Monday, December 14, 2009

Fall 2009: The Season of the Overweight Black Woman

 The first and probably the last time you will 
ever see a picture of Mo'Nique on this page

 Now I could have said fat, but I trying to be politically correct for a change.  Fall 2009 has clearly been a time of unparalleled success for "big-boned" women in entertainment.   Think about this for a moment.

The movie "Precious," which is gaining critical acclaim and praise features two overweight black women as main characters .  It's possible that both Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique will earn Oscar nominations for their roles.

Overweight women are also having success on television.  Shows such as "Glee," "Community," and "Parks and Recreation" all have this type of woman as a character.  They're not just there to be a punchline to a joke, but are actually legitimate characters.

I can not recall a time when the entertainment industry appreciated overweight black women this much.  It's clear that Oprah paved the way for overweight black women in entertainment as America lets her into their living rooms each afternoon.

Without her, audiences would not be as comfortable with these type of characters on screen.  Giving away free cars like this doesn't hurt either.

Of course, that doesn't mean the perpetuated stereotypes for overweight black women such as being sassy and singing well have gone away.  The characters on "Glee" (obviously she would have to sing well to be on this show) and "Community" do both these things, and the character on "Community" is sassy.

But at least they have these characters in their shows.  Trying to find an overweight black woman on CBS programming is like reading a "Where's Waldo" book.  Instead they occasionally show black men like Shemar Moore on "Criminal Minds," and the black guy from "CSI NY" who my sister claims "look like models pretending to be cops."

All that said, this Fall may indicate a little bit of change happening in the entertainment industry.  One might say that overweight black women are finally being judged for the content of their character instead of the content of their stomachs.

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