4 out of 5 stars
You probably know of Lizzo, the self-described “big girl” who is “100% that b–ch.” The flute-playing singer and rapper has had her single “Truth Hurts” sitting at No. 1 on Billboard top 100 for the past two weeks, and it’s been on the chart for over four months. The song was originally released in September of 2017, but through Lizzo’s viral Instagram posts and having the song featured in the Netflix film “Someone Great,” it found its way into the top 100 almost two years later.
NPR featured Lizzo on their podcast “Fresh Air” this past May when she released her latest album, “Cuz I Love You.” Terry Gross, the interviewer, comments first on the cover of the album where Lizzo poses completely naked. Gross says usually when she sees artists displaying full or partial nudity when promoting their music she thinks they are exploiting themselves as sex objects, or using their sexuality to sell. But when Lizzo did it, Gross saw it as a strong statement about self-love.
Lizzo jumps in on this, with, “Yeah, but are you only saying that because I’m fat? Because I feel like if I were a thin woman that wouldn’t be the case.” She goes on to say that thin women are rarely given the credit of being body positive because of our cultural focus on the male gaze. She is tired of people calling her brave instead of sexy when she shows off her body.
Being seen as an advocate for self-acceptance just because she’s a heavier woman is something Lizzo is used to. In reality, it took a long time for her to find the kind of love for herself that she now puts on display.
“About 10 years ago, I made the decision that I just wanted to be happy with my body and I just wanted to be happy with who I am,” Lizzo said.
It hasn’t been an easy road, and she shares her struggles publicly. In a recent Instagram post, she captioned about not feeling sexy lately, saying that “…it’s crazy how you can BE cute and still not FEEL cute… sheesh.”
We feel you, Lizzo.
One of the most moving parts of the podcast for me was when Lizzo was asked about her first body-positive song, “My Skin,” released in 2015. She found inspiration for the song during an interview when she was asked what her favorite thing about herself was, physically.
“For the first time in my life I had to actually think about something that I liked about myself physically, and because it was so difficult, I was moved to tears,” Lizzo said.
She had recently fallen off a rope swing and scraped up her skin, and during the interview she looked down at the bandages and recalled her friend saying, when she fell, “Look what you did to your beautiful skin!” And she found her answer. She wrote the song to celebrate the moment she discovered her love for her body.
To end on a personal note, I saw Lizzo perform in May of 2018 at a music festival. I didn’t know who she was when she came on stage, but when she performed “Good as Hell” and asked the audience, “Baby how you feelin’?” I swear every person there screamed back, “Feelin’ good as hell!” It takes a special person to lift up everyone around them with their own confidence and self-love, and that’s something Lizzo continues to do while twerking her big booty for the world to see.