Last week Howard Stern, doing what he does best, caused uproar when he called Precious star Gabourey Sidibe “the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen.” He urged the 26-year-old to seek help because “obesity” is a life-threatening condition and also questioned her ability to land any more roles in Hollywood because of her size, saying “she’s never going to be in another movie.”
Jessica Simpson called the comments disrespectful, Whoopi Goldberg urged Stern to focus on Sidibe’s talent, not her dress size, and Sidibe’s mother, Alice Tan Ridley, told Stern to “Get a life!”
Ridley went on to say, “I don’t see him giving jobs out to anybody, so why should we care what he says?” She added, “He might not hire her, but someone else will.”
Looks like she’s right. According to Access Hollywood, Sidibe has landed a recurring role in Showtime’s dark comedy series “The Big C.” The show stars Laura Linney as Cathy, a repressed suburban teacher/wife/mom who vows to reclaim her left after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sidibe will play a quick-witted student in Cathy’s class. The series is set to debut in late summer.
Never one to take Howard Stern’s side on anything, I do recognize that Sidibe runs the risk of being pigeonholed into roles that are designed for larger women. And those roles are typically in “big girls need love too” comedies that leave you feeling that somehow the full-figured star was not a self-confident heroine, but simply the butt of the joke. However, perhaps Sidibe will be the one to change that. I sure hope so.
Meanwhile, if Sidibe does decide she wants to lose weight I hope it’s because she believes it will make her healthier and not because she believes she has to look like this to succeed.
The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, however, reminds us that you can’t tell if a person is healthy simply by looking at him or her. “Fat does not equal disease and thin does not equal healthy,” NAAFA spokeswoman Peggy Howell told TMZ.com. “Achievements come in all sizes.”