We have the media to thank for becoming more accustomed to vastly rigid and invariable standards of beauty. So when we see successful celebrities who don’t fit the standard of appeal exuberantly portraying self confidence and self love we tend to root for them. Gabourey Sidibe, the “Precious” Oscar nominated break out star is a prime example. When you see her in interviews or on the red carpet she hardly depicts that she’s worried about her size. But shouldn’t she be?
A few weeks ago, stand-up comedian and actor Patrice O’Neal died at age 41 from complications of a stroke he suffered back in October. O’Neal was known for his struggle with diabetes and weight issues and his challenges were often depicted in his work. The Comedy Central regular is just one of many who have died at an early age due to weight related ailments.
The prideful overweight rapper, Fat Joe who was diabetic for 16 years and once weighed 460 pounds is now on a journey to lose weight. The heart attack induced death of fellow MC and close friend Big Pun who weighed 780 pounds at the time of his passing heavily affected the Bronx born MC .
Joe recently told CNN that he just witnessed six of his friends who were all around his weight die of heart attacks.
“I always took pride in being fat. That’s why my name is Fat Joe. And I always represented for the big people. But I realized at a certain point all my big people were dying,” he explained to CNN’s Sanjay Gupta.
He’s now working out at the gym and eating healthier foods, which has caused him to lose 100 pounds. Although, he’s dropping the weight Fat Joe says he has no intention on dropping his name.
Jennifer Hudson has recently received a lot of criticism for losing weight and endorsing Weight Watchers but, doing so has made her a much healthier person. In the black community we love to accept our curves and celebrate them but, accepting and celebrating being unhealthy is more than problematic.
We have to learn where to draw the line. When self acceptance turns into accepting being unhealthy it’s like accepting an early death sentence. It’s great to see people in Hollywood who don’t fit the typical body type but, when those people are unhealthy the images become dangerous. It’s a very fine line to cross.
Although, self esteem at any size is beautiful and should be applauded being overly confident while being unhealthy could send out the wrong message. One should always be comfortable in their own skin but, when that skin houses layers of fat that could possibly cause diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, a stroke, or a heart attack there’s a problem. So how can overtly confident and overweight celebrities embrace self love and self acceptance without promoting unhealthy lifestyles?
- Admittance – Admit that being overweight is unhealthy and admit where exactly your issues lie. Patrice O’Neal often talked about his weight issues during his stand-up comedy shows.
- Take a Pledge- Take a pledge to live healthy and not just to fit Hollywood’s standards of beauty. Do it to live!
- Share- Share the journey of your new healthy lifestyle if you choose to change. Fat Joe is now sharing his healthier lifestyle with the world. Believe it or not people are watching.
- Continue Confidence- Continue to be just as confident as you were overweight while losing the weight. Don’t be afraid to talk about the struggles during interviews.
- Know and explain the Difference- Know the difference between losing weight to be healthy vs. losing weight just to fit a standard. Being healthy goes beyond just trying to fit the typical Hollywood standard of beauty.