Last month, American actress Blake Lively got slammed for posting an Instagram of herself at the Cannes Film Festival and captioning it 'L.A. face with an Oakland booty'. The front and back shot of pregnant Blake, resplendent in Versace Atelier, was in direct reference to the famous Sir Mix-a-Lot song 'Baby Got Back' but many naysayers were quick to point out the cultural and racial insensitivity of the comment coming from a rich white woman. 'How dare she compare her privileged white booty to a black one!', seemed to be the general consensus.
But in a Shade 45 radio interview that aired yesterday morning, The Shallows actress has defended her Instagram against critics (which, to her credit, she didn't take down). "It was something I was proud of! I never meant to offend anyone," she says. "But Sir Mix-a-Lot, he actually said a really nice thing, he was very defensive and kind, because it's just about celebrating women's bodies, and that's what I was doing and, you know, I never want to hurt anyone's feelings or upset anyone. I was celebrating my body!"
"It's nice to have a nice curve and not look like you're starving to death," she told radio host Sway Calloway, who believes promoting curves is a healthy thing. Lively went on to point out that she doesn't always look red-carpet ready in real life. "It's also unfair what you see in the media so much. What I look like on a red carpet is not what I look like in real life," she laughed. "Even in that dress, I'm wearing a great, tiny corset that, like, someone has cinched me in within an inch of my life. And, you know, it's the most favourable version, so when you look at yourself in the mirror at home and you don't look like that, you think, 'Well, why do those people look like that?,' but when I go home and take off that dress and look in the mirror, I don't look like that either!"
Lively comments echo the statements made by 'Baby Got Back' singer Sir Mix-a-Lot, who told The Hollywood Reporter last month that he interpreted her Instagram as positive. "I liked it," he says of the Instagram. "I was a little surprised at the criticism." The rappers says he originally wrote the '90s song as a way to celebrate another type of beauty in the female form. "What was promoted as beautiful was kind of really waif-thin, borderline heroin addicts. I don't mean that literally, I mean the look. That was kind of pushed at us, and we were told that it was beautiful, and what I started to see was some people of colour either being ashamed of who they were or trying their best to assimilate," he explains. "So I wrote this song not as a battle between the races. I wrote the song because I wanted Cosmopolitan, I wanted all these big magazines to kind of open up a little bit and say, "Wait a minute, this may not be the only beautiful."
Ultimately, the rapper had nothing but good things to say about Blake's Instagram post. "Fast-forward to Blake Lively. For her to look at her butt and that little waist and to say "L.A. face with an Oakland booty," doesn't that mean that the norm has changed, that the beautiful people have accepted our idea of beautiful? That's the way I took it."