I Heard Things Just Got Bigger!
In the era of social media influencers, content creators, artists, musicians, and bloggers, we are truly experiencing a new renaissance of representation and Black creators of all identities are showing up and showing out. For the past few years, we’ve seen Hollywood and different industries go from lack of representation or no representation to seeing people who look like us at the helm of the camera and scripts and in front of the camera. It’s been a great journey to watch unfold, but I have to be honest. As far as we have come, we still have a pretty long way to go for fat and plus-size representation on screen and in the writers’ room. So when I stumbled across the new and original web series, Pretty For A Big Gurl, I screamed! If major Hollywood studios won’t create the opportunities, we’ll create them for ourselves.
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Pretty For A Big Gurl is a web series on YouTube, created by and starring Courtney Arlette. Taking on and pulling from the dynamics of some of our fave sisterhood shows like Girlfriends and First Wives Club, Pretty For A Big Gurl is a half-hour dramedy (drama mixed with comedy) following the life of Savannah Richardson, played by Courtney Arlette. The series, which premiered on July 18th, follows Savannah as she navigates life, love, and career as a plus-sized Black woman determined to prove she can have it all. Sounds juicy and entertaining already, right? She’s tackling life’s twists and turns, a demanding career, and society’s stigmas with the help of her close girlfriends; a recipe for a great and impactful series. The show is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and while we’ve seen shows centering on Black girls and sisterhood, Pretty For A Big Gurl is setting the tone and shifting media as all leads in the show are plus-sized Black women. When we talk about breaking grounds and doing something new, this is what we mean.
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Pretty For A Big Gurl is a show like many other shows. Savannah is building her career and her entrepreneurial empire with all but little support from her boyfriend and she’s leaning on her girlfriends to help her get through it. Now, what girls can’t relate to that? Whether you’re big, small, disabled, short, or tall; this is a storyline that’s so simple but yet so relatable and I don’t know about you, but I’m just happy to see women that look like me on screen having those same issues too. The web series also stars plus-size influencers and actors Nzinga Imani, Kenni Powe, and Wondrea Gilmore. In episode 3, the show explores the topics of being plus size and dating as one of the lead characters, Kansas, engages in speed dating for the first time at the wish of her girlfriends. And although I’ve never been on speed dating, it was hilariously relatable. Who hasn’t been approached with one of those corny “I like my girls BBW” lines or “I like my women with a little cushion for the pushin?” *looks around* I can feel you all cringing and nodding in agreement right now. I rest my case.
There’s literally no series with all plus-size leads that I can even think about. There are so few times plus size Black women get the opportunity to lead shows, movies, or just be the focal point in modes of art. So often when I see a show after show and movie after movie, especially ones being created by Black creators for Black people, and fat Black women are not a part of the stories whatsoever, it can really be jarring. For me, it means one thing; even in your fantasy world, even in the worlds you are creating, you would prefer for me to not exist. You don’t see me. Sometimes you have to call a thing a thing and that thing is that creators do not write worlds where fat people are at the center, not even Black creators are finding space for fat Black folks. But Pretty for a Big Gurl does just that.
Characters Savannah, Mercy, Ace, and Kansas are the stars in their own world, leading in their own stories, and supporting each other through life’s pressures, societal woes, and celebrating each other while they do it. In Pretty for a Big Gurl, we aren’t the fat sidekick, we aren’t the funny comedic friend and relief, we aren’t the woe is me self deprecating stereotype; we’re the stars. Things just got bigger and we’re here for the ride.
Are you currently watching Pretty For A Big Gurl? Do you think this is a show you’ll be interested in watching? Let us know!
Thank you for sharing this story. I have boycotted most television shows and movies because they don’t represent the plus size community. I will definitely tune in and tell all of my family and friends of every size about this groundbreaking series, as well.