Those of you wondering if I was going to say something about Tyrese and his fu- uh, foolishness, I did. Over at my Ebony column:
Late last week, singer, actor, author and now director, Tyrese Gibson, said something interesting. When asked by AllHipHop if he felt any kind of responsibility, as an entertainer, to inspire people to live healthier lifestyles, he responded with the following:
“No two situations are the same. If you are fat and nasty and you don’t like the way you look, do something about it. It’s simple.
When you take a shower and you put your fat, nasty body in the shower and by the time you get out, the mirrors are all steamed up so you don’t look at what you did to yourself. That may sound offensive or insensitive but ultimately, you are big as hell because you have earned that sh*t. You worked your a** off to eat everything in sight to get big as hell.
If you got a problem with the way you look, then you need to do something about it. Excuses sound best to the people that’s making them up.”
Silly me, for thinking the man who brought me such epic 140-character gems as “Ignore today…Ignore me tomorrow…My strong love and consistently [sic] will concur all walls of false realities… A gift should be opened!” would be profound or thought provoking or even considerate and sensitive when being asked a direct question about inspiring his fans, supporters, and the people who generally suffer through his foolishness and continue to let him prosper.
He’s not the only one, though.
Boris Kodjoe pulled this same silliness – albeit, a bit more specific, this go-round – a couple years back, this time to his Twitter followers. He ended a shade-filled tweet about his nightmare of 300-pound women eating chicken wings and grinding on him with one word: “Scary.”
And, because it wouldn’t be a show without an acrobatic backpedaling routine, Kodjoe followed that up with his own weight loss tips and a reminder that there is a difference between “a healthy and sexy stacked goddess and an unhealthy obese one.”
Thank him for that, ladies. Thank his wife, too, who released her glorified bandanas intended to “save your hairdo” during your gym visit. You know, because after a work-out, you also need to have your edges laid like canceled television shows if you’re going to be that “healthy and sexy stacked goddess.”
Fewer things make me smack my forehead than seeing otherwise intelligent people become belligerent when the topic of obesity arises. People say, “If we can shame smokers, why can’t we shame fat people?” Because you can smoke at home, wash your clothes, and never have your smoking habit affect your career advancement or your ability to get money. A society that supports fat-shaming is a society that believes it is okay to devalue people and their abilities based on their appearance. As Black people, we’re already at a disadvantage in wage earnings without our weight also being brought into consideration.
Y’all know how I feel about body-shaming. To quote one line from something I think was beautifully done, “there is no wrong way to have a body.”
And, while someone’s out there snarking on some woman “built like the Michelin man” and how she is clearly “wrong,” I have to remind you of two things:
1) if she is mentally and physically healthy and happy, is your opinion more important than hers? And, if she isn’t healthy and happy, are you willing to support her through getting there? No? Then what is the point of needing to point out her flaws to her? Why be so invested in making someone else feel badly about themselves? Where are you in your life to care so much about someone else you don’t care to help?
2) Never forget – no matter how fit you become, you will always have someone who is more fit, and they could just as easily reduce you to all your flaws. You’d want them to be gracious to you and respect your humanity. You should want to do the same. I think that’s called “The Golden Rule.” Do unto others, and all that.
I’m still struggling with the idea of “You earned that sh-t.” I’m not sure exactly what is sitting wrong with me, but it sits wrong with me.
Body-shaming is a tool that people use to prop themselves up – “she’s too fat” comes from the same nasty place of “she’s too skinny.” It’s rarely about the person being dissected. And, while we could break that down all day, I just sincerely wish people learned the ancient art of silence. Just… hush.
But what do y’all think?