black women

Was Gabourey Sidibe’s role on Empire reduced because of her look?

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By Victor Ochieng

The Fox network’s “Empire” is a big hit this season. People have fallen in love with the lively characters featured on the show, but not everyone has been popular with audiences.  There is information floating around that Precious star Gabourey Sidibe has been fired from the show.  The rumored reason is that viewers do not like her on the program because of her weight.

Considering what has been happening in the first few episodes, it’s clear that Sidibe has been playing a pivotal role in the show. However, her roles diminished after episode 4.

Word has it that the first few were pilot episodes and were meant to gauge the show’s performance before making relevant changes based on the audience’s response. Interestingly, the show became an instant hit and is breaking records.

That’s good news for FOX so far. But it still makes sense that the show’s producer, Lee Daniels, would be keen on filtering his cast to keep up the popularity and maintain a huge audience. And if the rumors are true, Sidibe is one of those characters whom Daniels has decided to weed out of his cast.

Citing Sidibe’s weight as a distraction would be a bit farfetched, particularly because Sidibe has done nothing but deliver perfectly in her role. At the same time, Daniels knew her weight before bringing her in, especially since he was the director of her breakout movie, Precious, so turning around to kick her out because of that would raise eyebrows.

Sidibe has had a good time with the “Empire” cast. She’s been posting a lot of pictures of herself with actor Jussie Smollett. The two have become so close that on one picture she posted of Smollett, she lovingly labeled him her ‘Valentine.’

For the audience, the show is picking up even more steam. It seems as though everyone is enjoying watching the new team do their thing and even hearing about the actors’ antics off-camera. Axing a character may upset a few fans, but viewers usually adjust to the changes.

After all is said and done, it is important to note that no official communication has been received from either Sidibe or Daniels on the matter.




  1. ericaf

    February 18, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    BS story. She didn’t just get big, he knew her size when he casted her for the role. You ” black” media outlets are a disgrace. You fat shame more than any other race. Disgusting.

    • madpoet

      February 18, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      I agree. He knew the Sista was Perfectly Plump before this shit blew up! I like her Character, it adds some realness to the show! Every damn body cant be fine as hell like Taraji & Light Skin on the show! Bring the Chocolate Girl next door back Lee Daniels!!!

    • DJ

      February 19, 2015 at 7:24 am

      I agree. I am so angry at Black folks. I love this show and I love Gabby in it. I will stop watching if she is removed because of her weight. It’s ridiculous. This woman is a talented and beautiful actress. Leave her alone.

  2. Ann G.

    February 18, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I’m sure her weight had nothing to do with it considering Lee has produced her before, maybe something happened that everyone including the media is unaware of.

  3. Thinkingwoman

    February 18, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Everything in life is about weight. even though she has a realistic characters doesn’t mean society or the masses want to accept that visually. I feel that she wasn’t hurting the show and adds something being down to earth and real. some of the other characters are not as believable.

    • DJ

      February 19, 2015 at 7:31 am

      Every thing in life is about weight? No. Maybe in your sad world, but this is not a universal value for everyone. She’s a great actress in an acting role. That is what matters here. She was cast and is doing a great job. We’ll see if she is removed due to fat-shaming. If so, you will see those ratings on the nation’s hottest tv show plummet so fast. Watch the fire storm that hits as not everything is truly about weight. Some people ride for fairness and social justice, and more people than you think.

  4. Steven Even

    February 19, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Everybody seems to be forgetting that FOX is a network owned, and run by white people who traditional never liked black people or fat people. If she is too black or fat for them, then she goes period. Its a wonder that the show is on FOX as it is.

    • DJ

      February 19, 2015 at 11:21 am

      Fox has not complained about her. They are not the problem. The problem is fat shaming from a largely Black audience. It is they who are making the decision. Fox will follow its market.

  5. Diane

    February 19, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I’m so so sooooo soooo glad we humans come in ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!!!!!

  6. J C

    February 19, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    THE TRUTH will come out about G. Sidibe & The Empire show, sooner or later. Someone or Sidibe will spill. Reminder, Sidibe tends to go on talk shows & tell a lot of behind the scenes business—hopefully she will do it in this situation.

    • Yvonne

      February 20, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      From a person that works on this show here in Chicago, the rumors are not true. Why do you keep fueling this rumor? If you pay close attention, Malik Yoba is not in every episode. We as black people need to continue to support Empire and appreciate every actor and actress on this show. It is sad to say that FOX is the only network that had the balls to give this show the green light. With the rating they are receiving, you better believe the other networks are kicking themselves and taking notes. Hopefully this is only the beginning for Black Hollywood.

  7. Pernell Parham

    February 20, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Fox was bold enough to do it for profit. Anything that shows the drama and stereotypes is good for perpetuating stereotypes that are used against us. Anything with gangsters, Excons, drug dealers is what they want to show. It is an extension of music videos. And Lee Daniels is teaching his kids to respect Judaism and nothing about black history. He is with a Jewish man and has a very dark past. Boycott this trash! I like to see blacks get work but not at the loss of our self respect.

    • Sylvia

      February 21, 2015 at 10:15 pm

      <someone is just mad. So they fat shame. Every part in this drama is not a meaty part. But she plays the hell out of the part she was given.


    February 21, 2015 at 1:39 am

    Was Gabourey Sidibe’s role on Empire reduced because of her look? I hope not! I think she looks wonderful. She represents beautiful black women all over the world. She is a great actress with a wonderful personality. I loved her role and if that is in fact the case…as much as I enjoy the show I will dump it because I simply will not tolerate discrimination in any form. Listen every body from time to time has some kind of issue, but if a person can function on the level that Gabourey Sidibe’s operates I’d think that any employer would be pleased and happy. Too many of these Hollywood types have horrible personalities, but she is not one of them. I’d cast her every time I got the chance. Much love to Gabourey Sidibe. Sue their butts for discrimination and keep it moving if that is truly what happened cause you got it going on Girl!

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