By now I’m sure all of you have seen the very NSFW (I repeat, VERY NSFW) photos of klassy-with-a-K American Idol contestant Antonella Barba writhing all over the World War II Memorial.
And you’ve probably read some of the blogger debate comparing Antonella Barba’s nude picture scandal to that of season 2 contestant Frenchie Davis.

The ostensible reason that Barba hasn’t been booted off the show is supposedly because her naughty photos were intended for her boyfriend’s eyes only, whereas Frenchie posed topless because she needed the money.


The whole controversy is quite unsurprising. Just look at the careful compliments the judges have been giving Antonella — “the good news is, you’re an attractive girl,” and phrases to that effect. Dancing around the hard cold truth that she’s only there for eye candy and not for singing ability.

No wonder she’s the champion of Vote For the Worst. I blame that site for Taylor Hicks’ victory last year, too.

The fact that Antonella Barba is still on the show just underscores how much the recording industry prizes image over talent. I’m not gonna say looks over talent, because Frenchie is quite the fly chick. She has the it factor, and there’s no denying that. They just couldn’t fit her outsize persona into their tidy little package.

In almost every photo I’ve seen of her, her makeup is flawless. Whether it’s in her often seen American Idol audition video, or in these artistic gay pride photos with Eva Pigford, she’s always wearing amazing makeup and daring the camera to not love her. If you ask me, it’s impossible not to instantly fall for her.

Frenchie is my kind of American Idol. She’s a proudly big, proudly black woman who genuinely embraces all the fans who love her, unlike other idol wannabes who have carefully cited religious reasons for shunning their gay fanbase. She goes the extra mile by offering expert break-into-Broadway advice on her MySpace blog. And she can sing her butt off.

She rocks her TWA in bright, vibrant colors, and has been unapologetically natural and short-haired since day one. Love that.

Plus size women also have much to admire in Frenchie Davis, she is extremely confident in herself and works her curves to her advantage instead of cloaking herself in self-doubt and tent-like tops.
She offers a great perspective for women struggling with self esteem issues in this interview with Amaze Magazine:

I just want everyone to be comfortable with themselves… and know that beauty doesn’t have a size. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that to be comfortable with yourself means that you don’t have to take care of yourself. I have learned the importance of being healthy and I have been going to New York Sports Club for the past 2 years, and I take my power walks, and do my yoga poses because I want to live a long and active life, oh and be able to get through 8 shows a week without being exhausted… but what can I say? I loooove my curves and my personal life hasn’t suffered because of them,” she declares.

I can certainly get behind that philosophy!

Frenchie hasn’t spoken out about the scandal yet, but I think that’s because she’s moved on so far from the show. American Idol is in her rear view mirror now, and good riddance. Frenchie’s a very outspoken individual, so I’m sure her lack of response definitely isn’t because she’s being shy!

It seems to me that losing on American Idol can be more of a blessing than winning. Since Idol, Frenchie moved on to star in Rent on Broadway. She’ll be leaving in May and I’m excited to see what she does next.

Frenchie has also played Effie in Dreamgirls, and filled the role to perfection. Check her out here performing Heavy, and there are quite a few video clips of her performing the musical’s staple, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” Truth be told, between watching Jennifers Hudson and Holiday duke it out, I’ve gotten completely sick of that song.

So here’s an early Idol Season 2 clip of two of my faves — Kimberly Locke and Frenchie taking on the disco classic “Band of Gold.”

Frenchie, you’re a fierce and fabulous inspiration to afrobellas everywhere. Keep on doing your thing and making us proud!

** edit: Thanks to anon, I learned that Frenchie is demanding an apology. And I certainly hope she gets one. Apparently there is also going to be a protest. Seems like the beginning of a media circus if you ask me. There’s a lot more to protest about in this world.

