If I had to dream up my ideal female artist, the end result might look a little like Lizzo (real name Melissa Jefferson): the unapologetically black, fat, and feminist songstress who’s kickass hip-hop anthems aren’t just ridiculously catchy tunes but are also filled with empowering and confident messages.
Since her debut in 2013, Lizzo has been making waves in the music industry with her talent and self-love. Her latest single ‘Truth Hurts’ has been streamed over 1 million times on Spotify, but I deem that not enough for a song with lyrics as iconic as ‘I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch.’
There have been countless songs by female artists with similar levels of confidence shown, but there’s something particularly special about Lizzo’s brand. As a plus-size woman myself, to see Lizzo spreading these messages — like when she dressed a team of beautiful plus-size and diverse women as goddesses in the video for her song ‘Scuse Me’ — sends a jolt of warmth right to my heart.
For too long body positive anthems have been lacking: We’ve been left with condescension from women with conventionally attractive bodies or sad attempts that position a fat woman’s self-love in terms of their attractiveness to men (like Meghan Trainor’s incredibly problematic ‘All About That Bass.’)
But Lizzo has her lyrics and message down. She knows her own worth without someone telling her (‘I don’t need a crown to know that I’m a queen’), she knows that putting on weight can make you feel yourself even more (‘I’ll be slappin’ on that ass gettin’ thicker and thicker’), she talks about learning to love her own skin (‘I can’t wash it away, so you can’t take it from me, my brown skin’), and even wrote a song to express that unbelievable frustration of losing your phone in the club (‘Where the hell my phone?’).
And it’s not just for her music that she should be admired, her actions and every interview she gives reveals more and more reasons for us to be listening to her. She’s performed at events for Planned Parenthood, talked extensively about how she feels her music is a form of activism, and is vocal about hiring plus-size women for her tours.
It’s clear she’s very aware of the positive effects her success can have, in a recent interview with Vogue, Lizzo says: “I want to put women who look like me in the mainstream, I want that visibility and fairness.”
Elaborating about her dancers — The Big Grrrls — she talked about why they’re so important: “I want another artist to see the big girls onstage doing the splits and entertaining the crowd at size 16, 18 and I want that artist to say ‘Who cares about their size? They’re great dancers.’ ”
I vote we listen to Lizzo’s song and start worshiping her. With her latest music video dropping on Vogue, and her songs being played on ‘Broad City’ she’s definitely not fading into obscurity, but there are too many people who might benefit from hearing advice like ‘If he don’t love you anymore, just walk your fine ass out the door.’
The whole world deserves to know about her, and I’m positive that, one day, they will.