Gabourey Sidibe - Portrait by Sam Spratt

A while back, I asked Gabby to come to my studio. Work immediately began and the beginnings of several sketches and pieces started to come together, but I didn’t want to rush the main painting so I shelved it while the usual pattern of clients interrupting personal work took over. Many paintings never get finished or see the light of day, both personal and professional, but Gabby was special. I wrote these notes back during her visit:

Her time in my studio was mostly light, filled with her bubbly energy as we cracked open some beers, exchanged embarrassing drinking stories, taking group photos as if we’d known each other for more than the actual hour we had, and her trying to convince me that she has an actual medical condition where she finds everything adorable. You’d be fooled too if you were lied to by an Oscar-nominated actress with her talent. But when I asked her, stripped of any pretension, that if I were to paint her, how she’d like to be portrayed, she said “I don’t really care about how I’m portrayed” and then she paused and continued “I guess … did you ever watch the show Community? Ya know how the school’s mascot is the human being? I mean, I don’t want to be a grey faceless spandex blob like that, but I’d like to just be a human being. Not someone’s message or idea of what I stand for because of what I look like, just a human, how you’d paint me if I were anyone else".

Dear sisters,

be whatever the fuck you want. today and forever.

be as carefree as you want

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be as sexy with that booty as you want

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be as incendiary as you want

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be as much like a princess as you want

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be as revolutionary as you want

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be as natural as you want

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be as fearless as you want

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be as unapologetically excellent as you want

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be as angry as you want

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be as loved as you want

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Happy international women’s day to all the black women out there struggling, mothering, loving, breathing, praying, dancing, resisting, laughing and BEING.

You are loved, you are worthy, you are magic.


Celebrities stop by the ESSENCE photo booth in the New Orleans Convention Center during Fourth of July weekend 2015: Yara Shahidi and mother Keri Shahidi, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Josiah Bell, Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin, Lianne La Havas, Gabourey Sidibe and Jussie Smollett, Goapele, Ava DuVernay, and Justine Skye

Amber Rose said she’s coming out with a self-help book called, “How to Be a Bad Bitch” and Charlamagne said, “How you gonna teach Gabourey Sidibe to be a bad bitch?” and DJ Envy said, “that’s impossible.”

I’m glad Amber called him out on his fatphobia and said big girls can be bad bitches too.

Fuck both these niggas.

Angela Yee said Gabourey is more successful than Charlamange and he was like, “well I don’t know about that…I’m doing pretty well.”

First of all Gabourey is already a bad bitch. She’s beautiful, talented, successful, and most of all is happy with herself and therefore stays in her lane. And if we wanted to define success with money…her net worth is 4x more than Charlamagne’s.