The music artist addressed hateful comments about her appearance, explaining how they are deeply linked to institutionalized racism, sexism, and fatphobia.
On Sunday, the 'Truth Hurts' singer Lizzo went live on Instagram to address the insensitive comments made about her appearance. Throughout her career in the music industry so far, the artist has been vocal about inequitable beauty standards. Recently, she was at the center of much criticism regarding her diet and "juice cleanse," something she addressed in her latest hit single with rapper Cardi B, 'Rumors.' She urged her haters to think with more nuance about their opinions of her. Distinguishing between comments on her music and her appearance, Lizzo rightly called out her fatphobic critics who body shame her and fellow plus-size women, Harper's Bazaar reports.
"People saying sh*t about me that just doesn't even make sense," the artist said during her Instagram Live session. "It's fatphobic, and it's racist, and it's hurtful. If you don't like my music, cool. If you don't like 'Rumors,' the song, cool. But a lot of people don't like me because of the way I look." Reflecting on her work and the discourse she has engaged in with regard to being accepting of bodies of all sizes, shapes, and colors, Lizzo added, "It's like it doesn't matter how much positive energy you put into the world, you're still going to have people who have something mean to say about you. And for the most part, it doesn't hurt my feelings—I don't care."
Despite her apathy towards fatphobic comments, she acknowledged that they do still affect her in some ways. "I just think when I'm working this hard, my tolerance gets lower," she stated. "My patience is lower. I'm more sensitive, and it gets to me." She also began tearing up during the session, before reestablishing that she was going to focus on herself: She affirmed, "I'm only going to focus on positive comments from here on out. I don't have time for your negativity, your internalized self-hatred that you project onto me with your racism and fatphobia. I don't have time for it. Anyways, I'm going to continue to be me. I'm going to continue to be a bad b*tch."
In response to her emotional Instagram Live session, several artists came out in Lizzo's support. Rapper Missy Elliott, for instance, sent her two cases of flowers. In a video later uploaded to Instagram, Lizzo shared a note that accompanied the thoughtful gift. "Once every few decades, someone breaks the mold," the note read. "And you are one of those people. Continue to shine and be blessed through your next journey." In addition to this, Cardi B fiercely defended her most recent collaborator. Sharing the video on Twitter, she wrote, "When you stand up for yourself, they claim you problematic and sensitive. When you don't, they tear you apart until you crying like this. Whether you skinny, big, plastic, they going to always try to put their insecurities on you. Remember these are nerds looking at the popular table."
Ultimately, the criticism about the artist comes from a place of institutional, systemic fatphobia and racism. As Lizzo rightly pointed out during her Instagram Live session, Black women are expected to conform to a specific, acceptable template of what they are supposed to do and how they are supposed to look. When they break through this trope, they are threatened with vitriol, a point she addressed during an interview on Apple Music's The Zane Lowe Show. "I feel like [being] fat is the worst thing people can say about me at this point," she stated. "This is the biggest insecurity. It's like, 'How dare a pop star be fat?' I had to own that. I feel like other people who were put on that pedestal, or who become pop stars, probably have other insecurities or have other flaws, but they can hide it behind a veneer of being sexy and being marketable. There's still so many people who suffer from being marginalized systemically. Meanwhile, there's a plus-size Black girl at the Grammys. But plus-size Black women are still not getting the treatment they deserve in hospitals and from doctors and at work."