Allow Me to Reintroduce DJ Khaled as Your Body Neutrality Spirit Guide

DJ Khaled's approach to body image represents a refreshing update to the compulsory self-love of the body-positive movement

DJ Khaled relaxing on a couch
Behold, a body neutral icon
Getty Images for MTV

You probably know DJ Khaled as one of two things: the guy who always seems to be yelling affirmations like “We the best!” and “Another one!” and “DJ Khaled!” on at least one song in your typical Top 40 rotation at any given time, or the guy who infamously declared he refuses to perform oral sex on his wife back in 2018. But DJ Khaled is much more than that. In addition to collaborating with Dolce & Gabbana on a frankly dizzying new line of nylon jackets, matching jersey pants and swim trunks, it turns out the name-yelling, non-pussy-eating producer is also something of a body neutral icon.

In a recent interview with GQ, Khaled spoke openly about his body and being “a symbol of big-man swag,” and managed to share some surprisingly refreshing insight on body image and diet culture in the process.

“I’m not the slimmest guy — I’m not the biggest guy, but I don’t got a six-pack. But at the same time, I look in the mirror and I’m like, Man, I’m gorgeous, I’m beautiful,” Khaled told the magazine. While the star’s seemingly uninhibited embrace of his larger body may seem like another tired example of the unattainably radical body acceptance that has turned many off to the body-positivity movement in recent years, Khaled’s relationship to his body is actually a lot more nuanced.

While the star made it clear that weight loss isn’t usually his primary goal when it comes to fitness — “First of all, that’s because I don’t lose. I win. All I do is win.” — he also wasn’t afraid to admit that every now and then, he does make the effort to drop a few pounds. “I’m not always working out just to get rid of weight. Sometimes yes, I do, and I do get rid of the weight. But then it comes back, like a normal human being. And then you got to get rid of it again.”

While Khaled’s comments might not seem like terribly groundbreaking stuff to the vast majority of human beings who also weather the occasional weight fluctuation, the star’s willingness to simply acknowledge that reality reflects a refreshing take on body acceptance, one that acknowledges everyone with a body is well within their right to want to change that body as they see fit. Whether he’s aware of it or not, Khaled is preaching the word of body neutrality, a revision of the body-positive movement that seeks to remove the compulsory self-love and weight-loss stigma many feel has soured the movement. While the body-positive movement has contributed to a culture of toxic positivity that has left many people, particularly public figures in larger bodies, shamed for weight-loss efforts and forced to embrace a prescriptive, reductive brand of self-love, body neutrality’s more nuanced approach to body image and acceptance leaves room for people to have more complicated, more fluid relationships with their own bodies.

DJ Khaled may be a “symbol of big man swag,” the kind of guy who just wants to unbutton his silk shirt and “have [his] belly hanging out in the top-off Maybach with the wind blowing.” But at the same time, DJ Khaled can also be a guy who, like rest of us, sometimes wants to lose weight, occasionally does and often gains it back, “like a normal human being.” Both of theses things are totally fine, because DJ Khaled is a person with a body, and thus a person who has every right to feel however they want about that body, and to alter it accordingly if they so choose.

DJ Khaled, our body neutral king, can be all of these things, all while “representing the big-man swag. That’s who I am, and I’m cool with it and I’m blessed with it.” And that, friends and followers of the DJ Khaled Church of Body Neutrality, is what being a human with a body is all about: existing in a skin suit and feeling however the hell you want to about it on any given day. Now go forth and spread the good word.

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