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  • Jayne Samborn

Reshaping the Norm

In February, Lizzo won her fourth Grammy Award. She was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, and won for Record of the Year at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards. While she did not win every nominated category, she had a smile on her face throughout the entire show as she celebrated her friends and peers on their wins. During her speech she talked about her goals throughout her career. In addition to the chart topping hits, Lizzo is achieving her goals and bringing a much needed change to the image and message music industry and changing our lives.

The influence for her empowering message was explained in her acceptance speech. Lizzo dedicated her win for Record of the Year to Prince, and the promise she made to herself after his death to “dedicate my life to making positive music.” She continued to explain that positive music was not topping the charts at that time. However, she pushed through and brought a new point of view to the radio.

In her documentary Love, Lizzo on HBO Max she shares her experience growing up and not seeing anyone who looked like her in the media. From race to gender to body type, Lizzo is changing the image of the type of star we see on the cover of magazines, in the news, and on social media.

When accepting her grammy for Record of the Year, she recognized that a black woman has not won this category since 1988 when Whitney Houston won with I Wanna Dance With Somebody. She is only the fifth woman of color in history to win this award following Roberta Flack (1973), Tina Turner (1985), Natalie Cole (1992), and Whitney Houston (1994).

In addition, she is proving to people that fatness is morally neutral. By showcasing different bodies through her backup dancers, the Big Grrls, all of whom are talented dancers who have faced numerous obstacles in their careers due to the size of their body. Lizzo is helping people cast aside their implicit biases due to diet culture and fatphobia through her music and her brand.

Additionally, she is also a successful CEO of her own shapewear company directed to bodies of all shapes and sizes. The measurements range from 6X to extra small so that everyone can feel comfortable in their skin. This inclusivity inspires body confidence and proves that she practices what she preaches in her music.

In addition to the inclusivity of her clothing brand, the messages of body positivity, self-love, and acceptance are ever present throughout the entirety of her discography. Her encouraging mission has inspired other artists and songwriters, allowing more songs that coincide with her message to fill the radio.

The impact she has had from music to business, has changed the world for the better. An important goal of hers was “to make the world a better place” and she decided that she “had to be that change” that society needed.

Lizzo has faced hate, discrimination, and rejection throughout her entire life. Those experiences motivated her to try to shine a positive light on the world. In her song Special, she addresses the constant criticism and counters “Is it just because I'm black and heavy? Y'all don't hear me though”. Despite how vocal she is about body acceptance and self-love, people still attack her because of her weight.

It completely contradicts everything she stands for and proves that some people do not actually care about what she is saying and just want someone to heckle. More than that, people may listen to her without really hearing what she is trying to say. Her music is fun for everyone to listen to, but she has a lesson she is trying to spread.

The message of her music is exactly that. She is proud of being black and being heavy and wants everyone to share her pride or accept it. She refuses to let the negativity and opinions of others bring her down or change her message. In the same song, she tells all of her listeners “In case nobody made you believe / You're special”.

She closed out her Grammy acceptance speech by telling anyone who feels like they are on the outside or misunderstood to “just stay true to yourself because…you will find people…who believe in you and support you.”

Lizzo’s objective is to motivate people to love themselves. No matter the shape of your body or the color of their skin, everyone is beautiful and should recognize that. It is time that as a society we ignore that message of songs that sexualize women of a smaller size, and listen to the music that makes us feel Good as Hell about ourselves.


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