Photo credit: Atlantic Records
JoJo, the 25 year old songstress dropped her third album Mad Love. yesterday which crowned the US iTunes pop chart less than 24 hours after its release.
The singer wrote an essay for Time magazine’s Motto admitting that she ‘will never have a thigh gap’ and spoke about the challenges that create obstacles in the road to self acceptance
In the early days of her career when she was 19, JoJo was pressured by the president of her former record label to lose weight to fit an image to look good enough to sell the music she was making:
“I felt like a product. Other female artists were brought up and my image was compared to theirs. The president of my former label sat me down and told me that losing weight was “about my health.” But we both knew it wasn’t. I was a a curvy size 2/4. I lived an active and balanced life. It hurt and affected me deeply, but I didn’t want anything to hold me back from moving forward with my career. And instead of rebelling or saying “Go f-ck yourself,” I wanted to make myself into a better product. So I restricted calories and took supplements and even injections to lose weight I didn’t need to lose. It was the unhealthiest thing I’ve ever done.
Today, the comparison game is one I will not play. I refuse. Trying to measure up to what anyone else seems “perfect” does nothing for my health mentally or physically, nor does it get me any further in my growth as an artist. When I think of all the time I’ve spent uncomfortable in my own skin, wishing I could just hibernate for the winter and come back skinny, I realize I could have channeled that energy and obsession into something much more productive.”
On the road to self love, she opened up that “it can be a real roller coaster ride processing and compartmentalizing all the images and opinions we are confronted with every day: “How do I compare to ‘those girls?’, Am I skinny/pretty/feminine enough?, Can I fit into this sample size?, “Won’t it make my life easier if I’m a size 0?” These are all questions I’ve asked myself, as a result of not only of being in the entertainment industry, but just being a woman in society, period.”
Coming to terms with where she’s now at, she tells “At 25, I’m a brick house adorned with battle scars and cellulite, curves and confidence Some days I have abs, sometimes mehhh… I don’t know where they go. And you know what? It’s all good.”
‘I Am’, an emotional ballad that features on the album is enriched of the emotions of self doubt, self love and nurturing oneself in the midst of that battle. As well as standing up to the self doubt that clouds the vision of herself. The soul singer goes into the depths of her dark days “Can’t be that little girl no more, the one you cut up on the floor, I’m done with all the shame” and powerfully professes in the chorus “I am worthy of love, I am beautiful”.