Gabourey Sidibe and Kelly Ripa Stumble Over Afros, Normal Hair, and Being Americanized

April 11, 2012  |  

Yesterday, Gabourey Sidibe stopped by “Live with Kelly!” to talk about her role on Showtime’s “The Big C” and there was an interesting exchange between Gaby and the host, Kelly Ripa.

Overall, the interview went really well. Gaby showed off her fun personality which completely conflicted with reports about her having a mean, diva-like attitude—especially considering she entered the set doing the running man.

Later into the interview, Kelly asked about the upcoming season of “The Big C” and mentioned that Gabourey’s character Andrea will be returning to her roots after a trip to Africa. Kelly says she loves African-inspired clothing and wonders if Gabourey feels the same, to which she responded, not so much. She told her:

“I’m actually African, I’m Senegalese, and so I’m over it.” She also added that she she hasn’t worn “stuff like that” since she was like 11.

“I’m very Americanized and I hated the afro.”

Kelly tried to follow up that statement with a question on how long it took Gabourey to kill the afro her character had to wear and change her hairstyle, but it just turned into a jumbled how long-afro-normal-hair-regular-get back to-mess once she realized her use of the words normal and regular probably didn’t come out right. (good catch Kelly)

Gabourey said it only took about 10 hours from the time she landed back home from Puerto Rico where they were shooting to have the fake afro removed and the silky weave she was wearing sewed in, and she seemed quite proud of it. Overall, the convo wasn’t a big deal, but I thought her disassociation with dashikis and the “African style” of dress and hair Kelly is fond of was sort of interesting in a way.

Check out her segment from the show here. What do you think about the interview?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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  • Can someone explain that so call “African culture”? How many on here knows any real African celebrities? Seriously?

  • I don’t have many Black celeb crushes because of the taste which I have. I hate when folks acts as if Blacks are own by everyone but themselves and their whole life has to be politicize/racialized. It sucks!

  • Jason

    The white woman loves the Afro and African prints,the black woman hate the Afro and African prints clothing, but prefer the weave that she ignorantly flaunts…..smdh.There are several other things she can hate about herself before an Afro, she even loves the jewfro and hates the Afro.She thinks that the valley vocal fry way of speaking sounds good,oh well.How can you get over your identity, that is what you are…….not a bright chat at all.She definitely  had issues growing up, maybe from bullying or taunting.

  • trustmelove

    This is just my opinion, but I actually think the afro is more flattering to her than the straight hair.  The straightened hair makes her already full face appear even fuller, plus she or her “stylists” seem to use a  lot of product on the straightened look, so it makes her look extra greasy.  But if she likes it, I love it.

  • Gmarie

    that’s her preference. let her live.

  • Goziem

    In my opinion, she hates herself and hates that shes African descent. You don’t publicly get over being associated with being African except you have a strong dislike for it. Akon is Senegalese and hasn’t made a bone against it. He embraces it. She will have been more embracing of Africa if Senegal was located in Europe. I dont even have an idea why she came to Africa recently but i hope she doesn’t repeat her visit, cos she no longer welcomed. Am from Nigeria though and i stand for the average African.

  • Candacey Doris

    She has her opinions. Personally, i like african print. I just don’t like the way the clothes are cut and styled. They’re boring. I’m forever saying that i’ll get some cloth and cut it cute so i don’t have to wear some big dress that flatters no one or the same style of pants.

  • Nina Dashotta

    OHHHHH she would be so much healthier and look cuter if she lost about 30 lbs. she is probably tall but whoa I don’t wanna see her fiestiness be misinterpreted as “angry fat black woman”. She got the attitude to go with getting big roles but she needs to lose some weight. I’m not saying conform to hollyweird standard but life longevity standards

  • Two concerns here: first, Gabourey’s weight – she has trouble moving (getting into her chair) and breathing (a few seconds of the ‘Running Man’ should NOT have made her that out of breath) – I’m not sure of her height, but she appears to me to be carrying too much weight for her height. I worry about her – as a young woman, she needs to be careful about her health. Even if she is not now suffering with diabetes or heart disease, as she continues to mature, that will certainly be on the horizon. Her career will suffer if she does not take care of her health.

    Second – she refers to herself as Senegalese – completely ignoring the African-American side of her heritage. That is troubling because she is a combination of both categories and should fully embrace both. I ran into her at a casino in CT during a show and she seemed sweet – keeping a low profile so as to enjoy the show and not be swamped by fans. I didn’t blow up her spot – just smiled and waved a little – and she seemed to appreciate that. If she were my daughter, I’d tell her to be careful of her health – she could have a long career and a good one.

