This is my opinion and I own it.

When I read the report that Gabby Sidibe was covering the 25th anniversary of Elle magazine’s October issue, I nearly jumped out of my office chair with utter excitement. To discover the Oscar-nominated uber talented actress would anchor an issue about Hollywood’s favorite 25 year-olds in celebration of Elle‘s quarter-life, well, this kind of made my still-fashionably tainted day.

But then I saw the cover. Sweet Jesus, be a fence! Who, what, when, and just why?

Gabby Sidibe’s hair has been flipped up and laid, particularly on her appearance on the “Oprah show.” We have also seen Gabby on a plethora of red carpets, giving it to em’; hands on hip, and that weave was just right. Now what happened at Elle? Gabby Sidibe is too poppin’ and Tinsletown buzzing to go out like that. The weave looks like an old used up brillo pad that has seen too many greasy pots and too many anti-humidity products.

I blame Gabby’s own team, her glam squad (she does have one right?), her BFF (you know every starlet has a sidekick on the set), and the entire Elle staff. I even blame the newly minted Black staffers, and the lone intern girl of color who likely giggled off on the side of the set, instead of quietly holding up a sign from the back of the room reading, “Gabby, girl, they got you looking wrong!”

Here we have yet another reason among a trillion why Black fashion, beauty, and creative directors are necessary. Clearly Elle dropped the cue or is on some demented hiring freeze.

The fashion industry is seemingly damned if they do, or damned if they don’t. We don’t want to come off ungrateful; we’d be the very ones complaining or dishing critical commentary on why no Black actresses are making glossy covers. We just ask one simple thing: always have an expert, weave/wig/Black hair specializing stylist on the set. Black women’s hair is sort of a serious matter.

Rant concluded. *turns and whips hair like Willow*

  • Lynwellyn


    This is going to be offensive, but you are ignorant. Willfully obese? Seriously? But all that aside, Why are you making an issue of equating race with obesity? They actually are really similar. Race, as a concept, did not exist prior to the 1900′s; similarly, obesity, as a concept, did not exist prior to the 1900′s. These are concepts introduced through prejudiced, a view you seem to understand pretty well. Difference is what guides the devaluation of black beauty and of those who are conceived as overweight.

    As for the weight issue and other races, White “overweight” and healthy weight models have been trying to break back into the fashion industry for years. We have not always had the same standards of beauty. Standards of beauty change and I think that is all that is being said. The only thing that you did with your comment Evelyn is reveal your ignorance and prejudice.

    Don’t hate, congratulate.

  • Emelyne

    @Lynwellyn: First off, hon, my name is Emelyne. Please read the name of the person you are attacking. Secondly, race as a concept may be relatively new but people of all the major races (black, caucasian, asian) have existed for thousands of years. The reason why obesity as a concept seems so new is because it IS new. There were virtually no obese people if any before the 1900′s. Do some research. the reason for this was the fact that all the different societies had one thing in common: work. people worked to keep their homes nice and labored to earn a living and provide for their children. Gluttony was also not considered an admirable attribute. We live in a society that has made it concievable to literally not even move and still earn a living and not even cook but still eat. Yes, Gabby is willfully obess. Read a biology book; color is not something one controls but even if a person has a predisposition for weight gain and might be fat, there is no excuse besides laziness and gluttony on that individual’s behalf to be obess. There is a big (pun intended) difference. From your skewed logic, one could also make an argument that we could also equate unintelligence, violence, and a host of other perfectly controllable things with race.

  • Akai (Akai.Santiago@Yahoo)

    Lynwellyn wrote: “…you are ignorant. …Race, as a concept, did not exist prior to the 1900′s; similarly, obesity, as a concept, did not exist prior to the 1900′s.”

    It’s always funny when someone calls another “ignorant” then proceeds to spew ignorance.

    Outside of the “mongoloid,” “negroid,” and “caucasoid” boxes established in the 1800′s, you’re off by a couple of centuries as race (as a social construct) did exist prior to the 1900′s. It began in the 1600′s with the Transatlantic slave trade’s furthering of race-based slavery.

    “Race” emerged as a social classification that reflected this greatly expanded sense of human separateness and differences. Theodore Allen (1997) argues that the “invention” of the white race took place after an early, but unsuccessful, colonial revolt of servants and poor freedmen known as Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676. Colonial leaders subsequently decided it would be useful to establish a division among the masses of poor to prevent their further collaboration against the governmental authorities. As African servants were vulnerable to policies that kept them in servitude indefinitely, and European servants had the protection of English law, colonial leaders developed a policy backed by new laws that separated African servants and freedmen from those of European background. Over the next half century, they passed numerous laws that provided resources and benefits to poor, white freedmen and other laws that restricted the rights of “Africans,” “mulattoes,” and “Indians.”

    Different words have been used to describe obesity, but you’re also dead wrong if you think the concept “did not exist prior to the 1900′s” as the ancient Chinese and Egyptians considered it a disease, Aztecs considered it a curse from the gods etc., and Emelyne is right. It’s an epidemic now and, in addition to the processed and fast foods of today that are laden with all kinds of unhealthy and fat-producing substances — you can’t compare today with the past without acknowledging the differences. There was a time that if people wanted to eat, they had to get out and work the land (exercise) to grow the food (healthier) in addition to other physical activities in and around the home. In other times kids used to go outside to play ball, ride bicycles and climb trees or – at least – had an hour of PE at school (which didn’t always have vending machines full of soda and junk), and if people weren’t walking to school, work, church or a friend’s home overall they were doing many other physical activities and getting way more exercise.

  • Jackie

    Whether they had a black fashion editor or a black beauty editor, I think they should hired a black hairstylist or someone with experience styling hair for women of color. I’ve been to a white salon before and they had absolutely no idea what to do with my hair. So it would have helped for them to hire a black hairstylist and even better to find out what Gabby’s beauty/styling needs would be before the photoshoot. We don’t wear our hair the same way and our skin needs different care as well. What looks hot on our fairer sister doesn’t always pull off on us.

  • Bumper

    I am sorry but this girl is obese and unattractive – I can’t think of one black woman who would want to look like her. I think most black young girls have enough self esteem not to look to her as a role model. I believe Elle portrayed her that way on purpose and they deserve all the criticism levelled at them, but what about Gabby herself? Is she blind? I know when I don’t look right in a photo and she should have had the sense to refuse permission for those awful pictures to be published. I feel she did herself a great dis-service.

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