Self-proclaimed Bop Star™ and twerking sensation, Lizzo has definitely caught the world’s attention. Over summer 2019, Lizzo escalated to superstardom, and her viral hits were suddenly everywhere—blaring from car windows and belted in the shower, featured in everything from Tik Tok dance challenges to Netflix movie soundtracks.
I’m not usually a fan of pop music, but anytime I hear her catchy heartbreak anthem “Truth Hurts,” I fight the urge to shout along, “I just took a DNA test...”. Lizzo’s star power is rooted in her bubbling personality, empowering messages, and refusal to be limited by labels, embodying the paradox that women don’t have to fit into stereotypical molds to be successful.
(Lizzo on Instagram @lizzobeeating)
Confident, charismatic, and whole-heartedly herself, Lizzo is a 31-year-old singer, rapper, and classically trained flutist. Born Melissa Viviane Jefferson, Lizzo came up with her iconic stage name merging her childhood nickname “Lissa” with Jay-Z’s song “Izzo.” Lizzo’s music incorporates pop, hip hop, soul and contemporary R&B influences, with an unmatched feel-good energy that fits into its own genre. She calls her hits “Lizzobangers,” spreading messages of body positivity and self-love that resonate with her audience and 8.3 million Instagram followers. Although it seems like Lizzo went from relative anonymity to overnight success, in reality, her fame stemmed from a decade’s worth of hard work.
In junior high, Lizzo joined her school’s marching band as a flutist, and she still practices regularly—proving to both the internet and sold-out crowds her ability to simultaneously twerk in designer bodysuits while performing impressive instrumental solos. Her flute, named Sasha Flute after Beyoncé’s third album,Sasha Fierce, even has its own Instagram account,@sashabefluting, with 329k followers!
(Lizzo for 2019 interview with The Cut; Photo: Pari Dukovic)
Lizzo was signed to Atlantic Records in 2015, yet even with a record deal, her rise to fame wasn’t immediate. “Truth Hurts” reached No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 2019, two years after its initial release. Since then, she’s released the album “Cuz, I Love You,” featuring empowering upbeat songs “Juice,” “Good As Hell,” and a remix of “Truth Hurts,” and performed at the VMA’s and BET Awards. She even married herself in her “Truth Hurts” music video to represent the importance of self-love!
In response to why she thinks she blew up in 2019, receiving more Grammy nominations than any other artist and declared as TIME’s Entertainer of the Year, Lizzo said, “I’ve been doing positive music for a long-ass time. Then the culture changed. There were a lot of things that weren’t popular but existed, like body positivity, which at first was a form of protest for fat bodies and black women and has now become a trendy, commercialized thing. Now I’ve seen it reach the mainstream. Suddenly I’m mainstream!”
(Lizzo performs with her dance crew in London on Nov. 6 Chiaki Nozu—WireImage/Getty Images)
Lizzo is committed to female empowerment and hopes to open doors for plus-sized and black women. As she’s risen to mega fame, Lizzo has shared in her success, collaborating with old friends along with big-name stars. She’s remained loyal to her dance crew, Big Grrrls, and is known to drive up to shows with her girls by her side. After years of “being denied work because of their size,” Big Grrrls have been offered agency contracts and commercial opportunities.
It can sometimes feel like pop stars, and mainstream music is deliberately formulated, as skinny ‘picture-perfect’ artists with similar sounds dominate radio stations and air time. Lizzo defies these norms, with a unique voice that doesn’t fit into a singular genre and uplifting lyrics that promote body positivity and self-love in an industry where women are often objectified and degraded. By leading a life of unapologetic authenticity, Lizzo inspires women of all shapes and sizes, embracing our ideology that each woman is a “unique and beautiful paradox.”
(Lizzo on Instagram @lizzobeeating)
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