People Magazine Would Have You Believe that Mandisa Died of Fatness

I think that she deserves so much better than fatphobic memorialization

Simone Samuels
2 min readJun 5, 2024


One of my fears is that people will say that I died because I was “too fat” (which is what class III obesity implies).

In this People magazine article (and others) detailing the cause of her death, they cite that the cause of her death was “natural.”

There is no mention of what could have led Mandisa to be fat (assuming [falsely] that it is wrong to be obese).

There is no mention of the weight cycling and diets — probably suggested and recommended by health professionals — which undoubtedly led to her weight gain.

There is only passing mention of the death of her best friend which caused her to use food to cope.

There is no/little mention of her battle with depression.

No mention of the weight of living under White supremacist notions of beauty and health, of what it’s like to live under the chronic low-grade stress caused by this society as a fat Black woman.

No mention of lifelong weight stigma and body shaming comments from people like Simon Cowell and how, according to the research on weight stigma, that probably affected her mental…



Simone Samuels

I like big stories and I cannot lie. Authentic, transparent musings & connecting with others so we can all feel less alone.