Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Morning Edition - 4/18/06
Phat Girlz; Fat or Skinny, Role Reversal Abuses Don’t Make for Good Cinema
Credit where credit is due, writing and directing credit for Phat Girlz go to Nnegest Likke’, so I won’t give Mo’Nique the lashing she deserves for this poorly written and completely transparent sham of a flick. Mo’Nique is Jazmin Biltmore, an aspiring fashion designer who works at a department store and dreams of becoming a plus-size designer with the trendy big girl in mind. That’s an admirable cause, but the storyline goes completely awry when Jazmin wins a trip to Palm Springs and takes along her two buddies – her cousin Mia (Joyful Drake) a size 2 self-obsessed sistah; and Stacey (Kendra Johnson) her best pal and frumpy fat girl sidekick. While in Palm Springs the gals find themselves staying at the same five-star resort as a foreign medical convention. Voila’! Enter Tunde (newcomer Jimmy Jean-Louis) a Nigerian doctor attending the convention with his Nigerian medical delegation. Tunde is a stunningly beautiful, muscle-bound and intelligent man who finds Jazmin to be a goddess. If you haven’t guessed it, the Nigerian culture sees heavier women's size as a sign of beauty and wealth and find Mia (previously seen as a show stopper) as sickly and undernourished. From this point on, we’re treated to repeated messages of thin as evil, fat as beautiful and the divide as insurmountable. The movie becomes a fat person’s dream of redemption at the expense of any and everyone that has ever made a snide remark about folks who are heavy. Jazmin is worshipped by Tunde and she is in her own private heaven. Simultaneously another doctor has taken a liking to Stacey and brings, the already stunning beauty who hides behind thick glasses and tent-ish clothing, to life in the film – he also freaks the girl half to death; to the point that mixed messages about the virtues and morals of heavier women are brought to question. All this to say that the film could have been written with the real message and the true goal at heart which is – no one (regardless of size) should ever be made fun of or ostracized; there is beauty in everyone and a lid for every pot; be healthy and realize that whether you’re a size 2 or 22 you’re as fierce as you want to be. Unfortunately you’ll experience years of retribution with the big girls dishing the same abuse they’ve been on the receiving end of for years. Oh yeah, at times, you'll laugh.
DC Does the Body Good
Call it a connection that goes beyond the physical and is more of an emotional and mental exhale. Washington, DC, which served as my home for over eight years, still has the power to relax and invigorate my spirit. Last Thursday afternoon I arrived in DC, luxuriated in my hotel room – special thank you to Angie M. for the hook-up – before heading out to an evening of reconnects, new-connects and sweaty dancing. The music was classic DC – gospel-house infused with a heavy bass that gets your inners vibrating. Friday’s lunch at the Daily Grill was a huge success. I touched-base with my former ABA Crew and we had a great time catching-up on everyone’s life. Afterward, my visit to the ABA offices gave me the opportunity to see many of the wonderful folks that I called my coworkers for so many years. By Friday night I was rearing to go again and DC is still is a great city for partying. A special wink-wink to new acquaintances Craig and Mark for showing a Big Apple bighead how it’s done south of the Mason Dixon line. Saturday was a day for old pals. After a blood pumpin’ work-out at the Washington Sport Club, I joined Sean, Adam, Jimmy and Tom for a late lunch at Outback Steakhouse. Can someone say, “More red meat than the law allows”? Sean, the Mariah mix-CDs are off-da-hook! Saturday night was a night to remember. Deviating from my original plan of wearing a scandalous see-through short set, I wore cargo shorts and a muscle shirt that did the job just as exquisitely. Within the first hour of arriving at the club I was shown to some southern hospitality by “field-hand” Benny Ray. I’m not even kidding with this one folks. Benny is 6’4”, 250 lbs. of solid Hershey southern goodness. After buying drinks he flashed those pearly whites and had me on the dance floor soaked and overheated in a lickety-split. Sunday I awoke to a memorable sausage and biscuit breakfast… no pun intended… before meeting with my soul wifey Marcia. We caught Mo’Nique’s Phat Girlz before I joined my sister Taqua for Easter dinner. I’ll stop the play-by-play here, to protect the innocent. Thank you to my second-home folks for making an aging Puerto Rican man feel like he got his groove back.
Although the American media tries to impress the shapely 5 foot 9 inch, size 4 model body, 40% of American women stand under 5’4” and are a size 14 or larger. Moreover, many women who battle their weight daily should know that there bodies are not cut out to be this petite and slender size. This isn’t to say that if you are morbidly obese or obviously unhealthy you should continue down this path of destruction because fat is suddenly “in.” There is a healthy medium between a size 4 and a 24 and American women need to find their place in that spectrum.
How will it help to create a healthy body image for all women if we shift the trend from demonizing fat women to demonizing thin women? Should we stress healthy bodies at any size and beauty in all shapes, rather than equating either with being heavy or being thin? Are we being real or hypocritical when we begin to find positive words to describe unhealthy and uncomfortable girth? Can we change the American perception that draws a direct correlation between being heavy and a high caloric consumption?
Keep passin’ the open windows…