ACRN Celebrates: Lizzo

By Taylor Linzinmeir, Staff Writer
[Photo via Spotify]

Pop artist and body-positivity advocate Lizzo can do it all. She can twerk, rap, belt out a high note and write a hook that will be stuck in your head for the rest of your life. Oh, and she just so happens to be a classically trained flutist.  

Read More: ACRN Celebrates: Jackie Wilson

Lizzo is the embodiment of modern confidence. She is in love with her body and wants everyone to know it—and to fall in love with their own bodies as well. You can hear her voice at the supermarket, the dining hall and in the homes of her adoring fans across the nation, chanting lyrics that are not only clever and catchy but also are unendingly powerful and vulnerable.

“There were a lot of things that weren’t popular but existed, like body positivity, which at first was a form of protest for fat bodies and black women and has now become a trendy, commercialized thing. Now I’ve seen it reach the mainstream. Suddenly I’m mainstream!” Lizzo mentioned in her Entertainer of the Year interview with TIME

Lizzo was born Melissa Jefferson in Detroit, Michigan, on April 26, 1988, but moved to Houston, Texas, when she was 10. Throughout her career, Lizzo has performed as a member of a variety of different music groups, ranging from her church choir to a prog-rock band called Ellypseas to an all-female rap group, the Chalice, which was even featured on a 2014 Prince song, “Boytrouble”. Now, she’s breaking boundaries while busting it down on her own and has been signed to Atlantic Records since 2015. 

Despite the fact that she’s been grinding and producing hits for years, her rise to stardom in April 2019 was almost serendipitous. Instead of talking about the full-length album, Cuz I Love You, everyone was hooked on the self-empowerment breakup anthem “Truth Hurts,” a song that gained minimal attention when it was originally released in 2017 but rose to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart after it was featured in the 2019 Netflix movie, Someone Great.

Lizzo went from living in her car for a stint and performing small shows to winning crowds at the American Music Awards and receiving eight Grammy nominations in one year, seemingly in an instant. 

But the most incredible thing about Lizzo is not her sudden rise to stardom nor her unwavering commitment to shake her ass for the world to see—although those things are very incredible. The best thing about Lizzo is that she goes through it too sometimes, just like the rest of us.

She isn’t an automated positivity machine that spits out preachings on self-love all the time. She is an absolute force to be reckoned with, but she also struggles with self-doubt and self-consciousness. She makes mistakes and says the wrong things at the wrong times. She is also open about her struggles with anxiety and about how seeking therapy has positively impacted her life. 

“Being vulnerable with someone I didn’t know, then learning how to be vulnerable with people that I do know, gave me the courage to be vulnerable as a vocalist,” Lizzo told Rolling Stone.

Being vulnerable and candid like this to an audience as large and impressionable as her’s combats the stigma against mental health issues that seem to be prevalent in today’s society—and her audience and influence is only growing.

Check out the latest video for “Good As Hell”. 

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