    Being natural, I disagree with the weave, but that’s MY choice, and not hers. I don’t think the hair necessarily is the best look for her, but again, it’s HER choice. I wish her only the best. The awkwardness in the interview came from Kelly – wonder if someone whispered in her ear that she shouldn’t refer to a black woman’s weave as her “normal” hair?

  • :)

    Even Africans in Africa wear their hair straight and with weaves. If not, Its cornrowed or braided. So I wouldnt say her not liking her hair is rejecting her culture at all.

    • Didshereallygothere

      Got any smiley quips for the SKIN BLEACH phenomena plaguing your cultural cheerleaders and mascots for African Pride?

    • Empress123

      Africa is a continent made up of countries. MOST in Africa do not wear their hair straight and are not running to Sally’s for the latest Remy. MOST of them do not bleach. Skin bleach is actually illegal to sell in certain parts of Africa. Most of them wear their hair natural. Now I think Gabe not liking her hair ironically makes her just like the character she played in the movie Precious. I don’t know if she just plays these roles because she is just so happy to be getting cast and doesn’t pay attention to the message behind them. She seems a bit shallow and lacks self esteem (calling herself a grenade, really sweetie?). I think she would be cuter without the wig/weave but it is obviously not my call….

  • lalala

    has to do with self-esteem maybe. often low self-esteem people try to justify their approach on elements of life in which they struggle. not trying to pick on her but that’s what i felt after hearing her.

  • Ravensholst

    I’ve seen some nice African inspired clothing…the prints are beautiful! I’m always curious about how WE would feel about our natural hair or ‘afros’ if the hot comb or relaxer never came along…would we still be saying ‘some look right w/it and some dont?’ That’s bull! God Created us w/ beautiful textured hair and we still cant see it..pitiful.

  • Coco Black

    Well, she didn’t say anything wrong…up to her how she wears her hair! Plus, was all said with a smile so what’s the big deal. I think she’s a great actress but for health reasons alone..I wish she would loose done weight. Apart from that…it’s good to see a sister doing good in Hollywood!!

  • fitnessforlife

    She’s half Senegalese, via her father; and half African-American, via her mother. And she’s American born and bred. So, go figure. 

  • guest

    Yeah I’m an a**hole, a smart one at that. BTW, it’s spelled YOU’RE, not YOUR’RE, geez boo learn how to spell dummy!

    • Smacks_hoes

      Lol I’m not your boo…weirdo. You really need counseling for all your anger issues. I find something wrong with someone who take joy out of tearing other people down to be very pathetic. Your criticism wasn’t even helpful it was pointless, spiteful, and down right mean. Not cool dude. What I really think is that you were attempting to be funny but it turned out to be a total fail. Enjoy wallowing in your hatefulness. Have a wonderful night. : )

      • guest

        What are you a psychiatrist? If not, don’t diagnose anyone. Plus like this gorilla with lipstick is gonna read my comment and break down in tears and commit suicide or something. I’m making myself laugh, not you or anybody else because I don’t care for you people, only myself. 

    • Obiomachica

      LOL you have some nerve giving a grammar lesson,when you wrote earlier “feed better”,but umm it’s feel better smh.  

      • guest

        It’s call a TYPO you dumba**! I type fast so of course I’m gonna make a mistake. Now stay out of this A and B convo and go lay in traffic!

        • Obiomachica

           You cannot get mad if someone responds to a comment because guess what it’s a public website, so get over it. But before “I lay into traffic” your typo was a mistake as his “your” was a mistake, so I guess you’re the only one who can make mistakes. Have a wonderful day. 

          • guest

            I only care about MY mistake, don’t care about other people’s mistake!

  • Don’t mean to be rude or anything, and not trying to offend anyone, but while looking at her, all I could see was how big and black she was…She has a very charming personality though, seems quite smart..
    Perfect candidate for Gastric Bypass surgery..

    • vlove

      Lmaooo.. Ha ha ha

  • jackieOsassin

    that’s just her. it’s how SHE feels about her hair and style of dress. 

    i’m not sure if you’ve all heard about this, but there’s this new thing out called an “opinion”. i hope i’m spelling that right. apparently, it’s something that everyone has, and they can even be DIFFERENT from one another. isn’t that wild?

