Lizzo Sounds Off on the Unfair Treatment She Faces: "I Could Have Been Erased"

After crying during an Instagram Live over the criticism she endures, Lizzo called out the unfair treatment she and fellow Black women suffer as members of the music industry.

By Samantha Schnurr Aug 18, 2021 4:00 PMTags
Watch: Cardi B Defends Lizzo After She Cries Over Hateful Comments

Through the pain, Lizzo continues to hold her head high. 

During a recent Instagram Live, the singer, who released her latest track "Rumors" on Aug. 13, pulled back the curtain on how social media vitriol can take a toll on her. While wiping her tears, she told viewers, "Sometimes I feel like the world just don't love me back...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." 

"For the most part, it doesn't hurt my feelings. I don't care," Lizzo clarified. "I just think when I'm working this hard, my tolerance gets lower. My patience is lower. I'm more sensitive and it gets to me." She called out the fatphobic and racist comments that were flung at her, telling viewers, "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 what she's had to endure, the Grammy-winning performer told Good Morning America, "I don't mind critique about me, my music. I don't even mind the fat comments. I just feel like it's unfair sometimes the treatment that people like me receive."

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While she's a world-famous artist today, she's already spent nearly a decade working toward this success and carving out a place for herself in a notoriously limited industry. "Black women have been in this industry and innovating it forever," she told GMA. "It is unfortunate that we are the ones who do suffer from the marginalization the most and the erasure the most and I feel like if it weren't for the internet, if it weren't for social media, I could have been erased."

"But I chose to be undeniable," she noted, "and I chose to be loud and I chose to be great and I'm still here. It's difficult."

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

She's here, she won't back down, but she also won't sugarcoat what's happening. "People are like, 'Don't let them see you with your head down, sis. My head is always up," she assured. "Even when I'm upset and even when I'm crying, my head is up, but I know it's my job as an artist to reflect the times and this s--t should not fly. This shouldn't be OK."

In the meantime, Lizzo will continue to be her authentic self and a symbol of perfectly imperfect self-love. 

"Just remember that self-love is a journey," she advised, "and there's gonna be beautiful days...and then there's day where you're like, 'Uh uh.'"

"But all of those days," Lizzo reminded, "is an opportunity to love yourself."

For more of her much-needed powerful words of wisdom, just keep scrolling!

Loving Her Curves

After stitching a TikTok video from user @tiffriahgrande, Lizzo supported the influencer by sharing that she was "heavy on the not trying to escape fatness."

"Exercise has helped me shift my mind, not my body. My body is going to change, everyone's bodies change," she shared in a May 15 TikTok, before pointing to her head, adding, "Everything I eat, everything I do, every time I move my body, it's all for this," she said, pointing to her head. "If this ain't happy, none of this is happy." 

Amplifying Voices

"I am here tonight because to be an icon isn't about how long you have had your platform. Being an icon is what you do with that platform. And ever since the beginning of my career, I have used my platform to amplify marginalized voices," Lizzo said while accepting the People's Champion Award at the 2022 People's Choice Awards, proceeding to welcome 17 activists to the stage. "So tonight I am sharing this honor. Make some noise for the people, y'all."

Going Au Naturale

The Grammy winner took to Instagram to encourage her fans to unapologetically love themselves. "To celebrate I wanna give y'all this unedited selfie..," she shared on April 2021. "Now normally I would fix my belly and smooth my skin but baby I wanted show u how I do it au natural—I am excited to be partnering with @dove and the #DoveSelfEsteemProject which is helping to reverse the negative effects of social media and changing the conversation about beauty standards. Let's get real y'all."

Finding the Beauty in Yourself

On struggling with self-confidence, Lizzo told CBS Sunday Morning in October 2019, "It's not something that you really change. It's something that you address and work on. I had to address every layer of insecurity because I can't just be like, 'Alright, my arm's not jiggly and lumpy anymore.' That's delusional. You have to be like, 'That's not ugly to me anymore and it's not wrong to me. It's beautiful to me.'"

How to Save the World...According to Lizzo

"I'm all about body positivity and self-love because I believe that we can save the world if we first save ourselves," Lizzo told fans at a show in Sydney, Australia in January 2020, according to local newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

Lizzo vs. Jillian Michaels

In January 2020, the former Biggest Loser trainer said on Buzzfeed News' digital series AM to DM, "Why are we celebrating [Lizzo's] body? Why does it matter? Why aren't we celebrating her music? 'Cause it isn't going to be awesome if she gets diabetes." Fans accused Michaels of fat-shaming the star.

Lizzo later said on Instagram, "I have done nothing wrong. I forgive myself for thinking I was wrong in the first place. I deserve to be happy." She also said, "If my name is in your mouth, so is my p---y, bitch. Enjoy the flavor!"

