Having a body “to die for” has swiftly evolved from an idiom to a deadly reality, unfortunately. Now, BET is teaming up with La La Anthony to tackle the conversation surrounding the hottest beauty standard trend invading both broadcast media and social media: butt injections. From executive producer Anthony, Killer Curves: Bodies to Die For debuted Wednesday, August 8, on BET as part of the network’s "Truth Series."
Killer Curves is an exploration of body image—particularly for black women and women of color—pulling from the historical connotations of Sarah Baartman (Hottentot Venus) that dives into its evolution in the hip-hop community with video vixens, including voices from the trans community and opinions from medical experts. La La spoke with Shadow & Act about what drew her to Killer Curves, the types of discussions in the documentary, K. Michelle’s involvement and what she learned during the production process.
“I just want awareness, and I want people to understand that this is a serious issue in our community right now and that it’s nothing wrong with wanting to look a certain way or wanting to change something if that’s going to make you feel better," Anthony said. "But there’s a right and a wrong way to go about it, and the documentary is shedding light on the wrong way to go about it."
“I just have so many people that I know, friends who I grew up with and different people in my life who talked about it like ‘I want to get butt shots…’ and explaining how you can get yourself in an issue when you don’t do it the right way,” La La mused. “Now, I’m not saying don’t get plastic surgery if that’s the way you want to make yourself feel better, but there’s a right way and a wrong way. But going to these illegal places like ‘Oh, I can do it for $100 or $200,’ and it sounds so cheap, but it comes at a bigger price. So, I just wanted to shed light on that because I hear young girls when I’m out at schools or community events, ‘Oh, I want a big butt, and I know somebody in the hood that does it for cheap’, you know and just again, making girls and women understand that that’s not the way to go because you can really get yourselves into trouble.”
Source: BET Networks
K. Michelle made headlines the moment she stepped onto the scene with a noticeably plump butt and wider hips. As time went by, she re-entered the spotlight when she debuted her new look—a return to her natural physical aesthetic. The Love & Hip Hop franchise star appeared in the documentary and opened up about her process from getting butt shots to maintaining upkeep and returning to have them removed—all of which cost her “well over $100,000.”
“Yeah, we just reached out to her because she spoke publicly about having multiple surgeries and the ripples from the stuff she had put in her butt and ended up really causing her some health issues, having multiple surgeries to take out a lot of the silicone,” Anthony recalled. “I just thought it was so great that she spoke so publicly about it for young women and women out there.”
In the debut episode, K. Michelle even spoke on body dysmorphia and her choice to wear butt pads after she underwent her butt shot procedure, as well as receiving DMs from fans asking her to help them obtain reconstructive surgery. La La believes K. Michelle’s inclusion will be impactful for those types of fans and young women in general.
“She’s such a great singer, she’s such a great person, so I think hearing from her will have a great impact on our viewers. Because it's somebody that people love,” La La added.
The documentary doesn’t shy away from the visceral images behind vanity plastic surgery nor does it avoid the obvious: there is a wealth gap concerning who is more likely to have a positive experience versus a negative experience. Many victims experienced tragic issues such as rotten tissue (one woman’s “butt busted open”), silicon infections due to improper injections within the bloodstream and staph infections leading to necrotic limbs, among other horrific stories.
“I was just sad and surprised at some of the stories and knowing families [with members] that have actually died from this,” said La La. “They went somewhere to get butt shots and ended up dying. [I was] talking to one family who was like, ‘I saw my daughter, and in an hour she’s gone because she wanted a bigger butt and didn’t have the money to get it the right way.’ It’s so many sad stories out there, and they just want to look a certain way, and are willing to even risk their lives for that.”
Along with K. Michelle, La La enlists familiar faces such as Trina, Charlamagne Tha God, Melyssa Ford and more to offer their perspective in the “black backside” culture. Overall, La La wants this documentary to be the crucial beginning not the end.
“I just want everyone to watch it so the conversation can start and then we can dig a little deeper,” said La La, adding she put her “heart and soul” into this documentary. “I just want to encourage everybody to check it out; it’s a really important piece of something all of us should watch, especially as women.”
Killer Curves: Bodies to Die For is now available to stream on BET's website.