  • Cocoa_kisses2386

    She would look a mess with an afro at her current weight.Maybe not so much if she lost about 200 pounds.She is too young has way too much money to be that fat.

  • Treacle234

    I’m not over Gabrielle’s weight. Not to be mean, but she would look so much better with a 10 lbs reduction in her body weight. 

    • awet

      10 lbs. or 100 lbs.?

      • Superfly

        I’m pretty sure she meant 100lbs because 10 wouldn’t tell her shyt

  • guest

    Screw the wigs, how about this gorilla looking broad lose some weight? Jennifer Hudson, please hook this snorlax up with Weight Watchers!

    • Smacks_hoes

      Wtf is your problem. Does being mean make you feel better about yourself. I bet your no Paris Hilton yourself Missy. It’s no need to leave such a hateful rude comment. All you had to say was she should lose weight for her health. The name calling just showed us that your completely immature.

      • STFU_Smacks_Hoes

        First of all f-tard, it’s YOU’RE, not YOUR and second for somebody whose username is SMACKS_HOES, YOU’RE upset that someone called a wild snorlax a name. No I’m not trying to make myself feed better, I was making myself laugh at someone else’s expense and it worked. Call me immature all the heck you want, I’m gonna be me, so have a seat!

  • Sally-1988

    She is a self hating african woman who has been westernised. Someone needs to slap some sense into her.  I am an  african woman who is  proud of what god has given me and i will never dream of changing anything about my appearance coz thats what make me unique .

    P.s lets promote  african tribe prints in fashion.

    • Smacks_hoes

      It’s called an opinion for a reason. Just because you think a certain way doesn’t mean it’s right.

    • Empress123

      I agree about promoting african prints in fashion but let’s keep it real…if we don’t DOCUMENT IT in another hundred years the print will be attributed to Paris or Italy like so many other African inspired fashions. Just look at how many women here think African fashion consists of cowrie shells, dashikis and kente cloth? That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the fashions that have inspired Europeans and Asians !

    • Walkie74

      You bring up a good point about African tribal prints, but here’s my question–is there going to be an issue if a person wears a print from the “wrong” tribe, or worse yet, has no idea where it’s from? To me, that’s like wearing an ao dai and not being Vietnamese.

  • I agree with LIISH on the quote being taken out of context. But really, I don’t care too much for Gaby anyway. She has a horrible self-inflated ego. But will someone please tell her that those wigs/weaves don’t look good on her either, geez!

  • I’m more offended about how everyone snickers about the name ababbu ( which is done with many different ethnicities) and how so many “new” americans feel the need to change their name or water it down to make it more americanized because ignorant people are going to giggle about it.

    • Empress123

      Well she kinda gave way to that too…you saw how she paused so everyone could laugh and it seems that the show is poking fun at Black people having some sort of African Pride. They would hate for that to every happen! I hate to say it but in order for us to ever teach our little girls to really really like what they see in the mirror and their name we may just have to start ignoring these people and make a conscious effort to affirm to the next generation that they are just as beautiful smart and important everyone else 🙂

  • wondertwin

    Well, not too many blacks are into African inspired clothing, myself included.  I mean it kind of went out since Queen Lahtifa”s “ladies first”…

    I think the hair comments are more of today’s hot button issue, if you will.  I can look at her and see why she would prefer a straight hair look. she does not have any “mainstream” features as it is. Nappy hair would be one more strike in her book.

    •  You’re right. But today I do see African inspired head wraps and clothing, but for some reason today the clothing seems to be too “hipster”. Idk what happened. Times change I suppose but I wear my head wraps and locks with pride.

      • wondertwin

        I have seen head wrap looks that I truely like. That comes across as fashion forward to me. African print clothing not so much. I just think “Winnie Mandela” and not “hey that’s cute.” you have to know how to pull it off i suppose.

        • Didshereallygothere

          It’s a “Wonder” you show your face on this site! Where’d ya graduate from? Wille Lynch University (with a Major in “Complacency” and a Minor in “Keep Our Young Queens Confused”? It’s worrisome to fathom the probability that if you’re amongst the Top 100 on this site and think like {That}; then other readers must actually agree with this Modern-Day Minstralism you proudly present — and even “Like” it! Poor Y’all. Poor Female Offspring of Yours.
          #Deep Sigh#

          • Empress123

            LMAO!!!! Hey every one is entitled to their opinion I guess but to suggest that ‘not too many Blacks are into African inspired clothing’ is a bit much. I’m just going to assume Wonder meant African American women or maybe just the ones in her circle because sometimes African American people don’t consider Blacks outside of America as Black. I know I’ve been told I am not Black just becuase my parents were not born in America. GO FIGURE. Madame Noire can you please do an article about that because that mess is IGNORANT!

