A body-shaming Facebook post criticizing Dallas journalist Demetria Obilor’s physique went viral, causing many to come to her defense on social media, including Chance the Rapper. Obilor, who in her professional career has been criticized for both her natural hair and her curves, has addressed the controversy as well.
On Wednesday, Facebook user Jan Shedd said the following about WFAA-TV’s (Channel 8) traffic reporter who has only been with the station for two weeks:
“Has anyone seen Channel 8’s new morning traffic reporter? Her name is Demetria Obilor and she’s a size 16/18 woman in a size six dress and she looks ridiculous. I understand that when I watch Channel 8 I’m going to get biased reporting and political correctness, but clearly they have taken complete leave of their senses. I’m not going to watch Channel 8 anymore.”
The post has since been deleted. But a Twitter user called Mother of Draggings managed to get a screenshot and shared it on Friday to further body-shame Obilor:
Jan is big mad. Don’t be like Jan. pic.twitter.com/ytAKJHMXBy
— Mother of Draggings (@fabfreshandfly) November 3, 2017
Grammy Award-winning artist Chance the Rapper replied to the tweet, expressing annoyance at Obilor being body shamed. The tweet has since been liked more than 100,000 times:
BIIIIIIG MAD https://t.co/E9yzWbU9m8
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) November 3, 2017
Obilor wasn’t made aware of the Facebook post until Friday when she saw mentions of it on Twitter. In a video, she addressed the negative comments about her as well as the support she has received:
“The controversy is coming from people who aren’t too happy about the way I look on television,” she said.
“’Oh, her body is too big for that dress. She’s too curvy. Or, her hair is unprofessional. It’s crazy. We don’t like it.’
“A quick word to those people — this is the way that I’m built. This is the way that I was born. I’m not going anywhere, so if you don’t like it, you have your options.
“Now to the people who show love, I love you right back. You know, when you look a little different, people think it’s okay to talk to you a little different. And I’m on TV, so I can’t clap back the way I want to clap back all the time. So, I’m always taken aback and forever grateful for everybody, people I don’t even know, who come to my defense.”
She also gave Chance the Rapper a “shout out” for talking about the incident on his Twitter page.
— Demetria Obilor (@DemetriaObilor) November 3, 2017
Obilor told NBC News that her news colleagues have been supportive of her. In regard to body shaming the physique of Black women, superstar tennis player Serena Williams has had to grapple with criticism ever since going pro. Williams recently said in an open letter to her mother that she would teach her newborn daughter, Alexis Olympia, to have a positive body image.
“I was looking at my daughter and she has my arms and legs — my exact same strong, muscular, powerful, sensational arms and body,” Williams wrote.
During her career, Obilor, whose mother is white and father is Nigerian, has been ridiculed by viewers for her natural hairstyle. When she was a traffic reporter in Las Vegas, a viewer sent an email stating that her hair must “smell bad.”
Obilor tweeted in May:
Here’s one of the racist, hateful emails I’ve received for rocking my natural hair on TV. pic.twitter.com/oA8L6gYCyw
— Demetria Obilor (@DemetriaObilor) May 25, 2017
“Black people on TV; there’s nothing wrong with that,” Obilor told NBC News. “Naturally, curly hair — I don’t care if a Black woman wants to wear her hair straight or in braids, you don’t get to say what’s professional and what’s not professional based on your white standard of beauty.”
A North Carolina TV news anchor sparks national debate with Facebook posting on natural hair.
Many Black women who are news broadcasters have grappled with the decision of whether or not to wear a natural hairstyle.
In 2015, Angela Green, weeknight anchor for WNCT in Greenville, N.C., received backlash for advice she gave an intern to straighten her natural hair “just to please everybody.”