Gabourey Sidibe Blasts Writers Who Label Her Characters With Offensive Names

Gabourey Sidibe speaking at SXSW on March 11, 2017. (Photo: Sarah Kerver/Getty Images for Glamour)

Gabourey Sidibe has a message for all of the writers out there: Stop labeling characters she plays with derogatory names. During a visit to the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, the Empire star participated in a panel discussion led by Glamour magazine. It was Sidibe’s first time at the annual event, and she made quite an impression with her impassioned speech.

“As a woman in a different body, I get a lot of scripts and offers where someone has to make mention of my body immediately,” she explained. “Someone wrote a script with me in mind, and the first time someone other than my character was talking about my character they say ‘this hippo’ or ‘this elephant.’ And I’m like, ‘Are you serious? You wrote something for me and you’re calling me a hippo and all of the animals.'”

The 33-year-old actress went on to say, “This is my body. This has been my body my entire life, and in my life my friends and my colleagues are not constantly talking about my body, but in most of my roles somebody has to make mention of it.”

Gabourey Sidibe in May 2016, before she had weight loss surgery. (Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images)

The commentary comes soon after she revealed she’s undergone weight loss surgery and explained that she’d decided to go under the knife not for vanity, but for health reasons. After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year and struggling with both bulimia and depression, Sidibe said enough was enough. “I just didn’t want to worry. I truly didn’t want to worry about all the effects that go along with diabetes. I genuinely [would] worry all the time about losing my toes,” she told People. She went on to say that she regretted wasting so much time being mad at her body. “If I’d started treating it better sooner, I wouldn’t have spent so many years hating myself. I wouldn’t have allowed that negative energy to be around me.” Perhaps her directive to the writers of her scripts is related to clearing out even more of that negative energy.

Recently, Sidibe has decidedly been embracing her form, posting loads of Instagram selfies and posing for Nylon magazine in a bra and corset. “Life is really, truly all about choices and decisions. I wish I’d made the choice to love my body sooner, but I finally have,” she explained to People about her decision to take the drastic action to lower her weight. “I think I saw my body as being outside of myself; it was like an enemy, beside me not in me. And now I’ve won.”


And now that she’s won, all the Hollywood writers better get with the program.


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