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Lizzo’s encounter with a “racist bigot” serves as an important reminder

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Meena Alexander
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Lizzo-Summerfest

Lizzo is changing the music game with her personal brand of empowerment, but that doesn’t mean she’s immune to the infuriating realities of racism.

We thought we’d heard enough stories of terrible men dulling the shine of wonderful women to last us a lifetime. And yet they just keep on coming.

Lizzo, the award-winning, flute-playing patron saint of self-love, has been riding high as of late. She’s just announced a partnership with beauty brand Urban Decay and her incredible performance at the BET Awards got a standing ovation from Rihanna herself – but her most recent show ended on a very sour note.

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After an appearance at Summerfest in Milwaukee that saw 10,000 fans – or “Lizzbians” as she’s recently dubbed them – screaming “I will never, ever, ever be your sidechick” in blissful unison, Lizzo took to Twitter to tell her followers how one “racist bigot” had ruined everything.

“This man attacked my hairstylist and my stylist, he tackled them to the ground, manhandled them and slapped them,” she said while filming a security guard working at the festival.

“They’re keeping me from going over there and having my way with him, but I’m filming this right now just in case I need some evidence.”

It’s clear the incident riled the Juice singer, who said she felt she couldn’t celebrate “the best show ever” because of the way her team had been treated. “Tonight was beautiful. You are beautiful,” she told fans. “But the struggle ain’t over. Racism and bigotry don’t care if you’re a headliner.” 

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Summerfest responded to Lizzo’s complaint, promising to investigate. “While there may be challenges during a performance, we expect those challenges to be handled professionally and respectfully. If those standards were not met, we will take appropriate action,” organisers said in a statement.

For so many of us, Lizzo is exactly the kind of star we’ve been waiting for, nailing a particular brand of self-love – both in her music and online – that uplifts others

She has spoken out on everything from race and representation to mental health, and her honesty around depression has sparked important conversations and offered solace to thousands going through the same thing.

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To see her big moment overshadowed by racism and violence is frustrating to say the least, but let it serve as a reminder that we need to continue calling out this kind of behaviour until it’s a thing of the past. Keep on shining, Lizzo.

Images: Getty

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Meena Alexander

Meena Alexander is Stylist’s sub-editor. She mostly writes about music, TV, film and books – all the best things in life.

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