Veteran calypsonian Sandra “Singing Sandra” Des Vignes-Millington has added her voice to the chorus of citizens calling for former health minister Dr Fuad Khan to apologise for his “fat-shaming” statements against plus-sized masquerader Candice Santana.
In a 15-minute expletive-laden clip shared on social media yesterday, an emotional Des Vignes-Millington repeatedly chastised Khan for his criticism of Santana.
“Nobody said obesity is healthy but that is the only contribution you could make brother? In a society that has so much ills right now, that is your only contribution?” Des Vignes-Millington asked.
Describing herself as “pleasingly plump,” Des Vignes-Millington accused Khan of discriminating against citizens based on how they look.
“This burning me because he put the woman and fat people down in a kinda way. You can’t put me down brother because this fat lady is an achiever. This fat lady came a long way and I still going strong,” she said, as she repeatedly described Khan as a “dog” and “stinker.”
Stating that she wished to meet Khan in person or get his cellphone number to contact him directly to express how she felt by his statements, Des Vignes-Millington had to compose herself several times to avoid having to using obscene language.
“If I spend one more minute I would cuss stink. You go see me bring out the ghetto in me,” she said.
Des Vignes-Millington called on citizens living in Khan’s Barataria/San Juan constituency to think twice before supporting him in another election.
“The people in your constituency should not have respect for you because they might not be fat but might have fat children. God make people all different sizes,” Des Vignes-Millington said.
While Des Vignes-Millington spent the majority of the time slamming Khan for his statements, she also sent Santana words of encouragement.
“I want to tell the young lady don’t feel bad. You do you and enjoy yourself,” she said.
The controversy arose after Santana made a post on Ash Wednesday discussing her experience of being body-shamed by spectators while playing mas with The Lost Tribe on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. In a follow-up rant, Khan called Santana “a tub,” told her to “shut up” and that he did not want children in T&T to be obese.
Even amid social media uproar over his response, Khan stood by his statements as he claimed they were made out of concern over the effects of a high rate of obesity in T&T.
“I will not stand idle looking for votes, saying things of sweetness while the non-communicable diseases (NCD) epidemic grows, destroying all in its path and being swept under the carpet by statements like fat acceptance and fat shaming,” Khan said when contacted by Guardian Media on Saturday.
Santana responded by saying that she forgave Khan for the comments. The issue was also highlighted during the 3rd Annual Women’s Rights Rally and March at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Saturday.
As social media remained abuzz over the issue yesterday, Santana maintained her non-confrontational stance as she chose to repost media coverage of her experience playing mas.
“You do not know if a person may be suffering from thyroid issues or maybe dealing with hormonal imbalance issues, etc. Even if a person is overweight and obese, it’s best to encourage them to lose weight in a sensible manner, respectfully, and of course, do it in a healthy way,” she said in a Facebook post, yesterday afternoon.
An outspoken Khan chose not to directly comment on the spat on his Facebook page yesterday, instead opting to post a news story on Russian President Vladimir Putin advising women on how to maintain their figure at an International Women’s Day event in that country and a meme stating: “Only dead fish go with the flow.”