My taste in music has changed a lot recently as I moved away from the heavier, moodier music of my teens years and move onto music that a younger me would scoff at. I like a lot more pop than I ever have but since I don’t listen to the radio, the ways I find new music is limited. I mostly pick up songs from pop culture like commercials or movies and as recommendations from artists I already like.
But I titled this post with the artist already in question, so let’s skip the foreplay: let’s talk about Lizzo.
Lizzo is not an artist that I think I would normally like. She’s in a weird mix of pop and hip-hop that normally wouldn’t appeal to me but fortunately, Lizzo is an incredibly talented musician and she doesn’t care about my feelings towards genre. Lizzo is an immortal goddess and I just want to gush about her for a little while; so sit down, get some juice and let’s talk.
I don’t really remember how I started to like Lizzo’s music. I think I heard one of her songs on a commercial and just sort of accepted her into my life. I mostly fell in love with her Twitter first. As a personality, Lizzo seems to be everything I’m not in real life: proud, confident and beautiful. She famously stated that big girls are not brave for just existing and her humor feels like it was a mood board created just for me. Her whole compilation of just her saying “Bye, bitch” and leaving various scenarios reminds me of Carlos and I hiring a bike rickshaw to take us back to the car during A-Kon.
Lizzo being a giant mood board may sound a little cliche but as a fuller figure black woman who has fat in most of the wrong places, zero thigh gap and a body I’ve been ashamed at since I was probably about 14; seeing a woman who really does look like me live radically free and happy is frankly inspiring. She doesn’t claim that she’s big and beautiful, she doesn’t quantify it; she’s just beautiful.
There’s also something wonderful about being unapologetically herself because especially as a black woman, there is a lot of policing from the community and others about one’s “blackness” and yet there’s Lizzo, letting Meg Thee Stallion twerk to flute music. That’s just who she is. She’s proudly nerdy, quirky and fantastic and as a very chocolate sister in the woodwinds section: she has my adoration and respect.
Lizzo’s music is also just fun. I mentioned earlier that pop wasn’t my thing but Lizzo is just a good musician. Truth Hurts is so much more than just a bop, it’s a breakup anthem that actually has some soul to it. Most post-relationship songs are pretty hard to listen to unless you are recently at the end of a relationship but Truth Hurts is just good even outside of being memetic. Good as Hell is a beautiful ballad to self-love and self-care done by a woman who seems to actually practice what she preaches. Again, from any other artist most of those “take care of yourself, you got it” songs seem very hollow. As a person who struggles with depression and anxiety, I think from literally anyone else telling me that I should be feeling good as hell; I’d probably complain.
Juice did get a little overplayed for me but it’s good music and its popularity makes sense to me. Besides, if you’ve seen me shopping for the pod over at Total Wine right at opening, I’m probably singing this as I’m looking for wine or whatever materials needs for the weekend’s drink.
Lizzo’s message is just so authentic and that’s the word I keep coming back to. When she brings out a truly diverse group of backup dancers showing off that talent and beauty are not a market corned by thin white women or thin black women with relaxed hair. When Lizzo is on stage she just looks like she wants to be there and that’s amazing. She’s been working towards this for years and it’s fantastic seeing her get everything she deserves and more.
Now with her being human, I do have to admit some of the places where she’s made mistakes. The fussing over food delivery app orders was a thing but she quickly apologized and was better. She even gave credit to the Twitter user who created the now famous line from Truth Hurts. Most artists wouldn’t have done that organically; hell, it took Pharrell and Robin Thicke a goddamn lawsuit to make them realize they stole music.
Overall, I don’t think there are many artists today who are such genuinely kind and are themselves without being monstrous or hurting others is exactly what we need in these trying times. Lizzo isn’t asking anything of anyone by twerking and playing the flute. She is educated, eloquent even though neither of those things should be judges of character. She likes what she likes, does what she does, speaks when she wants to and empowers others around her. She is a 100% the icon we need now in these trying times. So before we go, I want to talk about what I think goes into The Gospel of Lizzo and why it’s worth following.
Lizzo’s chief commandments are easy to follow. Lizzo wants us to love ourselves. Now, that’s hard to do but it does help seeing women who look like you actually living free and beautifully helps a lot. Next is to handle business. Lizzo is not coy about making money moves but rather than those being mostly just vague bragging from rappers it’s rooted in a real desire to ensure that we all get what we deserve in this life. Next commandment is to take care of each other. Sisterhood has always been important to the black community but we have lost our way in more ways than one: Lizzo wants each of us to see each other as sisters and to support each other. So if your girl is going through it, it may mean taking off your satin cap but you should be there for her. Last but not least is being joyful and having fun. Life is short, we all die, enjoy what you enjoy. If you’re a fan of musicals, be a fan. If you like twerking to your favorite song, do it. If you wanna play hip-hop classics on the flue, just go for it.
That’s it, that’s the Gospel of Lizzo, as written by one of her loyal disciples.