A Resounding 'No' for 'Norbit'
TONY COX, host:
You heard in our last segment how Eddie Murphy did not win an Oscar for his role in "Dreamgirls." Now, commentator Jasmine Cannick says his most recent role in the film "Norbit" is one she's less than pleased with.
Ms. JASMINE CANNICK (Commentator): Every day I wake up and look in the mirror, I notice several things. The first is I'm black, followed by the fact that I'm a woman. It's usually around this time that I realize that I don't have on my glasses, and so after reaching for them and putting them on, I'm hit with the awful truth that I'm fat, too.
So what does this have to do with anything? America is obsessed with thin, and quite frankly, it's still in. Aside from Jennifer Hudson, Monique, Queen Latifah and Jill Scott, positive portrayals of plus-sized black women in the media are hard to come by.
Oprah used to be the president and Star Jones the VP of the big beautiful women's club, but they've since ditched us to get in with the thin club. So here comes Eddie Murphy and the release of his latest endeavor, "Norbit" that has him performing several different roles, including that of an obese, mean, black woman.
Thanks, Eddie. As if black women don't already have an image problem. Not only are we fat, but we're mean too. Being fat is no laughing matter. I can tell you because I speak from firsthand experience. Everyday is a constant challenge from getting dressed to dealing with the fact that Americans' obsession with skinny people causes good people with great hearts to go unnoticed - like me.
I'm a woman and I like to shop, so it's not easy going into the mall knowing that aside from the shoe stores, there are very few places that I can go into that offer anything more than a muu muu for people in my size. Now, while I can hide the fact that I'm a lesbian if I choose to, it's kind of hard to hide the 100 extra pounds I'm carrying.
A little known fact is that in America, 70 percent of black women are overweight. Films like "Norbit" do absolutely nothing to help combat the issue of obesity in the black community, nor does it do anything to uplift the black female.
On one side, we've got scantily clad black women prancing across our TV screens, bouncing to lyrics too misogynistic to repeat in this editorial. And then there's Murphy and "Norbit." What's a girl to do? And in between all of this, what's the message we're conveying to our children about being a woman?
If obesity is an issue for black women, then it's definitely an issue for our children. At the end of the day, Eddie isn't solely to blame for "Norbit," but he is the face of the film. Before the film reached theaters, it was green lighted by a group of people, hopefully none of which were black women, who didn't care about the effect of the film on people like you or me, just the effect that have on their pocketbook.
And I didn't need to see Eddie Murphy in a two-piece to remind me of what I don't need to wear on the beach. Trust me, I know. So am I going to see "Norbit?" No. I think I'd rather stay in and watch Chandra Wilson represent women my size on "Grey's Anatomy."
COX: Jasmine Cannick is an activist and commentator living in Los Angeles.