Lizzo is clapping back at the haters.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, the Grammy award-winning artist addressed some of the most hurtful criticism she’s heard over her career and image.
She said she’s been accused of making music for a “white audience” and for contributing to the “sexualization of women” with her social media posts and concert looks.
“That is probably the biggest criticism I’ve received, and it is such a critical conversation when it comes to Black artists,” she said of the accusations about her target audience. “When Black people see a lot of white people in the audience, they think, ‘Well this isn’t for me, this is for them.’ The thing is, when a Black artist reaches a certain level of popularity, it’s going to be a predominantly white crowd.”
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Lizzo referenced artists like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Tina Turner, Beyonce, Diana Ross and Whitney Houston who had overwhelmingly white audiences as well.
“I am not making music for white people. I am a Black woman, I am making music from my Black experience, for me to heal myself [from] the experience we call life,” she continued. “If I can help other people, hell yeah. Because we are the most marginalized and neglected people in this country. We need self-love and self-love anthems more than anybody. So am I making music for that girl right there who looks like me, who grew up in a city where she was under-appreciated and picked on and made to feel un-beautiful? Yes. It blows my mind when people say I’m not making music from a Black perspective—how could I not do that as a Black artist?”
Addressing the “sexualization” comments next, she defined how her control of her image defined the narrative.
“When it’s sexual, it’s mine. When it’s sexualized, someone is doing it to me or taking it from me,” she said. “Black women are hyper-sexualized all the time, and masculinized simultaneously. Because of the structure of racism, if you’re thinner and lighter, or your features are narrow, you’re closer to being a woman.”
She added, “I wanted to be like a dancer and also, it was kind of political and feminist in my eyes to have me, a full-figured dancer, wearing leotards, showing and celebrating curves and being Olympian in strength, endurance, and flexibility.”
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Opening up about her own relationship with her health and diet, she said she tries to maintain a healthy diet for spiritual reasons.
“I lead a very healthy lifestyle – mentally, spiritually, I try to keep everything I put in my body super clean. Health is something I prioritize, wherever that leads me physically,” she explained. “Like veganism, people were like, ‘You’re a vegan? What, are you deep frying the lettuce?’ I’m not a vegan to lose weight, I just feel better when I eat plants.”
“It sucks that we associate weight gain with the negative thing that causes it. It’s mixing this beautiful thing that’s food – and nourishing ourselves with it, but it’s the stress that’s the bad thing, not the 20 pounds,” she added. “I feel very lucky because I don’t feel that weight gain is bad anymore. Nor is weight loss—it’s neutral. And food is fun. I love eating, and I have a chef now, and I’m not thinking about it. I had a brownie last night.”