At the Billboard Music Awards on Wednesday night, singer Lizzo won the top song sales artist award, during which she used her acceptance speech to talk about persisting in the face of what she referred to as suppression.
Wearing a dress with the word “Vote” emblazoned across it, Lizzo thanked the “big black women” who came before her and made the moment possible while urging people to stay true to who they are.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about suppression and the voices that refused to be suppressed. And I wonder, would I be standing here right now if it weren’t for the big black women who refused to have their voices be suppressed,” she said. “And I just want to say right now, if you’re at home watching this and you are thinking about changing yourself to feel worthy, this is your sign to remain true to who you are.”
“Let me tell y’all something—when people try to suppress something, it’s normally because that thing holds power,” she added. “They’re afraid of your power; there’s power in who you are; there’s power in your voice. So whether it’s through music, protest, or your right to vote, use your power, use your voice, and refuse to be suppressed.”
👏 👏 👏 👏 👏 @lizzo
— Billboard Music Awards (@BBMAs) October 15, 2020
As a leader in the body-positivity movement, Lizzo has long been a proponent of self-love. Speaking with Vogue for the October 2020 issue, she said that the body-positivity movement had become too commercialized.
“Now, you look at the hashtag ‘body positive,’ and you see smaller-framed girls, curvier girls. Lotta white girls,” she told the outlet. “And I feel no ways about that, because inclusivity is what my message is always about. I’m glad that this conversation is being included in the mainstream narrative. What I don’t like is how the people that this term was created for are not benefiting from it.”
Lizzo felt that the movement became something more acceptable once it became mainstream.
“Girls with back fat, girls with bellies that hang, girls with thighs that aren’t separated, that overlap. Girls with stretch marks. You know, girls who are in the 18-plus club. They need to be benefiting from … the mainstream effect of body positivity now. But with everything that goes mainstream, it gets changed. It gets—you know, it gets made acceptable,” she said.
During the same interview, she also talked about voter suppression and the need for people to get out and vote.
“I just want to encourage people to register to vote. That is the most important thing to me,” she said. “Because there’s a lot of upset people, and there’s a lot of people who have power. There’s a lot of voter suppression in Black communities. But there’s a lot of angry white kids now. And I’m, like, ‘Yo, register to vote. Go out. You won’t get suppressed if you try to go to your ballot box.’ You know? I think it’s important to remind people of what they can do. My job isn’t to tell you how to vote. But my job is hopefully to inspire you to vote, to activate you, so that you can take your protest to the ballot box.”
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