all the bullies and mean-girls and insecure wannabees from your school all got jobs in the same industry. But none of those modern metrosexually-fashionistaiy people will ever admit they in any way could be racist, well because they are just too hip. And they totally like Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. Yup, that’s the media industry. Sprinkle a few actual good people amongst them who do actual work and not schmoozing and the team is complete. Please don’t ever think the “light-skinned, long-hair, biracial looking” images you mostly see of black people on TV is all just happenstance. Because it’s not. They are calculated decisions. It’s sad.

One day like capitalism, it will all blow up in our faces. I said “our” because I have watched flavor flav and the braxtons. I’m an addict too. Not proud of this. I’m working on it. But I can separate the joke from reality while many others humans take that for face value and figure…yup…that’s how we really are. Blogs like yours give me hope.

They will never leave Gaby alone. We will just have to keep supporting her.

Vee March 30, 2012 - 11:33 AM

You are right Noami..Hollywood is very cut throat!

Vee March 30, 2012 - 11:30 AM

I love her statement very intelligently spoken. She did not give her critics the satisfaction they wanted. Way to go to Gabby!!!

Genycis November 27, 2012 - 7:23 PM

Sadly, the worst ones are those that once had health issues, then lost their weight, are in a better place now than when they were struggling, and STILL point fingers and comment afterwards… like, are you SERIOUS? You had issues, got over your demons, and now point the finger instead of uplifting and helping as you were there once? Yeah, society is cruel, and no one has any business telling her what is and what isn’t the way to live her life but herself. That’s why I could never be a celebrity, they’d boot me out! Lol.

It’s like I look at Jennifer Hudson and also Jordin Sparks now too and wonder, did they accomplish what they did more so because of self desire to lose the weight, or were the comments here and there the driving factor? Because they both looked fine how they were to me before the excessive weight loss. Granted, they look fine now though I think Jennifer Hudson could use a bit more weight on her than what she is now.

I could go on and on but don’t want to take up your blog post comments section up. Lol! Great post!

margo January 16, 2014 - 1:11 AM

Howard Stern is disgusting. I only wish she would take care of herself because she IS a remarkable and talented human being and it would be nice to have her around for a good long while.

Tilly March 3, 2014 - 9:40 AM

If nothing else it’s a health issue. It doesn’t look nice. It would be like letting an alcoholic continue to drink. The strain on her heart and lungs is not good. Ask Dr. Drew, I think he would agree.

Erika Nicole Kendall March 7, 2014 - 10:16 AM

“It doesn’t look nice.”

Says who? Says YOU? Who are you to her? Why should your opinion matter to anyone but you?

“If nothing else it’s a health issue.”

…but are you her doctor? Why are you so concerned with her health, stranger?

Dr. Drew, LOL. Boy. That’s hilarious.

Chi July 2, 2014 - 12:11 PM

Let’s be clear: Gabby won an award not because of “progress in Hollywood,” but rather, for exactly the same reason Hattie McDaniel was able to win an award over 70 years ago, playing the role of an “asexual” Mammie in a society where she couldn’t even attend the premieres due to Jim Crow laws and protest against her being in the same room as other white ppl. “Precious” was not ground breaking, it was degrading. The world doesn’t see black people any better as a result of this movie, but more so, as ugly, vile human beings, who will never amount to anything. Funny how black women who win awards in Hollywood are those who play roles that showcase black ppl as lowly human beings. Halle Berry’s beauty and mainstream acceptance allowed her to be an exception to this rule. Gabby has a chance of getting roles in Hollywood if she stays fat, but only as the fat, ugly, poor girl that the world scorns. For her willingness and ability to play these roles, she will be compensated with gifts and awards, all the while being the butt of Hollywood’s jokes and a woman, who other Hollywood women will gladly pose in a photo with to feed their own fragile egos and make themselves look prettier and skinner. She has become a symbol of the unattractiveness of heavyset black women. If I were her, I would milk it for all it’s worth, then get therapy in my later years. Your “well-spent” dollars, supporting this movie, is actual going in the hands of white men who care nothing for black people and are too happy to put vile movies like this in the cinema because it makes other ppl feel superior to the black race.

Gabby is a great person, but her image is being used to fuel the same negative beliefs that made the world treat (and still treat) blacks as sub-human beings. Will Smith understands this and absolutely refuses to play roles where black ppl are negatively shown. How many well-deserving black women actresses are forced to get second jobs because Hollywood would rather choose a white woman instead to play the role? Don’t be deceived. I don’t know Gabby. Her health does not concern me, but it does concern me when people think her role and accolades are a good thing.

Erika Nicole Kendall July 3, 2014 - 9:19 AM

“The world doesn’t see black people any better as a result of this movie, but more so, as ugly, vile human beings, who will never amount to anything.”

Do we honestly believe that media created WITH black people in the 21st century is responsible for the vile, ignorant, and embarrassing things mainstream society has believed of us since before black people could create mainstream media?

Surely, we don’t believe that WE are the reason that people think negatively of us. When WE were the most respectable negroes to ever negro, our communities were bombed, our homes set on fire, and our businesses were looted. NOT by other blacks, either. I’d sincerely encourage you to do some reading on Black Wall Street.