Michaels later said on E!'s Daily Pop, "We cannot deny the inevitable fact that being overweight leads to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and these things kill people. So if me telling you I don't celebrate someone being overweight because it could kill them is fat-shaming, ya got me. But by the way, I also don't celebrate anybody's weight. I don't celebrate you if you're a [size] 0. I don't celebrate you if you're a [size] 6. I don't care."

"And the argument that I'm trying to make is that I think people have felt so marginalized for so long and so excluded for so long, that the pendulum has swung to this place where it's like, 'You can't hurt me with this, I love being overweight,'" Michaels continued. "And that's the part where I, as a health expert, have to say, this will kill you."

"I don't celebrate anyone being overweight because it kills people," she said. "And denying that fact because it's politically correct isn't honorable and isn't virtuous. It's irresponsible and arguably dangerous. I just, I'm sorry I won't lie because it'll make you like me. I don't think it's doing anyone any favors."

Respecting Your Journey

"You're not supposed to be happy all the time," Lizzo told a group of band musicians at her high school, as captured in a CBS Sunday Morning profile. "You're not supposed to know what you're doing all the time, especially at this age, but not knowing what you're doing has nothing to do with where you're going, so I want you to know that. Cherish your journey and respect your journey."

Normalizing Her Dimples

In May 2019, Lizzo, who plays a stripper in Hustlers, told Essence, "I love creating shapes with my body, and I love normalizing the dimples in my butt or the lumps in my thighs or my back fat or my stretch marks. I love normalizing my black-ass elbows. I think it's beautiful."

"I made a decision to be myself because I knew I had no choice," she added. "Sometimes the label 'unapologetic' bothers me because it can be loaded, because it means we have to apologize for something in the first place. I'm not ignorant to the fact that we had to have a demeanor of lowering ourselves culturally just to exist. But I'm trying to shake up the narrative about how we're supposed to act."

Love Your Body

In May 2019, Lizzo shared a topless mirror selfie on Instagram, writing, "Can't tell if I look better w/ or w/out clothes."

Lizzo's "Glow Up" Revenge

At the 2019 BET Awards, Lizzo told E! News, "Last year I came to the BET Awards, I tried to go to the carpet and the carpet closed and they were like, 'You gotta just go inside.' And now I'm on the carpet doing all these interviews, taking all these pictures, feeling like that bitch, nominated and performing on the main stage. I couldn't ask for a better glow up."

Say No to Racism

In June 2019, Lizzo said a racist and "bigoted" security guard attacked members of her team at Summerfest, tweeting, "Friendly reminder that you don't have to say the 'n word' to be racist. That's not the sole requirement. Asking people to prove racism is another tool the oppressor uses to marginalize and discredit us."

Healing Yourself

"I want people to feel good! We can heal the world but first, we have to heal ourselves," Lizzo told fans while performing at the 2019 We Can Survive benefit concert supporting the American Cancer Society.

No to Non-Single Men

"Please do not send me poems, letters, or paintings if ur side bitch is still playing dress up in ur home," she wrote on Instagram in November 2019. "I'm doing great. Leave me alone, thanks."

Anxiety Fuels Her

"When I get really, really anxious before a show, I just go harder and harder and harder when I'm performing and I just go crazy," Lizzo told British Vogue in fall 2019. "I don't know why, but my anxiety sometimes fuels who I am as a performer and who I am as an artist – and I know that is not the case for everyone. I don't know if my body just, like, out of a desperate need to find a place for my anxiety or find a use for it, takes it and puts it there."

Shutting Down Mean Tweets

On Jimmy Kimmel Live! in November 2019, Lizzo joined celebs in reading Mean Tweets. One of them said, "Lizzo. Bus passes and happy meals. Two things that I imagine #Lizzo has seen a lot of." She responded, "Yeah, I'm a big bitch and I ride a bus. A tour bus, motherf--ker. Where's yours?!"

Tiny Bag, Big Impact

Lizzo attended the 2019 American Music Awards sporting what she said was a "bag big enough for my f--ks to give," adding, "Big body bitch in a Valentin-HO custom look for."

Say, "I Love You, Me"

"Close your eyes and say, 'I love you, me,'" she told the crowd while performing at iHeartRadio's 102.7 KIIS FM 2019 Jingle Ball in December 2019. "Now look at me and say, 'I love you, Lizzo. Now this is a very no judgment crowd, no shame in your game. If you want to wiggle, I want to see you wiggle. If you want to laugh, then laugh. If you want to scream, scream!"

Later in her set, she told the crowd, "Thank you for accepting me for who I am. I want to let you know that if 20,000 people can accept me for who I am, the whole world can fall in love with you."

Learn to Love Your Butt

"You know how long it took me to fall in love with this body?" the longtime body positivity advocate said on CBS This Morning in December 2019. "My butt was my least favorite thing about myself. And I learned to love it. And now it's the thing everybody can't stop talking about... Be you. Do you. Don't let anybody steal your joy."