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Empress says:
March 5, 2007, 2:03 am
All Hail Ms Frenchness! She is a true talent and I'll be excited when the world wake the hell up and stop sleeping on Frenchie's skillz! Love this chic and yes her makeup is the Business!
anon says:
March 5, 2007, 12:14 pm
Hey Afrobella, Check this out: Frenchie has asked for an apology from the AI producers. There will also be a rally.
Great Face says:
March 5, 2007, 4:45 pm
I stopped watching AI after season one when Tamyra Gray got booted. Crap like this just confirms my decision.
DAMIEN says:
March 5, 2007, 5:58 pm
L.A. Still loves Frenchie. This is a true talent for realz! She's beautiful with a great personality.
Who Dat?! says:
March 5, 2007, 6:27 pm
I know I'm alone on thos one but I didn't care for Frenchie AT ALL!! I don't get the hype behind her.... and furthermore she's the last person who needs to do internet porn! Don't crucify me- it's my honest opinion!
MistiFrenchieFan says:
March 5, 2007, 9:53 pm
Ok who dat I usually do CRUCIFY the peeps that Dissess the Miss Frenchie, I'll be good today and since you don't want anyone to crucify you for your opinion maybe its best not to voice it. Anyway, I'm a huge fan of Frenchie. I saw her in rent and girlfriend steals the show! Her voice is phenomenal and she's classy to boot. Her personality is wonderful and did I mention that voice. Instead of folk congratulating real talent they want to hype of all these wannabe talents like Cassie and Rhianna and Jessica Simpson and the list goes on. Frenchie can run circles around most of these broads today and she will get her time to shine like her or not.
MistiFrenchieFan says:
March 5, 2007, 9:56 pm
btw yall should here her sing CRAZY by Knarls Barkley....WONDERFUL
DiamondDiva says:
March 5, 2007, 10:33 pm
I loves me some Frenchie. That other chic should have been booted before the pics. I love the piece you did on Frenchie Bella. She deserves it!!
Dj says:
March 5, 2007, 11:34 pm
Great post bella. I haven't gotten into American Idol...but after this post i dont think i will. AI does not seem to have a sincere appreciation for real talent. first Jennifer Hudson now Frenchie...
alwayzalady22 says:
March 6, 2007, 5:59 am
i love frenchie and everything, but i heard that her porn flicks ended up on a kiddie porn site...i dunno if this is true or not, and i dunno if she knew that's where her pics would end up, but if she did, then she deserved the boot as much as salmonella or whatever her name deserves it...but if that's just a rumor, then AI definitely owes her an apology, but i think the only way AI will get it is if their ratings slip, ie. boycott it! that'll get the message across loud and clear...
sloane says:
March 6, 2007, 6:10 am
i agree with who dat, i'm not into frenchie and never will be. i've see her in rent and i wasn't impressed. whether a performer is considered talented or not, people are entitled to dislike them if thats how they feel. isn't that the nature of being in the entertainment industry? people choose to be into what you do if they want. if not, then that's the way it is. oh, and i'm not afraid of being "crucified" and i don't really don't really feel need to qualify my opinion about anything to anyone.
bella says:
March 6, 2007, 8:20 am
Who Dat and Sloane, you're completely within your right to not like someone. I don't think I've ever *freaked out * that someone didn't share my opinion and like someone I did, with the lone exception of this one chick in high school who said she didn't like Bob Marley. I still think she was just saying that to get attention, but I digress. Frenchie is one of those bold, polarizing kind of women. You either love her or you hate her. I'd always heard that her photos were tasteful and it wasn't porn, just topless and partially nude photos. Alwayzalady, I never heard that rumor about porn flicks! I guess rumors can get crazy when you put yourself out there like that.
kay-oj says:
March 6, 2007, 10:59 am
"She’s a proudly big, proudly black woman who genuinely embraces all the fans who love her, unlike other idol wannabes who have carefully cited religious reasons for shunning their gay fanbase." Wow- now that's a statement. This article was a good one and makes an important statement about being loud and proud about who and what you are. But, I guess that only applies to size, race and sexual orientation, but not religious beliefs. I guess it's only OK to stand your ground as long as it's not for "religious reasons." I think that this comment was in poor taste.
bella says:
March 6, 2007, 11:11 am
Sorry you feel that way, Kay-Oj. I've got a lot of gay relatives and friends, so negative statements about gay people really bother me. Most of the time they're borne out of ignorance, people who have never met or been friends with a gay person can make the most sweeping stereotypical statements. I also have mad respect for religious people, and I've written about quite a few proudly religious women -- see my Chrisette Michele post, and my Isaac Blackman post if you care to -- but I get really mad when people use religion (which I believe ideally should be about peace and improving the world and loving thy neighbor) as a shield for blatant homophobia and the judgment of others. And that was what I was trying to say. take care, and thanks for sharing your opinion.
DAMIEN says:
March 6, 2007, 11:41 am
SLOANE no one asked you to qualify your opinion....
afrobella says:
March 6, 2007, 12:29 pm
Hey, hey hey. Respect each other's opinions, people. Just because some of us love Mz. Frenchie and some of us don't doesn't mean we can't all get along...
DAMIEN says:
March 6, 2007, 1:53 pm
I'm just saying folk asking not to be attacked when no one started to do so in the first place. Sounds to me they wanna fight. Voice your shyt and move on. Saying, "I don't need to qualify my opinion of anything to anyone" is displaying a negative attitude when no one asked you to 'qualify' it in the first place. And as for the 'religion' part, Bella is reporting what she knows. She doesn't know where Frenchie stands with religion so why speak on it. Folks with that 'holier than thou' attitude kill me.
sloane says:
March 6, 2007, 4:14 pm
excuse you DAMIEN i wasn't trying to start anything. another poster kind of made it clear that you would need to qualify your opinion if you express a negative one frenchie davis. i said i disliked her, and that i don't feel the need to be explanatory or apologetic about that or any other opinion i may express at anytime. so PLEASE read what's going on before you get into fray. if you're not the type of person who wants someone with a different viewpiont then yours to remain silent then OBVIOUSLY this doesn't apply to you. bella, you have a very cool disposition and i was mostly addressing one specific person and anybody like them. thanks for making it clear that you're okay with people respectfully disagreeing. i also love what you have to say about some people using their religion as a license to discriminate. i also believe the main objective of religion should be to bring people together as opposed to being used as a tool to divide and polarize.
Damien says:
March 6, 2007, 9:19 pm
AGAIN Sloan! No one up in here asked anyone to qualify their opinion and that's for you and the other poster. Don't try and start ish. No on blasted anyone for their opinion initially so why bring it up.
sloane says:
March 8, 2007, 11:50 am
dude you STILL don't get it. if you can't comprehend the point of my last message, there is no point. DON'T ADDRESS ME.
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