D'Ebrar September 1, 2014 - 12:33 AM

Bottom line, she’s still working, on many red carpets, looking stunning….with a full time gig on TV in movies while we sit on our sofas or in our chairs…talking about her and HER weight! Recap
She’s working in Hollywood on the big screen and we are not….

D'Ebrar September 1, 2014 - 12:34 AM

Instead of talking about her living her dream….why don’t we live our own…

Erika Nicole Kendall September 1, 2014 - 9:58 AM

Some of us can do both. 🙂

OBP May 31, 2015 - 8:23 PM

I realize this is a small thing. But to assume that she is unhealthy based on the fact that she is visibily overweight is REALLY problematic. I have really respected your site and your advice but seeing that was really disappointing. I also have noticed that this was published several years ago. You have to know at this point that excess weight does not always equal unhealthiness.

Erika Nicole Kendall May 31, 2015 - 9:31 PM

I’m inclined to wholeheartedly agree with you. I’ve said as much over the years since I’ve written this and become more knowledgeable.

And, there is a bone I could pick here with regards to actual physiology, but the reality is that it doesn’t matter. The point is that what I think is unimportant – what ANY of us “thinks” is unimportant. What we think doesn’t justify mistreating someone or denying them their humanity; what we think isn’t important enough to justify the narcissism we play with when we think we have the right to lord over someone like that. That was the ultimate point in what I wrote.

As a professional, I think things that are (and should be) unimportant to people who don’t pay me to diagnose them specifically. And, I’m going to actively resist the desire to defend myself here and say, straight up, that I agree with you. It hurts my overall point to have included that sentiment.

elyse October 8, 2015 - 12:20 PM

When you become a mainstream figure you should always consider how your image affects young people. Black girls have a hard time finding a decent role model as is in the entertainment industry. Why add to the negativity by actively living and promoting an unhealthy lifestyle? Gabby is “morbidly obese”. Its a medical term. Look it up. Many people are obese because of genetics, lack of education, no access to healthier foods, no time or resources to workout, medical issues or just laziness, but once a person is in a better position to treat this condition, they should actively do so. I think its disgusting that with all the money she is making she has not taken the effort to lose weight or at least show the world that she is trying. It wouldn’t be my business if she was in her house and no one knew who she was. Eat all you want, sit around all you want. It becomes my business when she is in the public eye and my daughter or someone else’s daughter can look at her and say “Look Mom, she is obese, unhealthy and popular, why should I care about my health when I could be just like her?” While she is on her “private jet” she can’t make a phone call to arrange for a dietitian, trainer or medical doctor to help her become healthier? But as usual us black women will use her to make an excuse for our laziness and lack of attention to our bodies.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 8, 2015 - 10:03 PM

Your comment makes no sense.

You say, “Many people are obese because of genetics, lack of education, no access to healthier foods, no time or resources to workout, medical issues,” but then you go on to say, “but as usual us black women will use her to make an excuse for our laziness and lack of attention to our bodies.”

Which is it – either people are larger nowadays because of very rational and realistic issues, or they’re just being willfully and intentionally lazy? How do you know anyone is making decisions for their own bodies based on a stranger? Why are you so eager and willing to malign black women and put them down as a whole? Why are you eager to lump black women under this umbrella of bad behavior, instead of recognizing that MANY people are simply struggling with myriad circumstances and providing empathy based on that?

So WHAT she “has money?” Why are you in her pockets? Why are you in her health charts? Morbidly obese is a medical term, but guess what? The BMI is virtually useless with regard to other issues like…wait for it… overall health. Look that up. She owes the world nothing, nor is she required to bow her head and beg for forgiveness for daring to be fat in public. Guess what? She dares to be dark-skinned in public, too, and people bash her for that, too. Do we think that’s okay? Or should people stop being assholes and keep their nasty comments to themselves?

“Eat all you want, sit around all you want. It becomes my business when she is in the public eye and my daughter or someone else’s daughter can look at her and say “Look Mom, she is obese, unhealthy and popular, why should I care about my health when I could be just like her?” ”

When the anorexic and bulimic models are in the public eye and your daughter can look at them and say, “Look Mom, she sticks her finger down her throat, it’s unhealthy and popular, why should I care about my health when I could be just like her,” do you search the web looking for places to rant and rave about that? Or do you instead focus on teaching your daughter how to care for herself healthily, and how to have compassion for both herself and her fellow human beings?

Or are you one of those parents who expects the media to raise your children?

People tend to reserve this kind of stupidity for black women and black women-centered media. You should think long and hard about why you’re so willing and eager to join in on this kind of nonsense. It’s rather unbecoming of you.

elyse October 8, 2015 - 11:30 PM

Sorry, your comments make no sense….

