Queen Latifah: I’ve been asked to lose weight for roles, but I’m what people look like

Queen Latifah is part of a new campaign by Novo Nordisk to help raise awareness of medical bias against larger people. There’s an ad featuring Latifah as a doctor surrounded by nurses, a patient in distress and a patient’s partner. Latifah is lecturing the partner about not taking the patient’s issues seriously, saying that stigma and bias contribute to lack of medical care. There’s such a need for the message, that overweight patients are dismissed and their symptoms missed. I’ve heard so many stories of people getting no help from doctors and emergency rooms and being told to lose weight while their textbook symptoms went undiagnosed.

Latifah stars in The Equalizer, season two of which premiered last night. I watched most of season one and it’s a fun show about a vigilante and her team. The performances are great, particularly by Latifah, Chris Noth and Lorraine Toussaint, who plays Latifah’s aunt. It’s so fun to see ger kicking ass, riding motorcycles and looking beautiful on screen. You just take for granted that she’s amazing and can do all those things. That’s all preface to this story that Latifah has been asked to lose weight for roles. She opened up about that in a new interview with Yahoo! This is disappointing, but not surprising.

She’s been asked to lose weight for roles
“I have felt that pressure and I’ve literally been asked to lose weight, through my people the word came,” Latifah says. “Luckily I have people who are like, ‘Yeah, that’s not going to happen. She’s not losing weight for you.'”

“It made me angry because I felt like I was fine. I’m what people look like,” Latifah says while reflecting on the pressure that she faced. “You want me to lose weight? Why? So there’s a whole bunch of women out there who won’t have someone to relate to on TV, is that what you’re trying to get at? Honestly, I knew by me standing up, I was actually standing up for some other people.”

On the message behind her Novo Nordisk campaign
A lot of it is just that people are misinformed or uninformed,” she explains. “If they could understand what is really underlying it, including ourselves. Judging ourselves, shaming ourselves, saying we’re not good enough, we haven’t worked hard enough, we didn’t try enough. No, sometimes it’s not you, it is your genetics. It is your DNA. It’s your body.”

[From Yahoo!]

Latifah is what women look like and we need to see more women of color and women of average size, and all sizes, on screen. Maybe this will change the more women and people of color start to be showrunners and producers. It will also hopefully change the more women like Latifah open up about it. We need to shame the a-holes who do this to actresses and make them realize that they’re going to be outed for it. I’m glad that Latifah’s team has her back, but I’m sure she wouldn’t have it any other way. Now I’m excited to see season two of The Equalizer!

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25 Responses to “Queen Latifah: I’ve been asked to lose weight for roles, but I’m what people look like”

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  1. Stef says:

    Love her, she’s a legend and I’ll likely enjoy anything she’s in. Glad she sticks to her guns when it comes to her weight and other people’s body expectations.

    Question for everyone:
    What’s your favourite Queen Latifah role?

    Mine is Set It Off. She won me over with that movie! It’s a classic.

  2. Mimi says:

    Dating myself but I remember her as a rapper and even then she stood out for her charisma and charm. I love that she’s always gotten the guy, in her movies and tv shows, because she is just as beautiful and sexy as any other leading lady.

    • Sid says:

      Queen Latifah really is stunning. Everytime she shows up on a red carpet she is one of the most beautiful people there.

    • Blueskies says:

      Dating myself, too but she was a gifted MC! Amazing flow on Ladies First. I was, and still am, a big fan of all the Native Tongues artists.

  3. Lightpurple says:

    Love her!

  4. BnlurkN4ever says:

    I’ve always enjoyed her because, she’s always kept it real. My favorite role of hers was in the movie, “Set it off”. All the ladies were excellent, but her role was my favorite and felt the most grounded to me. What I love about her is that she disappears into every role she plays, it’s the character, not QL that you end up watching.

    She definitely looks like the women we are used to seeing everyday and it is important to see that represented on screen. Every woman is not a size six, some of us are 12, 14, 16, 18+ and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  5. Looty says:

    Latifah is NOT what everyone looks like, she is one of the most beautiful women alive, and she’s getting more beautiful with age. I’m not trying to be nice, I mean it quite literally.

  6. Tom says:

    Stories within one week of Queen Latifah and Whoopi Goldberg being fat shamed …. OH HELL NO

    We must bow down before these intelligent, talented, accomplished, BEAUTIFUL women.

  7. JJ says:

    Love her. I actually felt this, watching her in Stranger than fiction did a lot to help me feel like I could be a larger size and still dress really professional and cool if I wanted to. I don’t know, I hadn’t seen larger women in films/tv wearing nice suits etc. Most of the women I’d see on tv, like in most procedural shows for example, are the thinnest women anywhere. (Why I love Fargo too…)

  8. MJM says:

    Love her and love The Equalizer. She looks great!

  9. chitowner says:

    I have loved her since U-N-I-T-Y and I think ‘Living Single’ is a classic. I love that she has always felt sexy and valued at any size. I think any time you have a media-related job, you are expected to be ‘ideal’. Rich white men have perpetuated a beauty standard that may change a bit now and then, but will persist for generations.

  10. AMJ says:

    I can’t with an industry that thinks that she’s too big. She’s perfectly normal. SHE was asked to lose weight, but HW is completely fine with letting a shockingly underweight actress (and with some visible ED red flags) to star in a kids’ series (Stranger Things, I’m looking at you). How can young people have healthy attitude to their bodies if this is how the media work?