Sunday, May 16, 2021

Gabourey Sidibe Reveals She’s Frequently Discriminated Against at Clothing Stores

Gabourey Sidibe 4

*“Empire” actress Gabourey Sidibe has penned an essay in which she shares a personal retail experience of being dismissed by a saleswoman due to the color of her skin.

As you know, Gabby has been blunt during the course of her career about the mistreatment she’s experienced because of her size and dark skin. Earlier this year, she revealed how Hollywood screenwriters have crafted characters for her that are referred to as “hippos” and “elephants.”

In her new essay, the specific incident she addresses happened at a Chanel store in Chicago. She recalls how she asked the saleswoman to take a look at some eyeglasses — only to be told to take her business elsewhere.

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“She greeted me, but the look on her face told me that she thought I was lost,” Sidibe wrote. “I had been at her display for less than a minute, and she was literally directing me to another store. I knew what she was doing. She had decided after a single look at me that I wasn’t there to spend any money. Even though I was carrying a Chanel bag, she decided I wasn’t a Chanel customer and so, not worth her time and energy.”

This awkward exchange went on for a several minutes before some other employees of color recognized Sidibe, and the salesperson’s demeanor completely changed. She became friendlier and encouraged Gabby to take explore the full range of glasses on display, per

“No matter how dressed up I get, I’m never going to be able to dress up my skin color to look like what certain people perceive to be an actual customer. Depending on the store, I either look like a thief or a waste of time. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground between no attention and too much attention.”

Naturally, Sidibe suspects the mistreatment by the saleswoman had something to do with the color of her skin or her weight.

“I suspect it’s because I’m black, but it could also be because I’m fat. Maybe my whole life, every time I thought someone was being racist, they were actually mistreating me because I’m fat. That sucks too. That’s not OK.”

Sidibe’s essay can be read in full over at




Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.



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