Lizzo, the Grammy-winning artist, is candidly addressing the nuances of her crossover success and the predominantly white fanbase that often comes with it.
In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair for its November cover story, the 34-year-old music sensation, born Melissa Viviane Jefferson, shared insights into her artistic journey and the purpose behind her music. Lizzo boldly stated that despite reaching high levels of popularity, she doesn’t create music with a specific racial audience in mind. Instead, her music is an authentic expression of her Black experience—a form of personal healing from life’s challenges.
While Lizzo’s musical roots are grounded in R&B, hip-hop, and gospel, she has undeniably made an impact in the pop genre with hits like “Juice,” “Good As Hell,” and the recent “About Damn Time.” Despite garnering a diverse fanbase, including many white fans following her breakthrough in 2019 with “Cuz I Luv You,” Lizzo emphasized that her primary audience is Black women.
Lizzo passionately expressed, “We need self-love and self-love anthems more than anybody.” Her music aims to resonate with Black women who, like her, have faced underappreciation, bullying, and societal pressures. She finds it perplexing when critics question her commitment to creating music from a Black perspective, considering it an inherent aspect of her identity as a Black artist.
Touching on her recent controversy involving Founding Father James Madison’s 200-year-old crystal flute, Lizzo believes there is still significant progress needed for Black women in America. She candidly shared her feelings of hopelessness, stating that throughout history, Black women have not been treated fairly or with respect. Lizzo sees hope emerging when those with privilege take accountability, emphasizing the need for progress, particularly for individuals like herself, a fat Black woman.
Lizzo’s commitment to social issues is evident through her activism. She donated $500,000 to Planned Parenthood and the National Network of Abortion Funds following the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June. Notably, her tour promoter, Live Nation, matched this donation with an additional $500,000. Lizzo attributes the significant role of race in the ruling, pointing to what she sees as a pervasive issue of white male supremacy in the country, with complicity from various quarters, including white women.
In conclusion, Lizzo’s journey transcends music, delving into the complexities of race, identity, and activism. Her unapologetic stance and commitment to her roots reinforce her message of self-love, making her a powerful voice in today’s diverse and evolving cultural landscape.
Sources: New York Post