Jazmine Sullivan’s Refreshingly Real Perspective On Body Image And Representation

Shane McCauley

Jazmine Sullivan wants to inspire curvy women dealing with self-acceptance issues.

Jazmine Sullivan is on a mission to inspire full-figured women dealing with issues surrounding body image.

This month, the R&B songstress appears on the cover of Ebony’s “The Body Brigade” issue along with blogger Gabi Gregg (a.k.a GabiFresh), “Orange Is The New Black” star Danielle Brooks and singer Chrisette Michele. Excited about the glossy’s decision to celebrate curvy black women, Sullivan says she acknowledges the importance of promoting positive messages around body image in her role as an entertainer.

“There aren’t a lot of plus size women in the industry, but I’m one. I feel like I made it through — to some degree — through the other side, to say the least. But they aren’t a lot,” Sullivan said during an interview with The Huffington Post. “I know that I represent a lot of women out there who aren’t used to seeing themselves portrayed, and I’m happy to be that woman. I feel everybody needs to see themselves. Everybody needs to be able to look up to someone and see somebody that looks or acts like them so that they can be inspired.”

A photo posted by Jazmine Sullivan (@jsullivanmusic) on Mar 4, 2016 at 7:45pm PST

The Philadelphia-native went on to tell HuffPost the biggest message she can offer to fans is to “love yourself,” while recognizing that self-acceptance is an ongoing personal challenge.

“Love yourself the way you are…it’s a constant struggle, so I don’t want to preach something that’s unrealistic,” Sullivan said. “Because where I’m at, I’m constantly reminding myself of my good qualities and trying to affirm myself positively. So I understand sometimes you’re just not feeling yourself, but you have to love yourself for who you are.”

“Ebony” is Sullivan’s first magazine cover, and she told HuffPost she “would love” to continue sharing messages of body positivity by being featured in more magazines and modeling gigs going forward. 

I feel it’s all about representation. So I feel like I’m needed as far as being seen on covers and in magazines,” she said. “Women who look like me, women with regular bodies need to see women that look like themselves. So I would love to be one of those women to represent them.”

In 2015 Sullivan returned from a three year hiatus to release her third studio album titled, “Reality Show.” The project went on to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart, and No. 2 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.