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It’s a shame that some black folks spend too much time ridiculing each other when there are a myriad of critical issues that need our collective attention in black communities across the nation.

Is this about self-hate? Help me out here.

I’m talking about the vile treatment of Gabourey Sidibe, who attended the Golden Globes Awards Sunday night, by critics who seize every opportunity to mock Sidibe each time she appears in public.

It’s getting old.

The 30-year-old “American Horror Story: Coven” star received nasty tweets about her appearance after she arrived at the Golden Globe Awards with some viewers taking offense to her floor-length gown. The reactions ranged from sarcastic “is she pregnant?” tweets to demands for Sidibe’s stylist to do a better job of dressing her.

The latest round of insults prompted Sidibe to take to Twitter to address the mocking.

“To people making mean comments about my GG pics,” she tweeted. “I most definitely cried about it on that private jet on the way to my dream job last night #JK.”

Of course, I realize that it’s not just about black folks who are critical of Sidibe. Whites are extremely mean to Sidibe, too, but it’s particularly troubling when some of the mean-spirited mocking comes from black American men and women — some of whom could stand to lose a few pounds themselves.

I don’t know the racial makeup of the people tweeting and blogging their negative opinions about Sidibe’s weight, but I have heard many negative comments and jokes from black men and women who have been quite disrespectful of Sidibe. The irony is that some of the black women and black men who joke about Sidibe are obese themselves.

Sidibe is a smart woman and an Academy Award-nominated actress. She knows she is overweight and has either decided to accept it, embrace it, and move on, or perhaps she struggles with her weight.  I don’t pretend to know.

But here is what she told Parade magazine: “I don’t care whether or not people will find me attractive on screen. That’s not why I became an actor.”

Sidibe may not care what her critics think, and that is admirable, but obesity is still a serious issue in the black community and should be discussed in the appropriate forum.

And there are those who, I believe, have a genuine concern for Sidibe’s health. And for good reason.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African American women are overweight or obese; African Americans were 1.5 times as likely to be obese as non-Hispanic Whites;  African American women were 80% more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic White women; African American girls were 80% more likely to be overweight than non-Hispanic White girls.

These are very sobering statistics.

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, President of Global Policy Solutions, a policy consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. and Director of Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, wrote an enlightening essay two years ago that should still resonate with black women today.

“African-American women must not be reluctant to discuss the issue of obesity if we are to address the health disparities that make us, and the children for whom we are primary caretakers, live sicker and shorter lives,” Rockymoore wrote.

“While it is okay to uplift personal behaviors like healthy eating and physical activity as a part of the solution to the problem, we must also address the structural factors that undermine our health,” she added. “To do so, we must support each other and work in partnership with schools, faith and community groups, businesses, and government leaders to reshape our communities into places where healthier choices are made easier.”

Rockeymoore’s thoughtful essay is the proper way to address obesity, a serious concern in the black community, not the snide, vile comments about Sidibe’s weight that are posted on social media.

As black Americans, we should be more respectful to each other – and more courteous to black women. And that includes Gabourey Sidibe.

Aren’t we better than that?

What do you think?

(Photo: PRPhotos)

2014 Golden Globes Hits and Misses
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26 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Let’s Respect Gabourey Sidibe, Not Post Vile Tweets About Her Weight

  1. Uncle G on said:

    First of all, I am not going to let anyone tell me what to say about anything. I don’t want to hear anyone moralizing about how I should “respect” Gabourey Sidibe. These are the same people hating on a myriad of people such as Kim Kardashian who has done nothing to anyone. But, these same people telling me how to “respect” Gabourey Sidibe are hating Kim Kardashian. SO—-If you hate Kim Kardashina, don’t say “jack” to me about Gabourey Sidibe. Mainly, let’s stop “normalizing” obesity” and Gabourey Sidibe is “morbidly” obese. There are people exercising thier brains out and dieting—DOING SOMETHING—-working on their weight and health to keep from looking like Gabourey Sidibe.
    She should accept the criticism and let it motivate her to lose weight and do something about her weight. Let;s not put her health at risk by allowing her to think it is OK to be “unhealthy” She does NOT look good—-LOSE SOME WEIGHT, Gabourey!” Tough Love is what she needs!

