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VMAs 2019: Lizzo’s performance is a masterclass in self-love

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Lizzo

The singer performed a trio of her biggest hits at the awards ceremony, taking the time to stop in the middle of her routine to deliver a rousing pep talk on the subject of acceptance.

Ever wondered what the bastard child of a TED talk and an MTV VMAs performance would look like? The answer is exactly what Lizzo did last night.

The singer performed for the first time at the 2019 VMAs in front of an enormous inflatable butt and wearing a sequined, lemon-yellow bodysuit. The performance itself was fantastic, a rousing melody of her hit singles Truth Hurts and Good As Hell from her new album Cuz I Love You spliced through dance breaks and a moment in which Lizzo drank from a bejewelled bottle of tequila like the queen that she is. 

In the crowd, fans including Queen Latifah leapt to their feet to applaud Lizzo’s ebullient performance. And the applause only increased in volume when, in the middle of the performance, Lizzo mounted a hot pink soapbox to deliver an impassioned speech.

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“Let me talk to y’all for a second,” Lizzo said. “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?” 

Lizzo continued: “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?”

The performance ended with Lizzo, arm in arm with her gaggle of dancers, belting out the chorus of Good As Hell with a big grin on her face. She feels good as hell, and you deserve to feel good as hell too.

This particular brand of pep-talk-meets-performance is becoming Lizzo’s signature. Back in July when the singer headlined a ‘Tiny Desk Concert’ for NPR, Lizzo paused the performance to deliver a rousing message to the crowd. (Which, by the way, was the biggest audience in the history of the 400-strong franchise, bigger even than ‘Tiny Desk Concerts’ given by Mac Miller and and The Roots.) 

Lizzo performs at the VMAs 2019.
Lizzo performs at the VMAs 2019.

“This is really really special,” Lizzo addressed the crowd during her ‘Tiny Desk Concert’ performance. “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 ass at this tiny, tiny little desk, you can love yourself.” 

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In our scorched, shameful world where we live alongside diet teas and wade through social media every single day, the decision to simply love yourself can feel all too hard. Luckily we have Lizzo and her joyful performance-pep-talks to remind us that self-acceptance isn’t an insurmountable ask. It’s a basic, fundamental right.

And we all deserve it to feel good as hell. 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer, podcaster and recent Australian transplant in London. You can find her on the internet talking about pop culture, food and travel.

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