Jazz trombonist Leroy “Jelly Roll” Wickham has faced public censure for continuing to allow himself to be called by his allegedly fat-shaming nickname.
“There’s no shame in eating sweets, including jelly rolls, and having a large-sized body,” noted feminist influencer Katrina Martin, whose several-thousand plus-sized YouTube followers heartily agreed. “It’s a choice that millions of Americans make, and they shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable about that.”
Wickham, in turn, has protested that his nickname was bestowed upon him by friends in good fun when he was only 17 years old, as a result of his then-fondness for jelly rolls, especially on Sunday mornings - and then happened to stick, in the way that jelly rolls sometimes do.
This argument held little sway, however, with larger-women’s-rights advocate Luella Hewitt of Charleston, South Carolina, who responded, “We’re long past the time where anything can be done in good fun. Friendly banter is a remnant of a bygone era. Quite frankly, Mr. Wickham needs to get with the times.”
The final argument put forth by the six-foot-six, 178-pound Wickham in defense of the nickname he’s held for over 60 years was that, given his lanky frame, his being known as “Jelly Roll” would likely, if anything, make larger-sized people feel more comfortable eating jelly rolls. “Honestly, I haven’t eaten a jelly roll in decades," he said. “But from the looks of me, people would probably think jelly rolls make you skinny. And they're making me feel ashamed of my own name!”
But according to Luella Hewitt, that's no excuse for maintaining an insensitive moniker. "I respect that change can be difficult, especially when it comes to personal identify. But if your name is making someone else feel unsafe, then you should feel ashamed of it.”
Wickham expressed consternation at the prospect of suddenly demanding that his longtime cohorts stop calling him by the only name many of them have ever known him to have. “How can I control what my friends say and don’t say in private company? Between you and me, ‘Jelly Roll’ is as clean as it gets.” He sighed and shook his head. “Sweet Jesus. Next they’ll be trying to censor Dr. Seuss.”