I heart Jozi: Black, fat and loving it!

2011-12-17 08:19

I recently watched a play called The Fat Black Women Sing. Now don’t run away just yet, this play was not the regular rant about fuller-figured women reclaiming a space denied them by our kind of society. It was actually quite refreshing and entertaining.

The play has been a long journey for writer-director Napo Masheane, and one can easily see the hard work and time put into the production. The outfits were gorgeous, the performances were big and full of life, and the set was well thought out and placed to complement the show without being too invasive.

The play sees eight full-figured women sing and dance in a way that proved just how beautiful, sensual and sexy women are, regardless of their shape. While the biggest surprise in the play’s three-women band was just how different Tebogo Sedumedi (HHP’s bassist who is always in baggy pants and a T-shirt) looks in a dress and heels. She looked fantastic and that, coupled with her killer bass guitar skills, made her a highlight of the show.

But I wonder: How do you cast such a play? Do you put out an ad saying “Looking for fat black women who can sing”?

Is the word “fat” rude? And do I need to hesitate before using the word?

I guess all these questions reveal plenty about how I view weight and body image, but let’s leave that for another blog.

These women proudly call themselves and each other fat with none of the nastiness we’ve come to attach to the word. I sat and watched as women shaped nothing like those on magazine covers and music videos but rather shaped like the women who raised me, taught me life’s little secrets, women who have shaped my own femininity.

And for once, instead of seeing these women as just ordinary, I saw them as phenomenal, beautiful, talented and sexy. And it felt good.

The production is not without fault. It seems all shows that aim to encourage women to feel good about themselves still have that good feeling deeply rooted in how we look and how we carry our own bodies. Even this play did not escape the notion that our beauty lies in our hips, breasts and thighs.

It would be nice to see a play/movie/advert about the beauty and worth of black women that had nothing to do with our beautiful big butts.

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