Why celebrate Black women getting fit and healthy with a full blog but then celebrate the total opposite, a woman obviously not caring about her weight??? YES weight and general health do go hand in hand. A person with a 5’3 frame body cannot support 300+ pounds of extra weight and expect to live a long healthy life (unless you have a heart of steel, and bones of titanium, and kidneys….I digress…). Look at all the illnesses that are linked to being overweight! Parts of your body that you wouldn’t even think matter can go awry if one has too many pounds on their frame. Now I do agree that the BMI should not be a factor in how “obesity” is measured, but overall you and your doctor should know when you are at that unhealthy point. And doctors will adjust meds or suggest activities for those who are medically inclined to be overweight to help with weight loss. And to not actively try those things is…… laziness.

As for Gabby, just because she doesn’t care about her size and has a positive attitude does not mean we should go about high fiving her because she is comfortable walking around with all that extra weight. Its insanity to not take care of your body if you have the means too. A slow suicide. I know you want to put up a good argument for the sake of your blog, but no one in their right mind would allow their friend, sister, mother, daughter, aunt to become that overweight and not try to make better health decisions. My daughter knows how to make healthy choices and my son knows how to respect women no matter their size. And the media definitely does not raise them. I just worry about my pockets when MY tax money goes to unnecessary healthcare for many who CAN live better and healthier lives. This includes the children who are media raised. To all those girls who open up a magazine and see that anorexic chick or turn to OUR culture’s (smh) most popular show and see a morbidly obese woman, they need to know that is not the way to live. I have never been obese but I do know that prolonged obesity affects your mind, body, and soul. Our black and Latino children have the highest rates of obesity in America, so anything that anyone in the media can do to promote healthier lifestyles in OUR people is appreciated. And to go around celebrating the opposite is just crazy to me. Not once did I say bash her because of her skin or looks… All I am saying is until I see persons in the media actively promote some kind of positive message within our culture, they will get a peace sign from me. I could care less how many jobs they get or don’t get, or how many fashion blogs or radio personnel speak poorly of them. Neither parties are in the right. This goes for any and every black person in the media, I don’t care if they love long blonde lace-fronts or only date white women. IF you are not promoting a positive message that benefits us and puts us in a positive light, why should we care about people (other races) hurting your feelings? Wait — because she has a good attitude about it, its okay. Sheer lunacy.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 9, 2015 - 9:06 AM

No, sis – what makes “no sense” is that, in response to me telling you that it’s indicative of self-hatred, anti-blackness, and a fundamental misunderstanding of what contributes to poor health to chastise one woman and try to make her representative of us all…. you write a book in my comments telling me why its your responsibility to chastise her and any other black woman for not appearing perfect in the public eye.

That’s gross and embarrassing.

All that other nonsense you typed is typical and expected of people who think like you. I’m not interested in that. You think how you want…but I do want to address this:

“Why celebrate Black women getting fit and healthy with a full blog but then celebrate the total opposite, a woman obviously not caring about her weight???”

I’m not “celebrating black women getting fit and healthy” – this is MY blog and MY space where I share what I’M learning on MY journey, for starters. I have a large community here because I share what I’m learning with empathy, compassion for myself and others, and I do it all without stoking the SHAME that so much of society demands we display.

Black women have it triply hard out here – we are women, we are black, and our bodies are less likely to be what mainstream society say they should be. The problem is not US and how different we are – the problem is that we live in a society that thinks it’s okay to shame, disrespect, and malign people who are different… and, because its a means of survival, we perpetuate it. That’s basically what you’re doing here.

You even said it yourself: “but overall you and your doctor should know when you are at that unhealthy point.” “You and your doctor.” Sis, are you her doctor? Then why do you feel the need to windmill with regard to her health? That’s not your place, nor is it mine, and it certainly isn’t grounds for either of us to try to make her feel bad about herself. What, we should contribute to demolishing her self-esteem, and then leave her to pick up the pieces herself?

This is not how you build up black women, or support them, or encourage them. I know that, and that’s why I have such a large community, here. Because I don’t do that.

I’m not even mad at you. If anything, I feel sad reading your response. It’s so indicative of what we’ve been taught with regard to how to engage black women – through devaluing their feelings and taking wrecking balls to their self-esteem and ignoring things like “tact” and “empathy” because they don’t matter when it comes to black women. They’re “strong.” They “can take it.” Of COURSE we could… but should we have to? Further, should we put another sister through that? Do we think she “deserves” that just because she doesn’t look the way we think she does?

I don’t. I celebrate women of all sizes because they’re incredible – I’m sure you are, too – and need positive encouragement and information. Not shame.

PS: “Our black and Latino children have the highest rates of obesity in America” Do you truly think that’s because they don’t care? Or perhaps there’s some systemic issue at hand there making better health inaccessible to black and brown families in the US? Do you think it’s better to help those people with empathy and resources, or just try to shame them into action….and ultimately shame them for not producing changes even though you gave them no resources?

Think about it.

jwoolman July 3, 2016 - 4:05 AM

Back when Precious came out, I remember her interviews. She was comfortable and open about her size. My feeling was that she was still young and vigorous enough that she wasn’t feeling the major downsides of carrying so much extra weight. Some people manage with such things better than others even when much older. But she was obviously an intelligent person (always a good interview) and I felt that when she decided to reduce the extra, she would but wouldn’t feel compelled to be drastic about it because she had such a splendid self-image and comfort with herself. All that self-confidence actually makes her a great role model for anybody at any weight.

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