Lizzo is Vanity Fair’s cover model this month. The interview is very good. While they covered body positivity, the treachery of social media and a few other things we’ve discussed about Lizzo before, I wanted to discuss all the other things Lizzo talked about, like politics, abortion, racism and the sexualization of Black women. There’s even more there, because Lizzo is much more complex than her detractors ever want to admit. At the start of the interview, Lizzo jumped into politics, specifically abortion rights. Remember that Lizzo pledged $1M to support abortion access following the Dobbs decision. While Lizzo has never had to make the decision herself, she said it shouldn’t matter. When it comes to abortion, everyone needs to let people “have access and resources and mind their f-king business.”
On reproductive rights: I know plenty of people who would have died if they hadn’t had that procedure. It shouldn’t matter if I had a personal experience or knew somebody; it shouldn’t matter what my opinion is. Opinions is what got us in this shit in the first place—what people think people should be doing with their bodies. These days, we don’t create laws that support people having health care, never mind abortions. How about letting people have access and resources and mind their fucking business?
Black women are never treated fairly: The Supreme Court has politicized law and made it a weapon against human rights. An overwhelming amount of people did not agree with what the Supreme Court did. It’s about power and control. It’s about white male supremacy; it’s always been about white male supremacy in this country and the people who are complicit in helping uphold it—who are a lot of white women. The women who voted for Donald Trump. The façade that ‘America, we’re all in this together.’ No, we’re not. Black people have been dehumanized so much—especially Black women. I’d like to be an optimist, but I’m a chronically disappointed optimist. The way Black women have been treated in this country has made me feel very hopeless. I don’t think there was a time when [we] were treated fairly and with respect. If I see hope in this country, it will come from the accountability of the people who have the privilege. As a fat Black woman, this country has never gone forward; it’s stayed pretty much the same for me.
She was harassed by police growing up: The police were right behind you. They follow you all the way home. I stopped at every Stop sign, I’m smiling, being pleasant, I tried to do everything right. And they follow you home, then they veer off and they’re laughing. I’ve been pulled over, I’ve been handcuffed…. They do ‘License and registration, okay, everything looks good, you’re good to go.’ ‘Ma’am, can you just step out the vehicle real quick?’
On playing James Madison’s crystal flute in her concert: When people look back at the crystal flute, they’re going to see me playing it. They’re going to see that it was owned by James Madison, but they’re going to see how far we’ve had to come for someone like me to be playing it in the nation’s capital, and I think that that’s a cool thing. I don’t want to leave history in the hands of people who uphold oppression and racism. My job as someone who has a platform is to reshape history.
On hypersexualization: When it’s sexual, it’s mine. When it’s sexualized, someone is doing it to me or taking it from me. Black women are hypersexualized all the time, and masculinized simultaneously. Because of the structure of racism, if you’re thinner and lighter, or your features are narrow, you’re closer to being a woman.
Why she did a TED Talk on twerking: I think it deserved being intellectualized, it deserved to have a classical etymology, it needed an origin story. It’s a Black woman thing, it was almost printed in our DNA. It disappeared and resurfaced in the 1920s, then disappeared and resurfaced in the 1980s. It’s an almost inexplicable phenomenon. Remember Sir Mix-a-Lot’s song [1992’s “Baby Got Back”]? I like big butts and I cannot lie. To Black women, that’s a compliment. But now everybody wants a big butt.
She gives Beyonce her due: I can’t even put into words what Beyoncé did for so many people. She was the beginning of Black women celebrating their curves—although she was on the smaller end of the spectrum—but she was our only representation. It’s wild to see the popularization of big butts, and I don’t even think this generation understands it. There’s kids stuffing pillowcases in their butt, mimicking Black women, and don’t even realize the implications of that.
This is what upsets me when people try to write Lizzo off for superfluous reasons. She has depth to her they won’t acknowledge. Not only did I find her interview interesting, I learned some things or at least saw them from a different perspective. Obviously, I agree with her on her abortion stance, and that resources should be readily accessible. I also believe that criminalizing reproduction targets certain groups and there are many white women who haven’t accepted this yet.
They talk about Lizzo’s music in the interview as well. There’s a quote from music producer/performer Nile Rodgers who said, “Lizzo is an extraordinary artist. She’s made the last three years better with her great songs and attitude; she’s proving to the world over and over again that everything is possible.” Something you should know about me is that if I ever start my own religion, it will center around Nile Rodgers. So if he’s blessed Lizzo than as far as I’m concerned, she’s one of the Chosen Ones and I am now her disciple.
Photo credit: Instagram