Lizzo: No Approval Needed

“I just took a DNA test turns out I’m 100% that bitch,” Lizzo raps in her breakout single, “Truth Hurts.” And according to all accounts, she’s not exaggerating. "

The track, featured on Lizzo's third album, “Cuz I Love You,” is on its way to hitting platinum status according to Billboard music charts. Her album was released in April 2019.

It includes other singles like “Juice,” “Boys,” and “Water Me,” the album, which is her biggest to date, celebrates femininity, independence, body positivity, and black excellence. Perfect for bumping at parties or blasting alone in the car, it shows a clear departure from her earlier work, while still sticking to her roots. “That’s what I want this to be — the album that defines my career,” she told Rolling Stone Magazine in April 2019.

With lyrics like: “It ain’t my fault that I’m out here getting loose... Gotta blame it on my juice." -Lizzo from her song “Juice.”

And “You supposed to hold me down, but you holding me back... And that’s the sound of me not calling you back,” listening to Lizzo feels like being part of an exclusive club where girl power is celebrated — no male attention needed.
Melissa Jefferson is Lizzo's real name, she's originally from Detroit, Michigan. The 31 year-old moved to Houston, Texas at 10 years old. As a child, she discovered her musical talents while learning to play the flute in music class and rapping to her classmates on the school bus. “Houston ... that's the city that freestyle really found its swag, and I'm just lucky that I was a part of that while it was happening — and also a classically trained flute player,” she told Journalist Terry Gross in an interview for NPR radio show Fresh Air earlier this year. “I think it's just weird to everybody else, but it's not weird to me!”

Her true epiphany came in 2009 upon learning of her father’s death at 21 years old. “I didn’t love myself until I was 21. [It] was the worst year of my life,” she told Teen Vogue last year. “I was addicted to the gym, I didn’t eat, and I was sleeping in a dusty car, all for music. I thought my life was over.” From then on, she devoted 100% of her time to her emerging career, dropping her full-time college flutist gig for rapping and singing.

Now she incorporates all three elements into her performances, ones that feel deeply personal while also being electrifyingly entertaining. Her stamina is contagious; the singer belts out high notes and makes the stage her dance floor without running out of breath. Her backup dancers, known as the Big Grrrls, hype each other up and the audience throughout the show. The most mesmerizing aspect of Lizzo’s stage presence, however, is her complete lack of reservation. She screams and growls, her voice cracks. This vulnerability isn’t seen as flaws or mistakes in sound mixing, they’re purposely included in the show. Her long time fans have vouched for her live shows for years, a note Lizzo took heavily into account when making "Cuz I Love You." “For years, people would come up to me and be like, ‘You know, your albums are good, but I always tell my friends they gotta see you live ’cause it’s way better," she told Rolling Stone Magazine. “I feel like now is the first time nobody can say that shit to me.”

The artist began making waves in 2013 upon releasing her debut album, "Lizzobangers." Since then, she’s released two more albums and an EP, opened for Florence + The Machine and HAIM, performed at Lollapalooza and Coachella, and most importantly, sparked a dialogue on self love as a self-proclaimed “fat black girl.” The singer, who appears naked on the cover of "Cuz I Love You," has been on the forefront of the body positivity movement since her start, but it wasn’t exactly a conscious decision to become a spokesperson for “BBWs” around the world. “I have no choice but to exist and therefore I’ve been political by existing,” she said in an interview on the HBO live show 2 Dope Queens earlier this year. “When I talk about loving myself, it’s a political statement for some weird reason.”

Lizzo

Lizzo uses self-love simultaneously as a weapon against all her haters and a tool of empowerment for those who choose to listen. The journey didn’t come easy, but ultimately paid off, inspiring the majority of the tracks on "Cuz I Love You."

"About 10 years ago, I made the decision that I just wanted to be happy with my body and I just wanted to be happy with who I am," the artist told Fresh Air. "That was the beginning of my journey with learning how to love my body... You have to find that love for yourself deep down inside, underneath all of that questioning and ickiness."

It feels almost impossible to listen to a Lizzo song without clapping along. The emerging icon continues to tour her new album and post on her Instagram account daily. Whether her music was made for you or not, she’s opening doors and hitting number one at the same time.
-Anabel Prince