            • Didshereallygothere

              Right on Sis! But good luck getting MN to do it! Half the time I Keep It Real In Writing [profanity-free n everything!]….some ‘Moderator’ blocks it from being posted!!!

    • Empress123

      Again and many Blacks do love the African inspired clothing. My self included.  Like I said above it is more than just kente cloth. For instance the boustierre, corset, tube top, mini, anklets, headband, ANYTHING animal print and many many many more items that we have/had just hanging in our closets were inspired by Africans. To this day one of the best ORIGINAL woven material is hand made in Ghana.

      I wish I could remember the name of the book but there is even literature on the stolen fashions and how they have been repackaged and sold to us as ‘European’. I was fascinated and I must admit a bit angered by how much fashion over the years has never ever been credited to Africa (but they have no problem crediting Asians for the Kimono!). Corsets were fashioned from African wear but were made especially so white women could mimic the much coveted natural hourglass figure of African women. There were even color dyes (blue in particular) that Europeans could only get in Africa!  The Queen of England still has jewels that were stolen during wars from Africa that they are still trying to get back!  If it’s not for you it’s not for you but best believe there are plenty of Black people all over the world who are rocking African fashion and are aware of it.

      • Didshereallygothere

        There’s another elephant in the room however. .It’s called Skin Bleaching. What’s up with THAT piteous phenomena?!?!?!?!?

  • Janice Dee

    Sorry, don’t mean to be negative or mean, but she isn’t the best representative of African or black culture anyway.  I’m glad that she is a working actress and doing what she loves, but she needs to get herself together.  She’s too heavy, not well put together and not very attractive.  She’s too young to be so out of shape and heavy.  Just another bad example for our young people to emulate!!!!

    • yolo

      no, she is a person that looks like many people in the world. She is a person-she is not her body-she a PERSON. GET THAT STRAIGHT. TAKE AWAY THE HUMAN QUALITY AND STOP EMPHASIZING SURFACE BULLSHIT ALL THE TIME

      • Didshereallygothere

        Is high blood-pressure, complicated fertility, a predisposition to Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, clogged arteries, shortness of breath, and ankles n knees screaming to the Heavens for mercy ‘surface bull$#!t’—-or are youuuuuuuuuuu just another fat female needin to put down the chocolate cake and try out a salad (that is NOT containing more lunchmeats, cheeses, and dressins than dang lettuce and vegetables)???? I don’t think a-one of us who even bothered reading this article could’ve watched Gabourey on “Precious” without being touched to the core of our hearts and empathizing with “the person” depicted in that film—overweight or not.  Like Whoopi Goldberg said: Big-boned” is a myth. Our bones are not built to hold such excess weight. For young girls looking up to her as a role model; I agree with Janice Dee. She can more than afford an efficient nutritionist to assist with her being Her Best Self. #WeCanDoBetter#

      • Janice Dee

        You are entitled to your opinion as I am entitled to mine.  If you don’t like it, that’s your problem. 

  • LiiSH

    Reading the quote, then watching the video shows how things can be taken out of context… She didn’t seem to be speaking in a self deprecating way. It was good natured.Okay so she doesn’t like to wear an afro, how is that any different from most women wearing a girdle becasue they don’t like the way their fat pokes out or putting on makeup to hide blemishes. I believe a person can love and appreciate their hair without particularly caring for the way a certain style looks on them… too big of a deal is made over stuff like this. I don’t think she was dissing her African culture, she is just past a point where she needs to flaunt it with certain clothes and statement hair. If she were ashamed she would have never brought it up.

    • Goldie

      How is the different from the majority of black women that don’t wear afros—heck many don’t even wear their own hair!


    glad to see her getting work in hollywood tho!…. i aint to fond of african print either.. i remember my father coming to my school wearing a dashiki and matching hat….lol i was in 5th grade…..smh i was so embarrassed but to each its own. doesnt bother me nemore…fashion is whatever u want it to be

  • StuckInDaMatrix

    The modern day black woman! SMH!

  • self-hate at its best.

    • Smacks_hoes

      People just like tossing around “self hating” and “coon”…how is that self hate? People like what they like

      • Didshereallygothere

        I know with your username; that to drop toooo much knowledge would be more than you can bear. People like you are clearly pre-programmed what TO like, and I’ll just close that out with a hearty “SMDH”. 

