The trailblazing body positive singer is full of wisdom on the subjects that matter the most.
Let’s just dub 2019 the year of Lizzo and be done with it.
The singer, rapper, flautist (and twerker extraordinaire) has released her third album Cuz I Love You to rapturous critical acclaim, stormed the Coachella stage with a rousing set featuring a guest appearance by Janelle Monae and become one of the most important people to follow on Instagram.
It’s there that Lizzo does what Lizzo does best: remind everyone that loving yourself should never be a radical act, but a decision born out of necessity. We are only in this world for one life. Why do you want to spend your time here hating yourself?
Lizzo on why loving yourself is always going to be a work in progress
Speaking to CBS, Lizzo revealed that her ‘overnight success’ has actually been “the slowest build of all time”. “It’s the slowest burn,” she said. “I’ve done so many tours, but nobody knows who I am until this year. But would I have been able to maintain this type of mainstream success 10 years ago? Hell to the nah! I needed this 10 years. I feel like a master.”
In those 10 years, Lizzo has also been working on her self-esteem and on loving herself. It’s why, before every show she does, she guides the audience through a positive mantra. “You are beautiful,” Lizzo tells her crowds. “You can do anything.”
“It works,” she explained to CBS. “It works. Because talking bad to yourself works. It’s the antidote to, ‘So stupid’. It’s like, ‘No, you deserve this. You’re intelligent’. Words are so powerful.”
She continued: “It’s like a little mosquito bite. Somebody’s like, ‘Well, you know, you a big girl, so you can never have short hair. You always have to have a big hair, ‘cause you’re a big girl.’ And they say that lovingly, but I’m like, that’s a little mosquito bite. You don’t even know it’s there. But soon, you look up, you’re covered in mosquito bites. And you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I have all of these things’. But they were so normalised to me because they were so innocent.”
The process of learning to love herself, then, was a process that took a long period of time. “They meant well,” Lizzo said. “But I had to, like, peel back a lot of layers.”
Lizzo on why everyone deserves to feel “good as hell”
“Let me talk to y’all for a second,” Lizzo said during her rousing performance at the 2019 MTV VMAs. “I’m tired of the bullshit. And I don’t have to know your story to know that you’re tired of the bullshit too. It’s so hard trying to love yourself in a world that doesn’t love you back, am I right?”
“So I want to take this opportunity right now to just feel good as hell. Because you deserve to feel good as hell. So tell me how you’re feeling?” - 2019 MTV VMAs
Lizzo on making 2019 the year you accept yourself
At the end of July, Lizzo went into the NPR offices to perform a short set as part of their ‘Tiny Desk Concert’ franchise. The concept is simple: artists come into the NPR building and, surrounded by office paraphernalia, sing acoustic versions of a few of their most beloved hits. Unsurprisingly, Lizzo killed it, and after belting out Cuz I Love You, Truth Hurts and Juice, she ended with an empowering message for everyone who had packed into the small office to watch her perform.
