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Celebrity Spot-Lite: Heavy D

November 14, 2011

R.I.P. Heavy D

Last week, we lost a truly talented performer: Heavy D was leader of hip hop group Heavy D & the Boyz, an actor, rapper, record producer, and singer, and he was making a comeback on stage after a 15 year hiatus from live performances. He helped develop Mary J. Blige’s music career and hired P. Diddy as an intern and was the senior vice president at Universal Music. The list of his accomplishments goes on and on, and a mass of celebrities and fans have expressed deep feelings of loss at his passing:

R.I.P. Heavy D! We love you and you will be missed. People aren’t writing songs with your powerful lyrics anymore.
“how would you feel knowing prejudice was obsolete & all mankind danced to the exact beat” – rip heavy d …. You are in my heart 4ever” — Jennifer Lopez

But, as you well know by now, this is a blog about weight. And the internet has been abuzz about Heavy D’s weight. He was the self-described “overweight lover” in the music industry, even including in his lyrics that no one had “more bounce to the ounce.” I have to admit, I’m fascinated by Heavy D and the sex appeal he developed.

Profiles of Heavy D emphasized his weight in relation to his sex appeal.

“It has nothing to do with looks,” he told The Washington Post in 1997. “I feel comfortable with myself, but it’s more about the personality.”

He added: “I feel sexy.”

Much of his female adoration comes from his personality, and the fact that he “made an effort in his music to avoid raw lyrics and show respect for women” when other rap lyricists were continually degrading and offending females. But, also, have you seen the man dance? His confidence and ease simply oozes out of his performances. The last performance he did was the 2011 BET Awards and he seriously rivals his much-slimmer back-up dancers. This is not a case where he was the subject of mockery or used as a public spectacle: he had undeniable talent and was well-respected and celebrated in every facet of his persona and being.

Now, it’s not that Heavy D didn’t struggle with his weight. But, in the days of “Celebrity Fit Club” and very public magazine cover stories lauding and detailing Celebrity weight loss stories (cough*MariahCarey*cough), Heavy D sought out weight loss help and programs out of the public eye. It could be argued that this was to not contradict his self-described “overweight lover” moniker, but he was constantly looking for options to personally help himself as an individual:

Heavy D was reportedly frequenting a number of local gyms, and doing a variety of exercises including running, hiking, and boxing. Tony [his trainer] described Hev as a hard worker, recalling times when he worked out nearly every day.

Articles are swarming online concerning Heavy D’s weight, like “Heavy D had resumed weight loss plan in last months” or “Obesity play a role in Heavy D’s death?” And so the obsession with his weight continues, and will for as long as his legacy is remembered. But, so will his messages of self-acceptance and inspiration. And we have to choose which is more powerful.

(Image courtesy of BinsideTV)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Middlin' M permalink
    November 14, 2011 5:59 pm

    While I am the first to “like” this post, I do not think there is any need for a choice [between self-acceptance/inspiration vs. obesity playing a role in Hev’s death or not]. I think there is room for legitimate curiosity about both. I might propose that his self-acceptance likely went well beyond his overt acceptance of his size and weight [even as his choice of nickname might immediately suggest] but at the same time I would be very interested as well to find out whether health issues such as his obesity might have contributed to his untimely passing. While these 2 considerations may appear to be divergent, I do not think they actually are. Both have a power to attract interest, and learning more about one might not diminish the drawing power of the other. Thanks, HH, for this post which has many layers of fascination.

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