        • Smacks_hoes

          Lol ok you dramatic loon you…

          • Didshereallygothere

             Right back atcha: SELL_OUT!

        • Smacks_hoes

          Lol as if your username is that great mam btw…

      • it’s self-hate because obviously she doesn’t appreciate her african culture and everything that womes with it.

        • Agree. This is awful. She’s DTF? She hated the afro? They’re all wigs we know this. Why do we have to dance. We can smile, stroll acoss the stage and sit demurely without making a sex joke at our own expense.

          Also, lets stop eating the pandering up. Her mother is a grown woman, she’s not adorable and that photo wasnt either. So just admit she’s talented and lets move on.

          Talk about her career, her life, her success. Not her hair, her clothes. Ugh.

    • Empress123

      Gurrrllll you are right on point with that one. People can sugar coat it all they want but any woman who would refer to herself as a grenade (ugly) as a joke is trying to soften the blow she has already had to her self esteem. I am sure she has heard that all her life by other self hating people. Yes it is self hatred to look at yourself in the mirror and HATE WHAT YOU SEE. I don’t know how this word can get any more literal without people trying to make excuses for people who just don’t like themselves. It’s not like it is just a black problem. We admit it when we see white people who od on plastic surgery why can’t we admit it when it exists so glaringly in our own community?

  • W Veronica

    Well she was honest, however I would have liked it if she embraced her african culture instead of  being “over it” publicly. Kind of weird, I always noticed that she gravitated towards european people, even when she name her celebrity crushes, they are always white, never black. Maybe she was picked on a lot growing up maybe thats why she switched sides. No hate, just an observation.  

    • W Veronica

      *european descent* 

    • Smacks_hoes

      I think it’s ok to like who you like. You can’t really help whom your attracted to. Most of my celebrity crushes are white. I don’t think it’s a big deall

    • I agree that I’ve noticed that and wondered the same thing. It’s not talked about when African-American women disassociate themselves from African-American men…..JMHO.

  • Talka312000

    Oh well…she likes what she likes

  • Truthhurtz

    Lol. I knew someone was gonna write about this when I saw it yesterday. I was very surprised at how overly proud she was of her straight weave and how relieved she was to get rid of the fro…as if having a fro is the worst thing ever. It just seemed so awkward.

    • F3ral Anarchy

       many africans in the modern era consider afros to be a poor persons hairstyle

      • Didshereallygothere

        well how’s bout some poignant feedback on why so ‘many africans in the modern era’ consider skin bleaching cosmetic products to be so necessary? HMMMMMM?????

      •  Not trying to be funny, but I find that a lot of African born black women prefer to wear weaves these days. I am not saying all because I definitely have seen some in my city who wear their hair natural. Some even have salons specifically for locs, natural hair, etc, but quite a lot of other African born black women love the weaves. Idky.

        • Didshereallygothere

          Not trying to be impolitely persistent; but how’s bout some poignant feedback on why so ‘many africans in the modern
          era’ consider skin bleaching cosmetic products to be so necessary?
          HMMMMMM????? I know you’ve seen ‘MANY’ in your city who’ll dang near neglect grocery staples (being it that alot of grocerias carry that poison by the pound like produce, eh-eh?) to rub that creamy acid into their beautiful browned pores. Speak on it! Idky you wouldn’t.

      • Empress123

        Yet MANY still wear short fros? Go figure!

    • Smacks_hoes

      Lol I think afro’s are dreadful!!! So what…my mother has an Afro and it looks good on her but I wouldn’t go out in public if I had one.

      • Illuminarie

        How do you think afros are dreadful if you think it looks good on your mom?

        • Smacks_hoes

          I meant it would look dreadful on me…my mother looks good with one.

          • Illuminarie

            ah okay, thanks for the clarification =)

      •  It really depends on the person’s face, etc. Not taking jabs at Gabby, but I noticed when I was thinner my afro looked better because my face wasn’t so chubby. I’ve gained some weight and afros don’t look that good but again it depends on the person’s face…and ultimately how they feel about themselves.

    • Tallchiick

      I saw this too…I was half asleep in a Doctors office…and this caught my attention…lol…I was like cringing on the inside like noooooo Gabby!

      • Truthhurtz

        I know. I was cringing too. lol.

      •  Lol you were sleeping in the doctors office? Lol sorry.

        • Candacey Doris

           Have you been to the doctor lately? Wait takes forever!