Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Cute in the face, thick in the waist

The new season on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club began last Sunday, as some well-know, yet fading stars looked to tone up their bodies, and careers. With a cast including ghetto superstar Jackee Harry, irate, sophomore contender Snapple Lady Wendy Kaufman and resident weirdo Gary Busey, the show is built to not only teach people how to lose weight, but have audiences gawk at the strangeness of celebrities.

Toccara Jones, is the Dayton native who's top model body is atypical from industry standards. Jones appeared on the Tyra Bank's helmed America's Next Top Model, as the only African American plus size model, and hung tight as the lengthy, skinny girls scratched their way to the top. Now as Fit Club's doctors ask her to lose 50 pounds, labeling her the least in shape, many are surprised that the 200 pound model should be pushed to do such a thing.

Toccara has a shape that many a black woman holds, and she is openly unapologetic about her weight. A friend of mine suggested to me that the show is once again feeding into the stereotype that everything black is wack and it is out culture to be thick. Considering Ms. Jones' height as a model, she says at 150 pounds, she would be a size six. The fitness panel suggested that at her age, 23-years-old, she is headed toward a downward spiral of health issues, regarldess of how much junk is in the trunk.

Black women have battled for years to have the mainstream accept our bodaciousness, as just recently women like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez (she's not black, I know) and others can finally celebrate their roundness. It is white women, who shriek at the site of a little cellulite as even non-fat ones like once red-head Disney cutie Lindsay Lohan and Lionel Richie spawn Nicole mimic skeletons, trying to fit in with the Hollywood elite.

However, we as black people have to get over trying to be so damn cute. Heart disease, diabetes, the list goes on and on. We have it in disproportionate numbers. We have less cases of heart attack and stroke, yet die more. We treat diabetes like a right of passage, as early as the 30s. If Toccara ate healthy (as she admitted not doing) and exercised at least three times a week, and still carried those vanity pounds, I would say go girl. If she eats like crap, hoping to be one in a genre dominated by white girls, I say it's a bad example.

I am by no means the healthiest chick in Columbus, however I am working not to follow the swollen, amputated and artery-clogged women in my family. Being the same age as Toccara, I understand that prevention starts now, and disease is real. Having no legs because of diabetes is not cute.

Celebrity Fit Club is all in vain, as I am sure the contestants know what they are signed up for. Each is typecast to mimic the contestants from last season (except for Ms. Snapple, who obviously couldn't be reprised). Hopefully Toccara can keep it real to her plus-sized model roots, yet adopt a low maintenance, healthy lifestyle for fabulous women on the go.


At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Dawn1 said...

I am confused w/whats goin on in our pop culture now. I mean I thought the "waif look", & heroin chic was out?!

Also, it's so weird when u look @ the numbers of girls by their race how happy they are with their weight.

Black Women get healthy, but there's nothing wrong @ all havin an ass that makes u look half reindeer!

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