Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Awesome Women: Teshima Walker

[Content note: fat stigma]

I love Teshima Walker...I didn't know it until this morning, but wow. I love her.

As I've mentioned a billionty times, I frequently listen to NPR's Tell Me More. Teshima Walker was their executive producer, and while I heard her name in the credits of each show, I didn't know much about her. Apparently, she just recently passed away after a long battle with colon cancer. On a recent show, host Michele Martin paid tribute to her and played on of Walker's on air clips, in which she was responding to the typical on screen representation of fat, black women. Walker said:
Michel, let me borrow your line right here. And can I just tell you that I'm a black woman with an extra, extra large behind, and if I had a dollar for every time I saw a character in a movie where a fat, black woman was an emotional victim, the center of a hurtful fat joke, the prayerful matron of all thin women and children, I'd buy my own dance studio and write movies about real, everyday fat woman. I'd write about fat women that love food and lick their fingers after eating a piece of chicken. I'd have modest fat girls and juicy, fat vixens that wear tight, short skirts with five-inch heels.
You can hear/read Martin's full tribute piece here and another from last week when the news was first announced.

I had tears running down my cheeks listening to Walker talk, so passionately, and experienced a ton of sadness in thinking about how she passed away at only 44 from the same disease that took my beloved grandmother. What an awesome woman she was. I hate that I had to come to this realization under these circumstances.

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