“This is really really special. I want to thank the band for killing it. I want to thank the team for making me look so cute. I want to thank all of you here at NPR for coming out, I heard this is one of the biggest crowds they’ve ever had. And you came out for big ass old me. I just want everyone to remember if you can love me. You can love yourself. Every single day. If you can love my big black at this tiny, tiny little desk, you can love yourself.” - NPR
Lizzo on why she takes naked pictures
“I’m doing this for myself. I love creating shapes with my body, and I love normalizing the dimples in my butt or the lumps in my thighs or my back fat or my stretch marks. I love normalising my black-ass elbows. I think it’s beautiful.” - Essence
Lizzo on being a sex symbol
“I didn’t have enough women to look up to and they weren’t given enough space in the industry to carve out a lane for big girls that are brown and black and want to sing and dance without getting shit talked and body shamed. I’m out here and I set my mind to it. I want to be a sex symbol and music goddess and I’m out here trying to make that happen for myself. I’m here for the fantasy but I want to be a part of that fantasy. I’m just as fine as those girls.” - Vogue
Lizzo on loving yourself
“I don’t think that loving yourself is a choice. I think that it’s a decision that has to be made for survival; it was in my case. Loving myself was the result of answering two things: Do you want to live? ‘Cause this is who you’re gonna be for the rest of your life. Or are you gonna just have a life of emptiness, self-hatred and self-loathing? And I chose to live, so I had to accept myself.” – NBC News
Lizzo on body positivity
“It’s not a label I wanted to put on myself. It’s just my existence. All these fucking hashtags to convince people that the way you look is fine. Isn’t that fucking crazy? I say I love myself, and they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s so brave. She’s so political.’ For what? All I said is ‘I love myself, bitch!’ Even when body positivity is over, it’s not like I’m going to be a thin white woman. I’m going to be black and fat. That’s just hopping on a trend and expecting people to blindly love themselves. That’s fake love. I’m trying to figure out how to actually live it.” – The Cut
Lizzo on being a trailblazer
“The body-positive movement is the body-positive movement, and we high five. We’re parallel. But my movement is my movement. When all the dust has settled on the groundbreaking-ness, I’m going to still be doing this. I’m not going to suddenly change. I’m going to still be telling my life story through music. And if that’s body positive to you, amen. That’s feminist to you, amen. If that’s pro-black to you, amen. Because ma’am, I’m all of those things.” – Allure
Lizzo on accepting yourself
“I think I was, like 21, because that was the worst year of my life thus far: My father passed away, I was homeless, I didn’t have any money, my band was doing really badly and I was by myself. I hadn’t been eating because I didn’t have money, and I was honestly the smallest physically I’d ever been — and still, that was the worst I’d ever felt about myself. And I remember one day being like, ‘This is it.’ Twenty-some-odd years of me believing that one day I can wake up and be some other girl. It’s like, you’re not gonna wake up and be bigger or smaller or lighter or darker; your hair’s not gonna suddenly grow down past your knees. You’re going to look this way for the rest of your life. And you have to be OK with that.” – NPR
Lizzo on self care
“Self care is in the little moments — bathing, sweating, washing your hair.. it’s in laughing so hard you can barely catch a breath, your lungs expanding on a morning jog… now more than ever we need to enjoy the quiet within ourselves.” – Instagram
Lizzo on vulnerabilities
“But I finally realised that owning up to your vulnerabilities is a form of strength, and making the choice to go to therapy is a form of strength. It took years for me to get to that point, but I did it last year for my friends and my family. I didn’t really do it for myself at first, but because I realised what my emotional condition was doing to my relationships. And I wanted to be a better sister and a better daughter, a better boss and a better friend.” – NBC
Lizzo on how to love yourself
“It’s unfair for us to assume that people know how to love themselves … [corporations have] spent decades telling people they weren’t good enough and selling them an ideal of beauty. All of a sudden you’re selling them self-love? People don’t know how to love themselves, because they were trying to look like the motherfucker you were selling them!” - Guardian
Lizzo on who she wants to speak for
“My movement is for everybody. My movement celebrates diversity. It’s all about inclusion. It’s all about getting our flowers and giving each person their own space to be an individual and speak up for that individuality.” – Junkee
Lizzo on how health isn’t about a specific dress size
“I want people to realise that fitness doesn’t have a look or an aesthetic or a weight. Fitness is a very personal thing that’s between you and your doctor. To have a big black girl singing about how she’s working on the calisthenics – because mind you, I be in the gym everyday, but people don’t believe that because I got extra fat and rolls and a big butt – I think that it’s empowering for young girls, to see that it’s okay to work out and not have a six-pack.” – Billboard
Lizzo on staying true to herself
““When I have to make decisions, I always choose honesty and I always stay true to myself, because I know at the end of the day that is what’s going to remain. That is what’s going to be the legend: That I was true to myself and that I honored every person by staying truthful to them.” – Rolling Stone