Women’s History Month: Lizzo
Music has been a monumental part of major movements, including the Women’s Rights Movement and increasing body positivity. An exemplary musician whose lyrics reflect both of these revolutions is Lizzo.
Born Melissa Jefferson in Detroit, Michigan, on April 27, 1988, Lizzo was destined to be a star. Growing up, she trained as a flautist and vocalist. At age 10, Lizzo and her family moved to Houston, Texas, where her love of music expanded. As a teenager, she would rap throughout Houston and eventually made a rap group. After graduating high school in 2006, she attended the University of Houston where she studied classical music with a focus on flute. After the death of her father in 2011, she moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to pursue a career in music.
While in Minneapolis, Lizzo lived in her car for a year while with her band, the Chalice. She released an album with them, and it gained mild success locally. Also, during her time in Minneapolis, Lizzo worked closely with musician Prince on his album Plectrumelectrum.
In 2016, Lizzo signed with Atlantic Records. She released her first EP, Coconut Oil and was the co-writer on every song on the record. Coconut Oil touches on the journey to self love. The Coconut Oil tour featured musical guests, such as Florence and the Machine and HAIM.
In June 2018, Lizzo donned the first plus size outfit made for FIT’s Future of Fashion show for her NYC Pride performance. Her performance featured all plus size dancers to spread her message of self love and body positivity.
On January 4, 2019, Lizzo released her first single, Juice which was off of her third studio album, Cuz I Love You. Juice is considered Lizzo’s breakthrough song, earning her a song on the Billboard Top 10.
Though released in 2017, Lizzo’s Truth Hurts arguably became the biggest hit of 2019 after being featured in Netflix’s Someone Great. It became her first number one hit which, in turn, made her the third female rapper to top the Billboard 100 without a featuring artist accompanying her. Truth Hurts spent seven weeks on the Billboard 100 with the music video surpassing 220 million views on YouTube.
Lizzo has been outspoken about the body positivity movement and how her career has been affected by her plus size figure. She is also an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and a fierce advocate for equality. She has performed at several pride parades and stayed relentlessly true to herself through all of her successes.
Choosing Lizzo to highlight for Women’s History Month is a tremendous honor due to her great representation as a trailblazing woman. She inspires countless young men and women to be their authentic selves and to embrace their inner and outer beauty. While the body positivity movement is relatively new, great strides have been made thanks to legendary figures such as Lizzo.