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Meet Lizzo, the gloriously body positive hero you need in your life right now

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Get ready to fall in love with Lizzo, the American singer the whole world is obsessed with. 

Have you ever watched a music so infectious that, as soon as it was finished, you scrolled that cursor right to the start and hit play again?

That’s what happened when I watched the video for Lizzo’s Juice for the first time. I was hungover, sitting on a slow, trundling train to what felt like nowhere and, to bring the pathetic fallacy full circle, it was pouring with rain. 

I don’t want to sound dramatic, but Lizzo’s Juice video cured me of everything: the hangover, the public transport delay, even the rain. That three and a half minutes was so joyous, so uplifting, that I felt like a new woman. 

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Why the world is obsessed with Lizzo’s music right now

Lizzo’s particular super power is in how unashamedly she loves every inch of herself. “No I’m not a snack at all, look baby I’m the whole damn meal,” she croons in the song, wrapped in a feather-trimmed dressing gown while some shirtless hunk tries to put on the moves. “The juice ain’t worth the squeeze if the juice don’t look like this,” she grins. 

But Lizzo’s message isn’t that she’s the only queen, and everyone else must bow down to her. It’s that all women are gorgeous and deserving of love, both from others and themselves. “If I’m shinin’, everybody gonna shine,” she sings in Juice. It feels at once like a powerful rallying cry and the thing you’re going to want to shout on the dance floor to your best friends all summer long.

Who is Lizzo?

Lizzo was born Melissa Jefferson in 1988. Today, she goes by the moniker Lizzo, a pop artist marinated in funk, soul and hip hop. Her third album Cuz I Love You will be released on 19 April 2019, coming on the heels of two cult favourite releases.

Lizzo was born in Houston, Texas – just like Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter – before moving to Minneapolis as a teenager. While there, she started rapping and playing the flute in her school’s marching band, a skill she still employs in her music today. How many flautists do you know who have the breath control – and moves – to twerk while playing the flute? Lizzo can. (Sidebar: her flute has a name, and it’s name is Sasha Flute as an homage to Beyoncé.) 

Lizzo playing the flute

In 2013 she released her debut album Lizzobangers, a hip hop-infused record that received some industry acclaim. Her second album Big Grrrl Small World came in 2015, with an EP called Coconut Oil in 2016. But it’s her third album Cuz I Love You, released in April 2019, that is set to send Lizzo stratospheric.

What is Lizzo’s message?

Let’s call it positivity: Lizzo is body positive, sex positive, woman positive, life positive. But none of this is by design. This is just part and parcel of the way Lizzo lives her life.

“It’s not a label I wanted to put on myself,” Lizzo told The Cut, about the term body positivity. “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.”

Lizzo’s best lyrics deal with exactly that. There’s Juice, with its retro-tinged video in which Lizzo performs Jane Fonda-esque exercise routines and taps her long fingernails against a microphone, ASMR-style.

Then there’s Good As Hell, the 2016 track that first got Lizzo noticed outside of the music industry. (“You’re a star, you can touch the sky,” one lyric reads.” We also love Truth Hurts, which is all about overcoming the love of a bad man.

“Yeah I got boy problems that’s the human in me,” Lizzo raps. “Bling bling, then I solve ‘em that’s the goddess in me. You coulda had a bad bitch, non-committal. Help you with your career just a little. You’re supposed to hold me down, but you’re holding me back. And that’s the sound of me not calling your back.”

We also love Exactly How I Feel (Feat. Gucci Mane) from Lizzo’s forthcoming album. “Love me or hate me, I ain’t changing and I don’t give a fuck,” she sings on the empowering anthem. 

As Lizzo put it in an interview with Allure: “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.” 

What are Lizzo’s best videos?

We’re very partial to the Juice video, in case you hadn’t already noticed. Watching Lizzo in a roster of Eighties-infused outfits, belting the hell out of this iconic tune, is electrifying.

If you want more Juice, make sure to check out this video of Lizzo performing the song with the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race. If ever a song was made for the RuPaul treatment, it was Juice.

When is Lizzo going on tour?

The singer is actually on tour right now. She just performed the first weekend of Coachella in a set that many have dubbed the best of the festival thus far.

Lizzo did so through major sound issues: at one point, the backing track for her songs dropped out and the singer couldn’t hear herself through her earphones. “It’s my first time playing Coachella, so ain’t nothing gonna fuck my time up bitch,” she told the crowd. “So when I’m headlining next time, I’m gonna need my motherfucking ears to work.”

Lizzo and Janelle Monae at Coachella

Lizzo didn’t let it phase her, though. The singer breezed through her set in a silver playsuit complete with cape, bringing her friend Janelle Monae onto the stage at one point for a twerk off.

She’ll be back onstage for the second weekend of Coachella before heading on a world tour, starting in San Francisco on 22 April. From there, Lizzo will be visiting Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, Raleigh, Brooklyn, Detroit, Toronto, Washington DC, Boston and New York, finishing up in the US on 23 May.

Afterwards, she’ll visit the UK, with dates on 26 May in Manchester and 27 May in London, before heading to Paris, Barcelona, the Netherlands, Helsinki, Belgium and Switzerland. She’ll also be performing at the 2019 Glastonbury festival in the last week of June.

When is Lizzo’s album Cuz I Love You out?

Lizzo’s album Cuz I Love You will be released on 19 April 2019. Stylist got an exclusive sneak peek at the record – no surprises, it’s full of bangers – and you can read our thoughts here

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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