Fatphobia, Amanda LaCount and Body Shaming by Heidi Klum

To see a dream become a reality requires more than just dreaming. It requires work, commitment, and drive. It also requires knowing the difference between constructive criticism and criticism that has a more personal bent.

Last night, Amanda LaCount auditioned on America’s Got Talent.

Her dream and professional goal is to dance. Her audition last night proved that she has what it takes. There was a joy and a spirit in her performance that I think was obvious to all who watched it.

Three of the four judges gave her the green light to move forward. Heidi Klum was the only judge to did not give her a yes.

The problem with her reaction is that it smacks of fatphobia and body shaming. When we think of dancers, the general image is of someone who is fit and generally thin. We don’t think of someone who looks like Amanda.

I wish we lived in a world in which drive, talent, and ability were the only factors in determining success, especially in the entertainment field. But we don’t. We live in a world in which one’s outside appearance also plays a role in one’s success.

I wish Amanda all of the success in the world with her dancing career. Perhaps she may be the one who helps us to break the looks only glass ceiling forever.


Gabrielle Union is All of Us

In an ideal working world, an employee is solely judged by his or her work history. Their personal identities, physical appearance and beliefs play no part in their working life. But we don’t live in an ideal working world.

In recent television news, actress Gabrielle Union was unceremoniously fired from NBC’s America’s Got Talent. The reason for her firing was the objection of certain language from guest judge Jay Leno and the treatment she received because she is an African-American woman. There are also rumors that Union and fellow judge Julianne Hough were subject to additional scrutiny because they are female.

Union also spoke up because Simon Cowell, who judges and produces the show, smoked inside.

In regards to Cowell’s alleged indoor smoking, I personally believe that it is a disgusting habit that destroys your lungs and your wallet. But that is my opinion on the subject. If someone wants to smoke, that is their prerogative. I can’t tell them not to smoke. However, when it comes to respecting others, if you do smoke, go outside and do it. I don’t want or need the stench of your cigarette on me.

When it comes to the other accusations, its the same old same old. Women are judged by their looks and not by their ability and their intellect. They are also labeled as “hard to work with” (or other non-PC names) if they stand up what they feel is wrong. In the clip above, a comment was made that struck me. I’ve been a fan of AGT for a few years. While the male judges remain, the female judges are rotated out every few years.

The more I read about this news story, the more I realize that Gabrielle Union is all of us. Though the details of her experience differ, the story is the same. A female employee speaks up against something that she believes is wrong. Instead of at the very least investigating her claims, management demotes and/or fires her and goes on as if nothing happened.

My hope is that this story spurs more women to speak up. I also hope that it lights the fire under a company’s ownership or management team to ensure that the negative publicity that NBC has received does not happen to them.

If Kodi Lee Can Do It, Then I Can Do It

Success starts and ends with hard work. Talent is great, but talent is like a rowboat without oars. Hard work is the oars that will propel the rowboat to it’s final destination.

On the outside, Kodi Lee does not look like he will be successful as a performer. Blind and autistic, he relies on his mother for more than most people his age do. But he has a gift for music and the drive to become a performer, which was obvious to anyone who has been watching this season of America’s Got Talent.

His rendition of A Bridge Over Troubled Water was nothing short of stunning. I will be shocked if he does not win this season.

If Kodie Lee, blind and autistic, can see his dream become a reality, then so can I, so you can you, so can anybody. We have just have to believe in ourselves and be willing to do the hard work. Neither is a guarantee that our dreams will become a reality, but a dream is just that without the the willingness to sweat a little.

Flashback Friday-America’s Got Talent (2006-Present)

We are all born with a talent for something. The question is, do we act on that talent or do we let it sit by the wayside?

In the summer of 2006, a new competition program aired on NBC. Entitled America’s Got Talent, the premise of the show is simple: anyone who believes that they have some sort of performing ability can audition for celebrity judges. Contestants who survive to the live round will then be judged by the viewing public. In the end, one contestant wins the cash prize and a show of their own in Las Vegas.

America’s Got Talent is one of those shows that I look forward to every summer. It’s simple, but there is pleasure in it’s simplicity. We cheer for the underdogs, those who are fighting for their dreams, but are just being denied at every turn. We want them to win because we gain hope through their victory.

I recommend it.

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