Wednesday, November 30, 2022

SPECIAL EFFECT

November 8, 2022 by  
Filed under Feature

Lizzo sits confidently atop the pop music throne, with global fame and cultural impact that grows by the day.

Melissa Viviane Jefferson was born in Detroit in 1988. Thirty-four years later, now known globally as pop music phenomenon Lizzo, she has captured the imagination of millions around the world with her inimitable style, bold fashion choices, unapologetic self-love, and outspoken activism. 

Her new album, “Special,” could be read as a testament to her life in 2022 — just three years after the single “Truth Hurts” catapulted her to the top of the charts, she has become one of the most famous artists on the planet, found love with comedian Myke Wright, played James Madison’s crystal flute at the Library of Congress, and become one of the most closely-watched figures on social media. Songs on the new LP include “The Sign,” “About Damn Time,” “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready),” “Naked,” and “If You Love Me.” 

Outside of her music, what has earned Lizzo the most notice is the confident (and wildly successful) challenge that she has mounted against the entertainment industry status quo as it applies to a woman’s size. Even as she has unquestionably changed the conversation — perhaps for good — Lizzo is also unafraid to show vulnerability when that aspect of her life draws scorn and bullying on social media. She addresses it head-on in the lyrics to “If You Love Me”: “When the world can’t love me to my face / When the mirror lies and starts to break / Hold me close, don’t let me run away / Don’t be afraid.” 

A recipient of several awards for her artistry (including three Grammys, an NAACP Image Award and trophies from Soul Train and BET), Lizzo is also winning recognition as a philanthropist who lends her voice and gives money to causes that are meaningful to her. She is a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and recently donated $500,000 to Planned Parenthood and National Network of Abortion Funds after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. 

And her determination to have a lasting impact? It brings us back to the moment when she played the centuries-old instrument owned by a certain slave-owning Founding Father. 

“When people look back at the crystal flute, they’re going to see me playing it. They’re going to see that it was owned by James Madison, but they’re going to see how far we’ve had to come for someone like me to be playing it in the nation’s capital, and I think that that’s a cool thing,” she said in a recent interview. “I don’t want to leave history in the hands of people who uphold oppression and racism. My job as someone who has a platform is to reshape history.”

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