Why Is the Thick Sistah on the End? (Asked My White Husband)

Over the weekend I celebrated my birthday and I was feeling great in my fat body and channeling my inner goddess into everything I did. Friday I had a fabulous massage, mani/pedi and had drinks with one of my besties, Melinda Alexander of Mumumansion).  Saturday  was an amazing party at my house, and yesterday was spent sailing on my boss’ huge boat in Santa Barbara with my hubby and co-workers.  It was a wonderful way to start they year ahead.  I was surrounded by family, friends and loved ones. I even wore RED (which I said was my new signature color), so that’s exciting too–actually doing what I say I’m going to do.  LOL.

Me in my sexy butterfly dress!


But yesterday, while filling up on gas before the drive to Santa Barbara, I saw the billboard for the new film Baggage Claim, which opens September 27th. 

Jill Scott is on the far right.

I looked at it and thought, “I wonder why Jill Scott is on the end?”  As soon as the thought entered my mind, my husband popped his head in the window and said, “Oh, they put the thick sistah on the end.”  My mouth dropped open as we fist bumped it out.  First of all, my husband is white. From South Dakota. And is not known to ever use words like “sistah” in a sentence.  But more interestingly, he noticed what I also noticed, that Jill Scott–the thick sistah in question–was indeed on the edge of the billboard, as almost an afterthought. I was thoroughly disappointed in the placement of her photo, but pleasantly surprised that my husband even noticed it. 

What’s interesting, is that of the entire cast, Ms. Scott is, in my opinion, the most talented one.  But there’s one problem–she’s fat.  And in Hollywood if you’re fat, you cannot be the star.  In fact you are either the butt of stupid jokes, or you are the “funny friend,” or you are fat and need a makeover. Those are the choices.  I think few fat actresses have ever managed to be the star despite their size.  The obvious example is Queen Latifah (whose talk show premieres next Monday–woohoo!), who has starred in many movies and often gets the hot guy, without having to lose weight or justify her size.  She has starred opposite hot actors like Common and Dijmon Honsou, with ease, confidence and grace.  She is definitely one of my sheroes!

Queen Latifah & Common

That got me thinking about size acceptance and race.  In my experience, I have found that being plus size, fat, heavy, thick, etc., is much more acceptable in the black community (except in LA).  I remember black girls with big booty’s and thick thighs wearing daisy dukes when I was in high school in DC in the 90’s. They always got lots of attention from the black guys, and songs like Baby Got Back by Sir Mix A Lot, were homages to their fluffy proportions.  And it wasn’t an intentional grassroots size acceptance movement, it’s just the way it was. Why is that?  And what can we learn from it?  And more importantly, why in the hell is Jill Scott on the edge of that fucking billboard???


Jennifer Hudson
Mo’Nique


I think that Hollywood is using the tactic of “better health” to convince black female entertainers into being thin at all costs. I think they have largely been excluded from body scrutiny in comparison to white women, but now the jig is up, and body shaming has spread like wildfire.  Hollywood has convinced black women like Jennifer Hudson and Mo’nique, who were once confident in their ample figures, to publicly share their weight loss stories with the world as though it somehow justified their existence. I sometimes feel like, “where my fat girls at?” And I want to be clear that choosing to lose weight should be a personal decision.  I simply believe that now all women (even women of color) in Hollywood pay a high price in order to really make it.  And that sucks.  

And don’t get me started on the weaves….that’s a blog for another day. Oh, Lord!  

Ciao for now,
Pia


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