joan cusack gabourey sidibe
I mean like, really public beating up on Gabourey Sidibe- back in 2010, “shock jock” Howard Stern called the Oscar-nominated actress “enormous” and “the size of a planet” and said “everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie,” adding that Sidibe “should have gotten the Best Actress award because she’s never going to have another shot.
(Amusingly, Stern’s datapoints were that Oprah “lied” to Sidibe by telling her she could be successful as a fat, black woman, and sought agreement from co-host Robin Quivers, who is also… a fat, black woman.) But when Sidibe appeared on Watch What Happens with Andy Cohen earlier this week, it was Cohen who was gobsmacked when Sidibe related her tale of meeting Joan Cusack.
Sidibe said she was a fan of the comedic actress, who has always seemed cool. But the story the Tower Heist star tells (defending Cusack, mind) is so sadly representative of what women of color, size or both often have to deal with just for being slightly different. Sidibe explains:
“What celebrity was I disappointed by? Oh, and it’s not in a mean way, because I know that she meant well. I met Joan Cusack, who is my favorite favorite- I love her- but, it was before I became [famous] or whatever.”
“I was at some industry party, and she says, ‘Are you an actress?’ And I said, ‘Yeah!’ And she says, ‘Oh honey, you should really quit the business, it’s so image-conscious.’”
Luckily for the star, Gabourey Sidibe did not heed Cusack’s advice, and is set to appear next in Seven Psychopaths with fellow unknowns Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, and Christopher Walken.
Sidibe was born in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, and was raised in Harlem. Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley, is an American R&B and gospel singer who appeared on the fifth season of America's Got Talent on June 15, 2010. Her Senegal-born father, Ibnou Sidibe, is a cab driver. She has attended Borough of Manhattan Community College, City College of New York, and Mercy College.
In Precious, Sidibe plays the central character, Claireece "Precious" Jones, an illiterate, obese 16-year-old girl with two children (both of which are the products of being raped by her father) trying to escape abuse at the hands of her mother. The film won numerous awards, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award. On December 15, 2009, she was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her performance in Precious. The next month she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
In 2011 Sidibe was in the film Tower Heist and voiced a party girl character in "Hot Water", the season 7 premiere of American Dad. She also stars in the music video for "Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)" by indie pop band Foster the People. Sidibe currently appears in the Showtime network series entitled The Big C.
During an interview, Sidibe reported that before landing her role in the 2009 film, Precious, Joan Cusack advised her that the entertainment industry was not for her and to quit, leaning over and stating "Oh honey, you should really quit the business.