Queen Latifah recalls ‘Living Single’ cast being told to lose weight

In new partnership campaign with Novo Nordisk called, It's Bigger than Me, Latifah works to change the conversation around obesity

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Queen Latifah is a rapper, singer, producer and award-winning actress. She is also one of the Black community’s most beloved icons. Her statuesque height made her a powerful presence in the hip-hop community. She has, however, rarely addressed her voluptuous shape.

In a new partnership campaign called, It’s Bigger than Me, with the pharmaceutical giant, Novo Nordisk, Latifah is working to change the way we talk about obesity. The 51-year-old Hollywood veteran and the company hope to ease the stigma often placed on larger people, as well as the self-shame that can accompany obesity. Instead, they plan to focus on issues like hormones and biology which are frequent causes of obesity.

Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah attends the BET Awards 2021 at Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

In a series of short videos that are styled like television shows, Latifah plays several characters — always coming back to address the stigma of obesity. She told ESSENCE, “If there’s something we can spark with one of these shorts, with one of these videos, that stops someone from saying something insensitive or stops someone from hurting themselves with their own words that they say to themselves internally, then we’re making a difference.”

In the interview with the legacy Black women’s publication, Latifah recounted her own battles with accepting her larger size as well as convincing others to accept her in her rise to stardom in Hollywood.

“I remember when I was doing Living Single, the word came down that we needed to lose weight, and it was like, what?” she recounted. “Now mind you, we have the number one show among Black and Latino, Latinx audiences, at the time. And we have a hit show and you’re telling us we need to lose weight. Telling us this exactly. Why are you telling us this? We look like real people. We look like real women. We all look different. And those are the kind of things that come to you that can chip away at your self-esteem.”

Living Single cast thegrio.com
Living Single (Credit: Fox)

Latifah noted that at the time, nothing changed in Hollywood, but that the experience did make her cognizant of adverse opinions toward overweight women. She noted that with the It’s Bigger than Me campaign, she hopes to change the narrative about obesity and encourage obese women to love themselves wherever they are in their health journey.

The beloved entertainer also addressed her own journey to self-love telling the publication, “And around 18, I just remember looking in the mirror and I said to myself, I was like, ‘Dana, you have a choice. You are either going to choose to love yourself, or you’re going to choose to hate yourself. What you going to do?’ And I chose to love myself.”

“It really is a journey into self-love for those of us who are going through it,” she said. “And it is a journey of love for those who care to find their way into a new narrative.”

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