It is not at all a stretch to fall hard for Lizzo. Her rhymes are masterful, her voice is velvety, and her beats are bouncing. So we need to pay her.
Unless you’ve been hunkering down and avoiding all TV, print media and social feeds for some (stupid, orange, small-handed) reason, you’ve already heard of Lizzo. The 28-year-old rapper and singer out of Minneapolis has been building national buzz for herself since 2013 with her first two albums, Lizzobangers and Big Grrrl Small World. Yet her rocket really started to leave the atmosphere late last year with the release of her first major-label EP, Coconut Oil. With songs like “Scuse Me” and “Good As Hell,” Coconut Oil is your go-to confidence booster for 2017.
Lizzo has been diving deep into self- and body-love since her last album, with cuts like “My Skin” and “En Love.” Many of her music videos celebrate her full and heavenly physique and the beautiful bodies of other women of color and size. While Lizzo certainly isn’t the first plus-size Black woman to rise in the ranks of pop music, she is breaking barriers fat women have been slamming into for decades. For this, Lizzo is owed dearly.
It is not at all a stretch to fall hard for Lizzo’s music. Her rhymes are masterful, her voice is velvety, and her beats are bouncing. Lizzo is clearly talented. Yet overall, it’s her message, image and inclusiveness I find most valuable. Personally, I like my hip-hop a little darker and dirtier, and some of her tracks get me to that sweet spot like “Ain’t I” and “Betcha.” But I have to come clean — if Lizzo were straight-size, I probably wouldn’t buy her albums and share her videos. Therefore, is it wrong to support her music if you’re not a fan of it?
Here’s the short answer: No. Fat women have been shaking their fists at the pop-culture gods for years, begging for an angel in their image. We continue to accept representational breadcrumbs in the form of acceptably thick, white pop singers who “love their curves” (Meghan Trainer) and actually fat sitcom characters whose sole purpose is dieting and transformation (Chrissy Metz, This Is Us). The few times we do get to see a fat woman engage in normal fat-woman activities like getting laid, sometimes on a rooftop (Gabourey Sidibe, Empire), the haters crawl out from under their bridges in droves and carpool to the scene to tell us, “Nope. We don’t want to see you feeling yourself.”
This is precisely why we need Lizzo and, more importantly, why we need to pay Lizzo. We asked for her! All artists and performers need to enjoy commercial success in order to remain visible on a large scale. While I might not be paying to groove to all of Lizzo’s music, watching her show thigh while wearing a crown, surrounded by fat babes under a waterfall was a life-giving service for which I will gladly keep compensating her. I’m paying to keep her around and thriving. I’m paying to accurately show her value to record companies. They want to be sure she’s what the public wants while not giving two shits about what the public needs.
What we desperately need, to alleviate oppression of women of all sizes, is fat acceptance. Yes, straight-size women, you’re a part of this, too. We may be the ones thirsty for representation but the mass acceptance of our bodies, and Lizzo’s body, benefits you as well. This is especially true if you’re feeling the heat of societal pressures to keep the body you have despite the very nature of bodies to change. And, if I can be frank, we know some of you have a bigger woman crammed inside you just begging to come out, be free, and say “fuck you” to diet culture and extreme beauty standards. We just want to make that OK. I think Lizzo does, too.
If you are a fat person, if you love a fat person, if you’ve ever slapped #bodypositive under a picture of your skinny ass while makeupless in downward-facing dog, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Buy Coconut Oil.