Melissa Viviane Jefferson, known professionally as Lizzo, is an American singer, rapper, songwriter and flutist. Born in Detroit, Michigan, she later moved to Houston, Texas, where she began performing before moving to Minneapolis. She continues to face immense backlash due to her bold fashion choices, while she advocates for inclusivity and body positivity.
Speaking to actor and gender activist Jameela Jamil, Lizzo articulately pointed out that growing up, she didn’t see people who looked like her on popular media and she wanted to change that. She said, “I definitely didn’t see a lot of people looking like me in the media. The Black women I saw were all really light-skinned or had straight blonde hair and I wanted that. I wanted to look like that. But when I looked into the mirror, all I wanted was to be someone else. I didn’t want to change small parts of myself, I wanted to change in entirety. I wished I could wake up and be a sailor moon.”
She continued, “As I grew up and I found that beauty existed inside myself, I had to unlearn a lot of bullshit. Making solo music was hard for me because I knew that nobody would turn up just to look at me. And I was in these groups with my friends who were all prettier than me or cooler than me and I put them on a pedestal, somehow thinking that they deserved the spotlight more than me.”
Lizzo said, “The biggest enemy for marginalized groups is division. I think we all feel that we have these differences. I remember when all (women’s rights) marches were happening, there was something different for everyone. March for scientists, march for women, march against gun violence. Why are we doing that? We have the same problem and we have been tricked into thinking that they are separate but they are not.”