The pop music scene has always been known for sparking controversy and pushing boundaries, but up until now, a lot of our favorite hype tunes and motivational bops have rung kind of hollow. They’re moving to the right people, but in a world that always seems to be on the verge of imploding, it can be hard to really feel good about yourself, especially when the icons and role models you see on TV look and act nothing like you.
But then, along came Lizzo.
Born in Detroit and raised in Texas, Melissa Viviane Jefferson, stage name Lizzo, has got it all. She can rap, sing, dance and act, and does it all without making compromises for societal expectations. She’s a plus size style icon who promotes fitness and taking care of yourself but doesn’t shy away from showing off her body, cellulite and all. She’s a powerhouse in the entertainment industry, but she stands out because she not only openly embraces herself, her culture and her self worth, but also promotes that same positivity in others in everything she does. Her music videos are diverse and inclusive, and every song promotes loving yourself and showing the world your true colors, and she never apologizes for it.
She’s certainly not the first person to campaign for body positivity and self love in the pop culture scene, but she really puts her money where her mouth is. Having grown up struggling with body image issues, she now champions the cause by leading by example. Her backup dancers, a group known as The Big Grrls, are an all-plus size dance troupe featured prominently in nearly every one of her videos and every stage show, and she participated in ModCloth’s “Say It Louder” campaign in 2018. In that same year, she also modeled the first plus-sized outfit designed for FIT’s Future of Fashion runway show.
Headlining Coachella and Pride Festivals nationwide, Lizzo is setting the bar high for her fellow performers. Promoting body positivity, self-love, owning your sexuality, and embracing and promoting your culture, it seems there’s nothing she can’t do.
She sings from the heart, having grown up with the world’s expectations on her shoulders, but now she’s lifting it up, along with everyone in it, and we’re all the better for it. She’s the Queen we need, even if we don’t deserve her.
Sarah Nowack is a senior professional writing major who is minoring in graphic design. Her days are spent haunting the local library, consuming copious amounts of coffee, playing unpopular video games, and making terrible puns. She can be found at @battlerouge on Twitter and @shiverbound on Instagram.