An old white dude once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Gabourey Sidibe, the de facto face of the body acceptance movement, doesn’t want any of that responsibility.
On the most recent episode of “Empire,” the writers made a “bold” move when they included a scene of Sidibe’s character Becky having sex with her boyfriend, J Poppa. The scene was refreshing because it reminded us that, yes, plus-size women have — and more importantly, enjoy — sex, too. The scene shouldn’t have been a big deal, but within seconds, so-called fans of the show started fat-shaming the 32-year-old actress.
“That scene was a lot bigger of a deal than I thought it would be,” Sidibe told MTV News ahead of the Reel Works Gala Benefit in New York City, for which she is being honored Wednesday (Nov. 11) evening. “I thought it was something fun. It turns out it’s a movement now, which is very strange, but delightful.”
The scene not only spawned the trending hashtag #MyFatSexStory, but Sidibe herself felt compelled to respond to the drama on EW. “Also, yes. I, a plus sized, dark-skinned woman, had a love scene on primetime television,” she wrote. “I had the most fun ever filming that scene even though I was nervous. But I felt sexy and beautiful and I felt like I was doing a good job.”
Shortly after Sidibe posted her response, the conversation on her timeline started to shift. Since her Oscar-nominated performance in the 2009 drama “Precious,” Sidibe has been hailed as the face of the body acceptance movement. Her groundbreaking and beautifully subversive love scene on TV’s most-watched drama only cemented her place, but Sidibe has no interest in being the face of any movement.
“I don’t want any responsibility ever. I’d prefer to pretend to be a 4-year-old. I’m not purposely trying to be the face of anything,” she said. “This week has been very strange because I did one love scene, and I said one paragraph about it, and now my Twitter has been blowing up for the last five days. That’s a lot of responsibility!”
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