by G. Brown
There’s an old joke in newsroom about burying the lead which means a story is poorly crafted to the point where the most important fact of the story is buried at the end. Like the story about R&B singer Usher being sued by three people who allege the singer engaged in sexual contact without full disclosure that he is infected with herpes.
Somehow, the day after Quantasia Sharpton put herself out there, the jury of public opinion has decided that she’s lying because she’s fat and no self-respecting celebrity (or man) would have sex with her. Sharpton’s story is slime on some crucial details like exactly what damage was done to her since she says she does not have herpes, but still wants money for her pain…anguish…fear—not really sure what she wants money for. But instead of celebrities and reckless behavior being the take away or sexual diseases in the Black community, people are focused on the fact that the woman claiming to be the victim is fat. Reportedly, Sharpton shut down her IG and Twitter because of all the backlash she was getting because of a comedian’s post which dismissed her entire story as ‘you’re too fat for anybody to want you’..
After comedian Lil Duval’s post, a chorus of males and females joined in on fat shaming Sharpton. Granted, she set herself up for the roasting. Not so much by going public with her story, but many took issue with her claim that she’s concerned about her health. They don’t think someone can be obese and still concerned about health. Maybe Sharpton is dieting and exercising this very moment to gain better health. Or maybe she’s ok with her weight, but not ok with living the rest of her life with an STD. Why should her weight factor into this story at all? Who does it help? Certainly not Sharpton.
Brandy Vela never got to graduate from her Texas City High School because she shot herself six months before graduation. Vela’s family believe the 18 year old killed herself in front of them after months of being cyberbullied and fat shamed by classmates. Harriet Walsh hanged herself after the 17 year could no longer live with the torture of being fat shamed. Walsh’s family admit Harriet suffered from mental problems including low self-esteem. Though she was quite attractive and petite, Harriet saw herself as gross and ugly. We see people and laugh at them or make fun of them on social media all without knowing their full story. As the Apostle Saulos Tarsus (Paul) wrote in Corinthians, we ‘see through a glass, darkly’ without knowing all the pressures, pains, insecurities and heartbreak people are carrying around. We don’t know if the next word of encouragement could save their life or if they’re one more negative comment away from ending it all.
Articles celebrating singers and new moms Janet Jackson and Beyonce for losing the baby weight. Great, if Janet and Beyonce decided their personal best is to get back to pre-baby weight, that’s great and we should celebrate with them. But what if they hadn’t lost the weight…chances are they would have been insulted, humiliated and bullied just like Sharpton. Their talent, their skill, their worth as women aren’t diminished by 15 or 20 pounds. That’s something singer Rihanna knows. When a sports blogger tried to body shame RiRi a few weeks ago with an article titled “Is Rihanna Going To Make Being Fat The Hot New Thing“, the “Bad Girl” let a meme do her talking…
The article got such push back from RiRi fans and women in general that it was apparently taken down.
It’s up to a judge to decide if Sharpton is telling the truth about Usher. If you doubt her story based on details not adding up, that’s being logical. But don’t dismiss her claims because of her weight. Don’t bury the lead by getting distracted by jokes about how she looks, or sounds or whether she has weave in her hair. Remember when former FOX News anchor Bill O’Reilly tried to dismiss congresswoman Maxine Waters by joking about her hair comparing it to decease soul singer “James Brown’s wig”. Waters response was “I’m a strong black woman and I cannot be intimidated. I cannot be undermined. I cannot be thought to be afraid…” We can’t let people define us based on our skin color, gender or body type. It’s bad when White people like O’Reilly try to make Black people feel bad about the way we look. It’s even worse when Blacks try to make other Blacks feel bad about the way we look.