Gabourey Sidibe slams writers who brand her characters with offensive names on screen

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
Sidibe… slams screenwriters – Credit: Getty
Sidibe… slams screenwriters – Credit: Getty

Gabourey Sidibe has taken aim at screenwriters who think it’s OK to deride her on-screen characters offensive names.

The star of ‘Empire’ took to the stage at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, for a panel discussion hosted by Glamour magazine during which she let rip.

“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 said.

“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.’

“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.”

(Credit: Lionsgate)
(Credit: Lionsgate)

Sidibe, who made her acting debut in the 2009 movie ‘Precious’ and earned herself an Oscar nomination in the process, recently announced that she had undergone weight-loss surgery, following bouts of depression, anxiety and bulimia.

She was also diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year.

Speaking to People magazine about her decision to have the surgery, she said: “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.

“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.

“I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time being mad at it. Because 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.

“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.”

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