  2. Someone I loved very much (my son’s gf) has weight loss surgery in Dec and 2 weeks later she was dead. And she didn’t even need the surgery! She was a beautiful person and we miss her so much. She died New Year’s Day at 29 yrs old. People, let’s stop with this weight thing. And yes, Kay, I hate that refresh page thing, too.

  3. PetraBlue on said:

    Gabby is a horrible historical MAMMY stereotype that should not be celebrated. She is not a positive role model for any one including herself when obesity in the black community is at an all time high, leading to early death and a myriad of diseases associated with too much fat.

  4. Albert Brantley Jr on said:

    She was dressed very classy. It is not our place to judge and comment. No one really cares what you think least of all she does not care. Be happy a black female actress that is not skinny and light skin is working. Remember what your grandparents taught you, “if you can not say something good then do not say anything at all”.

    • ms1978 on said:

      you took the words right out of my mouth. i get really sick of hearing them talk about overweight people, but then try to justify it by making comments about themselves. JUST STOP making the comments, period! it is not necessary, nor funny!

  5. Years ago my ex-husband used to rag me about my weight. I was 25 to 30 lbs overweight at the time. I finally decided I had enough and told him what I didn’t like about him. He had a big ugly a$$ nose. When I told him how I felt I thought he was going to die. See, people who can dish it out can seldom take it. Let’s try to give Ms. Sidibe a break. This young lady has overcome some very big hurdles already by having made the choice to work in an industry that rarely welcomes women with her particular looks. Her determination and talent is taking her places most of us will never go. CAN YOU SAY HATTIE MCDANIEL??? (i.e., The first African American to WIN an Academy Award and no it was not Sidney Poitier…)

  6. She have made PLENTY $$$$$… Why is she still this size? I love her enter beauty, but her outer beauty needs attention seriously!

  7. I concur that she is an great actress and we should focus on her gifts not her girth. Today there is too much focus on the outer rather than the inner. There are many what is considered ” beautiful” people of are mean spirited and morally deficient people who are in the public eye, and we applaud them. I think we should respect, support her and let her live her life as she chooses.

  8. the business that blk America need 2 handle is there own.the whole family murdering selling drug .turn your own family in an help solve some case your family cause. an get a job.she got 1

  9. I love her she is a great actress, but I have concerns regarding her health and with that being said its up to HER to decide when what and how IF she wants to make changes to her weight. We are the same height 5’4 and I weigh 223 pounds and I need to lose about 30 but that’s MY choice if I do or not!

  10. who are we to judge? my story may not be obesity or drug addiction etc. fact is, we feed into the hate and jealousy like it’s second nature to us. People who publicly ridicule others are trying to direct attention away from their own issues and faults. She’s a beautiful sister. Rock On!!!

  11. you are beautiful inside and outside don’t let nobody tell you nothing else I loved you and always be you and when you feel like you’re ready to lose some weight do That ..and when you lose the weight you do it for yourself and not Because someone else told you to you do it because you love yourself

  12. Maybe you should address the stars of the TJMS. Tom and Jay take every chance they get to make unkind jokes about this lady. How do we know she is not healthy? Some people are born to be big and are in good shape and healthy. Just as some athletes look obese, but are in great shape. The fact is we do not know what her health condition is despite what it looks like.

    • Ms. Sidibe is not big. She is morbidly obese. And morbid obesity is not and will never be healthy. Ms. Sidibe is one of the most talented, classy young actors to grace our screens in years and I hope to have her with us for a good many years to come. The fat, fluffy, healthy sexy woman is a myth created by women like Monique who made a ton of money ridiculing “skinny bitches” and drilling the big, beautiful, fluffy woman idea into the heads of thousands of obese females before she used her millions to love weight and get healthy. I wish Ms. Sidibe the best because I look forward to enjoying her work for a long time, but speaking as a fitness pro and a woman who had sister who died from obesity related illnesses, trust me when I tell you that being obese and healthy is a myth.

      • Sorry about the typo. Used her millions to lose weight. As you know, you cant spend too much time checking your spelling on this site because it will refresh and delete your post. So irritating.

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