Adele Puts Karl Lagerfeld In His Place—And This Curvy Black Woman Is Proud Of Her For Doing It

Adele, the British vocalist with the black soul singer pipes and a voluptuous body to match, is my hero today—not only because I adore her triumphant album, 21 or think she’ll sweep all six of her 2012 Grammy nominations this weekend, but because she put fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld in his place for saying she’s “a little too fat.”

The 23-year-old singer, who became one of the bestselling artists in the world when her singles, “Rolling In the Deep,” and “Someone Like You,” propelled 23.5 million album sales last year, told People magazine that she reps hard for the majority of women who don’t and won’t ever look like the models Chanel designer Lagerfeld sends down the catwalk, and, P.S., she’s amped about that.

“I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines,” she said just days after Lagerfeld’s jab. “I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that.”

It was just earlier this week that Lagerfeld came at Adele all sideways, giving her a backhanded compliment in Metro Paris: “She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice,” he mused.


You know what? Round of applause for Adele, whom, as Associated Press writer Nekessa Mumbi Moody points out, is “the rare star who doesn’t need multiple magazine covers, a cosmetics contract or a clothing line to sell albums. She does it all based on the strength of that sumptuous voice and those stirring songs.”

Of course, because she’s a full-figured woman in an industry that clearly values thin, light, blonde and tawdry *cough, cough… Nicki Minaj… cough, cough… Rihanna* over artists who lean solely on their voices to showcase their talent, Adele is no stranger to nasty comments about her weight. Indeed, she’s spoken out about it before, telling British Vogue last year that she cuts off anyone who makes her weight an issue. “I’ve seen people where it rules their lives, who want to be thinner or have bigger boobs, and how it wears down on them,” said Adele, who is expected to perform at the Grammy’s this Sunday after taking off months to heal from throat surgery. “And I don’t want that in my life. I have insecurities, of course, but I don’t hang out with anyone who points them out to me.”

Adele, honey, welcome to our world. Karl Lagerfeld’s smack speaks directly to the contempt the fashion world has for women with a little meat on their bones in general and black women in particular. They stay questioning our fashion sense (like the nutjob at Elle Paris who claimed in a column that black women didn’t know how to dress until Michelle Obama came along), making us feel guilty for our inability to fit into the unforgiving, must-be-straight-as-an-arrow designs they stock in the stores, and making it clear on magazine covers, fashion show runways and design houses that black women, with our curves and our extra, need not buy, walk or apply. No matter how much we try, we’re never going to fit into Karl Lagerfeld’s ideal of beauty, and I appreciate Adele, a celebrity with worldwide prominence, for speaking to what black women experience on a daily basis. Lagerfeld’s comments and Adele’s response remind me that I have to stay ever vigilant in teaching my daughters, two athletic, curvy girls, not only to take good care of their bodies, but to get their minds right as they prepare for a life outside the mainstream fashion industry.


1. The #Flawless12 Project (Day 1): Learning To Love What I Look Like In the Morning
2. And Now, the Part Where My Daughter Starts Hating Her Bootylicious Butt
3. {Digging In the MBB Crates} Shining: What I Love About Me

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. I had to look up the definition of tawdry, just to makes sure I completely understood….” Showy but cheap and of poor quality: “tawdry jewelry”. Yes, that word fits them perfectly. And kudos to Adele.

  2. Well written article! As a black fashion writer, I have run into more snobs than I care to speak about. Adele is everything!

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