Lizzo’s rise to stardom happened so quickly that if you blinked, you might have missed it. She’s quickly becoming a titan in the music industry, unforgettable with her big personality and unapologetic attitude. Still, the most notable thing about Lizzo is her authenticity. Lizzo has always fought for the right to be accepted regardless of one’s passions, body positivity, and the de-stigmatization of mental illness.
She cemented her superstar status on September 3, when her single “Truth Hurts” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. She is one of only four other black women to achieve the feat this decade. A fan-favorite at Lizzo performances is when she is accompanied by her sidekicks Sasha Flute and Blew Ivy (both names inspired by Queen Bey). Lizzo refers to herself as a “band nerd,” and refuses to be ashamed of it. She encourages others out there to embrace their love for all forms of music, not just the popular kinds.
There certainly is nothing to be ashamed about the verified check and 258,000 followers the account @sashabefluting has earned on Instagram. Purely dedicated to videos of Lizzo playing her flute, acoustic versions of the songs “Coconut Oil” and “Juice” have garnered attention and awe from many.When Lizzo was nominated for two VMAs and asked to perform at the ceremony, she went for broke as per her usual style. Although neither flute made an appearance, she still poured her heart and soul into the performance, combining spoken word and bold costumes with her vocal prowess to make an impact. The most powerful moment of the night was when Lizzo stopped singing.
“It’s so hard trying to love yourself in a world that doesn’t love you back, am I right?,” she said. “So I want to take this opportunity right now to just feel good as hell.” Lizzo doesn’t try to create a perfect image of herself or pretend she feels these things all the time. Lizzo has been very open about her struggles with mental illness. “I’m depressed, and there’s no one I can talk to because there’s nothing anyone can do about it,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “Life hurts”.
She did try to put a positive spin on her pain in the caption, by encouraging users to be self aware and notice their triggers. Her honesty is refreshing in a business where the success many of our generation’s idols have achieved seems unattainable. Lizzo shows that a star doesn’t have to seem “untouchable” to be idolized and respected.
Lizzo has admitted that part of her mental health struggles stemmed from body image, because her body type doesn’t fit within society’s definitions of beauty. She’s defied these standards through her bold costume choices, making no effort to hide her cellulite. She surrounds herself with performers of the same body type, which uplifts them and gives them the recognition they deserve (but might not always get).
The week of September 16, her single “Truth Hurts” tied for the longest running #1 solo hit by a female rap artist in Billboard Hot 100 history. Lizzo continues to write her own narrative and empower her listeners through her unique brand. Personally, I’m thrilled at the prospect of following her musical journey over the upcoming years.