Lizzo: The Body Positivity Queen We Deserve
Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Lizzo, born Melissa Viviane Jefferson, will be performing in Raleigh, NC on September 13 in the PNC Arena. Lizzo’s music, message and presentation are exemplrary of what a true feminist is: someone who uplifts everyone and spreads positive vibes while doing so. The uniqueness of Lizzo’s music can never be overlooked. A mix of pop and contemporary R&B, it is feel good music that will ensure you feel confident in your own body. Lizzo makes sure to tell you that she is happy and that you deserve to be happy as well.
Take for example her song “Juice” when she sings “If I’m shinin’, everybody gonna shine.” In “Good as Hell” Lizzo reminds the listener that regardless of love troubles, they are still a beautiful person who deserves love. In her song “Truth Hurts” Lizzo sings about being confident in one’s self regardless of what “boy problems” might come your way. Her iconic lyrics “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that b*tch” has become an internet phenomenon. It is the simplicity and absolute positivity that makes her a beacon for the music industry and the world. In a world of constant negativity in the news and social media, Lizzo reminds us to love ourselves.
Representation of plus-size black women is rare in the media; the majority of plus-size models and artists tend to be white women whose bodies barely reach the threshold of plus-size and still fit the eurocentric norms of what is considered beautiful. Lizzo challenges that and opens the door for more artists like her to become successful and she provides representation for the young girls who look like her. She inspires them and gives them a role model. Lizzo has, and will continue to have, a huge impact on the mainstream media simply for being herself.
One of the criticisms of Lizzo (and frankly any plus-size artists that “dare” love themselves) is that she is too open and shows too much of herself. Any person should be comfortable in their own skin and love their entire being the way they are. That is the message Lizzo makes sure to convey.
Lizzo is not shy in confronting the double standards present in the media. In an interview with Glamour magazine, Lizzo states “When people look at my body and be like, ‘Oh my God, she’s so brave,’ it’s like, ‘No, I’m not.’ I’m just fine. I’m just me. I’m just sexy.” She further added, “If you saw Anne Hathaway in a bikini on a billboard, you wouldn’t call her brave. I just think there’s a double standard when it comes to women.” Calling someone “brave” for showing their true self is not a compliment but further enforces society’s and the media's negative perception of them. Lizzo is here to make sure everyone recognizes their condescending language and she does so unapologetically.
A musician who preaches body positivity and diversity in all of her songs and makes it the main focus in her career has not existed in recent memory. Lizzo does not only speak about body positivity in terms of women who are considered plus-size, but encourages everyone to recognize their worth. Her song “Boys” encourages men to be confident in themselves considering our hyper-masculine society. Other artists such Lizzo’s impact transcends her music and message because her mere presence in the media is a reminder to everyone who looks like her that they are beautiful and deserve to be seen in the public eye as icons.
Before even being signed to a record label she released two albums: Lizzobangers in 2013 and Big Grrrl Small World in 2015. In 2014 she was named one of the fourteen music artists to watch by Time Magazine. Lizzo finally saw her hard work pay off when her 2019 album Cuz I Love You reached mainstream success.
Melissa Viviane Jefferson was born on April 27, 1988 in Detroit, Michigan and later moved to Houston, Texas. As a young girl she grew up playing the flute and participating in her school band before she began rapping as a teenager. Her love for music was always apparent. She went on to study classical music focusing on the flute at the University of Houston. In 2011 she moved to Minneapolis to focus on her music career after the death of her father. We all look forward to the continuation of such a positive, awe-inspiring musician.
By Yajaira Ramos-Ramirez, Staff Writer