How Lizzo is Changing the Game

Aoife Smith
Apr 27 · 5 min read
Lizzo, image from The Cut

In recent months, the should-be-called Lizzo movement is on the rise and for good reason.

Lizzo, with her new album ‘Cuz I Love You’ released last week, and subsequent tour beginning, radiates a consistent mantra that is creating an infectious wave of self-love and is uniting people everywhere.

Her mix of hip-hop and pop doesn’t just generate fun, feel-good music but music that has intertwined positive messages at every point, self-described by Lizzo as “Church with a Twerk”.

There is no denying that the last decade has seen amazing strides toward equality and acceptance, and sometimes it feels that because we’ve come so far, what do we do next? Activism areas have spread their wings and now there are numerous matters in the spotlight at once; feminism, racism, LGBT+, body-positivity, and weight shaming, gender-queer, women’s rights and more.

With burgeoning problematic buzzwords such as ‘Toxic Femininity’ and with our equally worrying reliance on our personal representation on Social Media, especially picture focused platforms like Instagram, we are seemingly at a bit of a crossroads with how we feel about the world externally and internally.

Is there an end-game or is a fight for equality and acceptance never ending?

There are so many movements, so many issues to fight for that somehow something that started off straightforward is now complicated and tricky at times. Because of individual perspectives and suffering, we are still in some way divided by gender, race, and class.

Undoubtedly, there is a hidden ambiguity about feminism, what it means and how far it will go. We are in a time of great revolutionary change so it is hard to predict what’s in store, and sometimes difficult to know what’s right. In ways we’ve passed milestones, in others, we are only beginning.

The problem is that with new issues, comes new divides and this categorizing and isolating is beginning to break us down, to pit us against one another, to force us to question ourselves.

Enter: Lizzo.

Lizzo in Rolling Stone

Born Melissa Viviane Jefferson, Lizzo has been a growing sensation for years, but with the release of her new album, her career is only just beginning.

Lizzo has managed to successfully destroy these differences and barriers and has created a uniting self-love mantra that everyone is a part of, or at least invited to be.

In an interview with Jameela Jamil as part of her I Weigh movement, Lizzo summed it up simply; “The biggest enemy to marginalized groups is division. Why aren’t we all marching together? We’ve been tricked into thinking our problems are different.”

Lizzo is teaching us that although our problems seem different and affect us uniquely, they are also inherently similar, and we shouldn’t let that divide us anymore.

Her main argument isn’t just about self-love and body positivity, it’s about ignoring our differences, coming together and creating much-needed allies within the modern world.

Lizzo’s emanating body confidence, personal strength and success is contagious and makes a good message irresistibly catchy.

Image from KQED

Her songs range from songs-of-the-summer hits like Juice and Good as Hell, to the perfect break-up jam Truth Hurts to motivation-pump songs like Fitness and Tempo. She has said that being black, fat and a woman are not traits she can change, so with these three things against her she wants to fight not only for herself but for everyone else, and she couldn’t be saying this at a more appropriate time.

She’s admitted to not always being so confident and making mistakes such as promoting a weight-watchers campaign, but she’s learned and flourished into the confident, beautiful and talented role model we all need, no matter what the age.

Her soul-hip-hop-pop genre has been carved out independently and rightly rivals other stars such as Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and even Beyoncé that sometimes have a skewed view of their audience. She campaigns for inclusion, world-wide self-assurance and internalized and externalized positivity.

Messages of Girl Power and Independence aren’t enough anymore, we need a sense of community and to feel welcome and self-happy. The artist Cardi B has done an abundance in promoting confidence and economic independence, encouraging strength in her audience with her well-known rags-to-riches story. But Lizzo envelopes these messages and takes away any aggression and adds warmth, positivity and a carefree attitude.

She doesn’t demand respect, she commands it; “I was born like this, don’t even gotta’ try”, and we all need a healthy self-boosting reminder and the assurance she offers when she says, “If I’m shinin’, everybody gonna’ shine”.

Lizzo is teaching us that we are good enough, and we need to come together and support one another, to love ourselves and each other, and that happiness is all that matters.

Image from the video of Juice

Listen to her music here!

Aoife Smith

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Writer | Reader | Teacher | onebrokegal.com