Singer/Songwriter, Kelly Price, may have been labeled the controversial diva on TV One’s “R&B Divas LA,” but she is not letting that stop her. She has survived the storm and is emerging with a brand new show while continuing to inspire many through her spirit of activism.
GUMBUMPER: Kelly you have a new show on the horizon called Too Fat for Fame. What is the premise of the show?
KELLY: Too fat for fame is a reality competition format show that is designed to give an opportunity to plus size men and women who are talented who have not had equal opportunity with getting their career started in the entertainment industry. Everyone is very aware of my story coming into the business and being as heavy as I was. I still was able to get in but not without struggle. Even today, there are some things I am looked over for because of my weight. I don’t fit what is necessarily considered the standard of beauty in Hollywood . This show is about providing an opportunity for talent and leveling the playing field and giving an opportunity where one in time’s past has not necessarily been made available.
GUMBUMPER: What was your inspiration to create such a show?
KELLY: Looking at all the other talent competitions that are out here, when I look at the way some of the eliminations take place, I’m saying to myself you have to be kidding me. They come up with the reasons that are necessary, I guess, to eliminate them on television. At the end of the day, we are losing the opportunity to be exposed at a greater level to talented people because of what really is an acceptable form of discrimination. I’ve been a plus size person my whole life, you know a fat girl. People don’t like it when you say fat but it is what it is, I am a fat girl. I’ve been bigger, I’ve been smaller but the truth of the matter is that it’s still one of the tolerated forms of discrimination. You can’t call people out of their name as it relates to their sexuality, you’re not allowed to do it as it relates to their religious belief but you literally can still discriminate against somebody because of their weight and nothing happens. That’s why I want to do this show.
GUMBUMPER: Since you’ve been in the industry have you seen any improvement in the way they respond to Plus size artist?
KELLY: I think that we see more diversity now but not enough. When you think of leading women from a plus size stand point, you can name two or three people and you’re at the end of your list. We want to expand on that. I think everyone deserves options and choices and there aren’t enough of those out there. Just like there’s a call to action to see more diversity in terms of culture on television, we want to see more diversity in terms of body typing as well. This is not a call to encourage people to live life recklessly or not take care of their bodies because I have learned being an entertainer that I have to maintain some type of a regimen in terms of eating, working out. I have to stay healthy in order to do this job. If I don’t take good care of myself I wouldn’t be able to maintain the kind of schedule that I have. One thing I am going to have the opportunity to do with Too fat for Fame is educate the contestants on how to live better inside of the skin they’re in. I believe what will happen is people will find their body weight dropping as a result of it and they may never be skinny but they will find themselves living a healthier lifestyle so that they can enjoy the ultimate goal which is to become famous, to utilize their talent, to improve their life, but not just from a stand point of people knowing them but being able to live better overall.
GUMBUMPER: Will this be a televised show?
KELLY: This will be on television. I can’t make a network announcement just yet. I’m hoping that I’m able to do that very soon. We’ve already filmed the first round of auditions. The response has been incredible. We’ve heard from people all over the world. It’s been a great first cycle and we’re looking forward to bringing the first season to television really soon. Really excited about the opportunities. We met some incredible people that have great back stories and greater talent. You get to see some real talent. The question that we pose to the world is how much talent has the world loss as a result to saying no to someone because they were too fat? We want to change that.
With October being breast cancer awareness month, I want to send out a special acknowledgement to my aunt Linda Watson and to Kelly Price’s mother, Claudia Price, who are survivors. We support women all over the world who are surviving and beating insurmountable odds.
Kelly shares with us her mission as a breast cancer activist and how she has personally been affected by this disease.
In 1998 when I released my first record, “Soul of a Woman,” we found out that my mother-in-law was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. A week or so after the record came out, we found out that my mother was also diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. My husband lost his mom to inflammatory breast cancer and then in ‘98’ his step mother was diagnosed with the disease and she died from it ten months later.
We as a family have been affected by it greatly. It was a time where we thought we’d be celebrating and excited because we put the record out. We had so much success with it, number one single and we broke some billboard records but we found ourselves in the middle of probably one of the toughest times of our life, personally.
I had the opportunity shortly thereafter to get with Teddy Riley and Denise Rich and write a song called, “Love Sets You Free.” We released the song as a single and we remixed it. All of the artists that participated with us at the time agreed to forgo any royalties so all of the money since that time have been donated to breast cancer research . Within the first six months we were able to donate $250,000 and since that time we’re rounding off close to a million dollars in donations.
With our communities being effected so greatly, women of color are mostly effected with breast cancer and mostly effected with the most aggressive strains of breast cancer. We’re dying more often than women of other cultures. A lot of times we’re stricken with fear, we’re under-insured or we’re not insured so the diagnosis is coming too late. We really stress early detection because that’s your greatest chance to live and to survive. We want women to know their bodies. We want them to learn how to give themselves self breast examinations to watch their bodies for any changes and not be afraid. I’ve also started a campaign called Mammogram & the Mall. I’m encouraging women to create circles of accountability with their friends and loved ones and rather than waiting when things are wrong, we all kind of get together. I’ll call you and say hey girl on the 20th we’re going to get our mammograms and we’re just going to make a day of it so take the day off if you can. We’re gonna go, we’re gonna make our appointments, we’re gonna get our mammograms and we’re going to the mall to help take the fear out of it. So many women are dying because they’re afraid. In the case of my mother, by the time she went and was diagnosed, she was in stage 4. The fact that she’s still alive is a miracle. You rarely hear of somebody being that far along and coming out of it alive and surviving, but she didn’t go because she was afraid. We want to eliminate the fear and that’s what the whole Mammogram & The Mall campaign is about. Until there is a cure, our best way to survive is to detect it early. We want awareness in our communities because we’re beautiful and we need to stop losing our women to this disease. No more fear.