A Counterstory: Gabourey Sidibe Academy Award Acceptance Speech

7 Mar

CFC’er Sheri Davis imagines the kinds of cultural work a Gabby Sidibe Oscar Speech might do:

Presenter: And the Academy Award for performance by an actress in a leading role goes to Gabourey Sidibe.

Sidibe: Wow Oh My God Wow. I’m so um. Let me just read because I have so much to say and so many to thank.

I’d like to thank my mom for exposing me to the arts, teaching me to express myself and to love being a black girl and a black woman. I gotta thank my professors for encouraging me to pursue all my passions. I want to thank my dance instructor for teaching me to focus on what my body can do and Monique for being one of the few celebrities who has encouraged women to love their big beautiful bodies. Most importantly I want to thank Sapphire for being courageous enough to give voice to a young fat black female character and Lee Daniels for being courageous enough to push Precious Jones into the mainstream to tell her story.

I accept this award on behalf of Precious and her Each One Teach One crew who are African-American, Puerto Rican, Jamaican, lesbian, teen mothers, survivors, poets, cooks, supportive, loud, and fabulous young women. I accept this award on behalf of Celie, played by Whoopie Goldberg in The Color Purple, and all the black girls whose stories are often dismissed and ignored in the media and whose experiences are often marginalized or completely absent in scholarship, I was in college so I know from experience.

“I hope this film changes the industry a bit in my favor. I want to be funny. I want to be the romantic lead. I want to do something that nobody expects, because nobody expected anyone that looks like me to be the star of any movie. So I want to keep changing people’s minds.”

To all my big girls, I say throw your weight around and get active in the health at every size movement because loving ourselves means loving our bodies and knowing that we are worthy of being loved. To all my young sistahs, (I know I know I hear the music playing) but to my young sistahs I will continue to use my voice and my power to speak up for your right to be safe in your homes and communities, to be educated, to be nurtured, to be heard, to be loved, and to be free. Thank you. Thank you all so much for listening.

Audience: (on their feet clapping and cheering) Ga-bou-rey.

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