An Open Letter to Tyrese From a “Fat Girl”

7 May

April Dawn Ricchuito


I loved Tyrese in The Fast & the Furious, but he’s is no Dr. Phil and perhaps he should quit trying to be.

In Tyrese’s latest interview with, the singer turned actor/author launched a brutal tirade against “fat” people. I’d have never guessed Tyrese to be a “chubby chaser,” but I certainly didn’t expect an author of self help books to be a “fat basher.” When asked if he felt an obligation to help people live a healthier lifestyle, Tyrese’s answer was gut wrenching and vomit inducing:

“No two situations are the same. If you are fat and nasty and you don’t like the way you look, do something about it. It’s simple.

When you take a shower and you put your fat, nasty body in the shower and by the time you get out, the mirrors are all steamed up so you don’t look at what you did to yourself. That may sound offensive or insensitive but ultimately, you are big as hell because you have earned that sh*t. You worked your a** off to eat everything in sight to get big as hell.

If you got a problem with the way you look, then you need to do something about it. Excuses sound best to the people that’s making them up.”

And now he’s offered somewhat of an apology on Twitter, saying:

“I’m not apologizing for what I said I’m apologizing for the bad choice of wording and execution of my point around obesity …/Y’all seen my documentary I was brought in this world from a plus size mother and my sisters are plus size as well.. I am concerned always/We always associate addictions to cocaine, Heroine, and or alcoholic abuse… Food is the #1 addiction in American #TruthTweet/This is what happens when you decide to not just be an artist or an actor but use your heart… It creates controversy and unwanted energy/I’m done with the topic… I’m sure my last round of tweets won’t be posted cause the goal is to get hits and traffic on your sites.”

While I’m all for empowering people to take charge of their own health, wellness, and fitness, there is nothing empowering about calling anyone the f word, nasty, or shaming people because of their weight or appearance. And not all people who are struggling with a weight issue are struggling because they cannot control their eating habits. Just like you said yourself Tyrese, no two situations are the same. Some people, (such as myself) struggle with a thyroid disorder; others have genetic issues that predispose them to weight gain, and these aren’t excuses I’m offering up–it’s science.

The old adage “What Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than Sally” rings true, though. Gibson’s comments reveal more about himself than anyone else–particularly his own feelings of blame, shame, guilt, contempt, and disgust for himself–he revealed in a 2009 interview that he at one time had a severe body image issue, and wouldn’t even face himself in the mirror.

“How lucky is it that mirrors steam up after a hot shower?” Tyrese Gibson asks. “I didn’t have to look at what I’d done to myself.” And every morning for a year, he didn’t look.

Gibson went on to offer his own tips for weight loss and becoming comfortable with body image: establishing self love, maintaining control and working at your own pace.

Tyrese, those are great tips. But in the future, please don’t project your personal issues on the rest of the population–the bulk of America who is struggling with obesity. Self love is, as I’m sure you know, hard enough sometimes, without the media and celebrities force feeding us a bunch of negative bullshit about our less than perfect bodies, lives, partners, whatever. We can feel bad about ourselves all by ourselves, without you adding to it. Your negative comments are one thing this “fat girl” will not be eating. Bullshit, like yours, sounds best to the people who are spewing it.

A large part of making shift happen is accepting people for who they are and where they are; meeting them where they’re at. If “fat and nasty” is where they’re at, your comments aren’t going to help. Self love is necessary at every step of the journey; negative self talk and degrading yourself while looking in the mirror is in no way, shape, or form self love. Refusal to look in a mirror is not self love. Accepting the “fat and nasty” is. In fact, perhaps one of the greatest acts of self love is to find compassion for others–something your comments greatly lacked.

I am not asking you to feel sorry for anyone. The bottom line is that everyone should be accountable for their diet and everyone should exercise. However, losing weight is hard–even more so when you have odds against you, so be it a thyroid problem, a genetic predisposition to weight gain, a problem with emotional overeating, depression, an eating disorder, whatever.

What I am asking you to do, however, is to have consideration. Don’t have pity; have consideration.

We aren’t “fat and nasty” and we don’t eat everything in sight, which is why your comments were a little bit hard to digest. I have now let them go where they belong, Tyrese–the shitter.

And now I’m going to the gym.

-April Dawn Ricchuito


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