This past Monday morning, attorney Lisa Bloom held a press conference and introduced the country to Quantasia Sharpton. The young woman is the first to come forward publicly as a victim of Usher Raymond’s herpes “scandal.” For the record, the scandal is not the herpes itself, but the fashion in which the singer has allegedly been transmitting the disease. Herpes is a treatable disease and many people continue to have healthy and active sex lives after infection. However, Usher Raymond is said to have contracted the disease right before intentionally exposing his sexual partners to it by insisting on having unprotected sex with his victims.
Despite the rampant stigmatization of STIs surrounding this story, the fat shaming of Quantasia Sharpton has been even worse. She is a large Black woman, so the comments on social media and entertainment news sites were expectedly dehumanizing. When it comes to being a fat Black woman, misogynoir seems to magnify — especially when it’s a fat woman who dare celebrate or discuss her sexuality.
Quantasia wasn’t just ridiculed by Twitter trolls, but by prominent celebrities as well. And the recurring theme from the commentary seemed to be that people simply could not believe that a sexy man like Usher would be attracted to a robust woman like Quantasia. Once again, transphobic Internet creature known as Lil Duval couldn’t wait to spew more of his misogynoir into the conversation. “I refuse to believe Usher fucked this” followed by several laughing emojis.
Later, Snoop Dogg took to Instagram to post a meme with the caption “Usher went from Chilli to Chitterlings.” It doesn’t take more than one click into the comments section to see that many people are under the impression that fat women don’t have sex with hot men, or that men don’t find fat women hot. This fatphobic mentality is the same one that lead an awful essay to go viral where a man waxed on poetically that he deserved a medal for doing just that. Finding big women sexy is nothing new, but is still a regularly shamed activity.
The worst part about all of this is that these are two prominent Black men who were so quick to use their platform to degrade a Black woman. Rap is infamously misogynistic and it’s no secret Black women have been continuously belittled for decades by artists just like these two. But these are the same entertainers who birthed an obsession with “being thick” and praise “curviness,” just as long as you’re not too fat and look like an “internet baddie.” So often, fat women aren’t allowed to veer from the constrictions of femininity to earn the humanization constantly stripped from them through others narratives. Acceptable-sized fatties are required to have coke bottle shapes and pretty privilege in order to even be considered as people, let alone as sexy. Quantasia was wearing very little makeup and a plain shirt, which spurred conclusions that she couldn’t slay on a girls’ night out. But the expectation is for us to always be ready with a fully beat face and the waist trainer snapped on tight.
So many of these comments revolved solely on Quantasia’s physical appearance. But another contradiction that was pointed out by Facebook activist Kynna Williams is the double standard between how plus-sized white women have been portrayed when it comes to sexual endeavors with Black men, versus the seemingly unthinkable idea that a bigger bodied Black woman can scoring a man:
Despite being framed in a rather off-color way, the illustration is crystal clear. It is not as though fat white women don’t experience fatphobia, because all fat women do. However, even in entertainment, the trope of the sexually promiscuous white woman is celebrated and stars like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham fetishize and demand the affections of Black men because of this double standard. Unfortunately, many of the derogatory comments toward Quanisha came from Black men on social media. As this story continues to develop, it is clear that it is a going to continue to be a very messy case.
Popular urban gossip site Fameolous (a bootleg version of The Shade Room) have reported that Quantasia may be lying. A history of falsified statements about celebrity rendezvous in the past was uncovered the same day. And other reports had stated that the accuser had put a status on social media saying “I need money” the day prior to the lawsuit broke.
In the end, none of these factors should be an excuse to presume that this woman couldn’t bag Usher Raymond just because she is fat. Even Usher, in his first alleged statement about the scandal, focused on the fat shaming.
Rumors began swirling this morning that Usher is claiming he did not have an intimate relationship with Quantasia. The source claims he reached out to her at his concert to “boost her self-esteem.” At this point all these flying accusations will either need to be settled in a courtroom or somebody needs to get Maury Povich on the phone to fire up a lie detector test. But until then, let’s set at least one record straight: fat women don’t need conventionally attractive men to boost their confidence, and men of all sizes have been about the BBW life for centuries — probably including Usher.