Tonight, music’s newest “it girl” Lizzo will be making her major TV performance debut tonight at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards.
But before we check out what this body-positive beauty has in store for this milestone event, we thought it would be a good idea to give our top five reasons why this über-talented musician isn’t just delivering amazing music but also serving her audience a heathy dose of life lessons that go beyond being entertained.
If you didn’t love Lizzo before, we hope you do by the end of this.
Lesson 1: Your body needs no apology
“I’m doing this for myself. 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,” the singer/rapper recently told Essence about her refusal to hide her curves.
While many have applauded her social media page for its refreshing and unapologetic take on self love, the 31-year-old says this isn’t some contrived gimmick, this is really who she is.
“My social media is very self-serving. I do it for me. Even if I have 500 followers and no likes,” she explains. “And I always wanna kind of keep it that way — like my social media is something that needs me more than I need it.”
Lesson 2: Perfect your craft even when no one’s watching
The mainstream may be just taking notice of Lizzo in 2019, but she’s actually been working towards this moment for more than a decade by performing with bands since 2008, and releasing her first solo album back in 2013.
In an interview with The Cut earlier this year, the singer, who attended the University of Houston on a music scholarship, also revealed that she’s been classically trained as flutist since she was in sixth grade band— and has even found a way to incorporate the unlikely instrument into her live shows.
As a result, she’s now infamous for twerking while playing the flute, a practice she calls “ho and flute,” and still practices “four hours a day when her schedule permits.”
As lighthearted and fancy free as Lizzo’s brand may seem, the truth is every component of her act is carefully crafted and curated. There’s actual talent and strategy to back up her newfound celebrity. A valuable takeaway from anyone else seeking to do the same.
HAVE U EVER SEEN A BITCH PLAY FLUTE THEN HIT THE SHOOT? pic.twitter.com/aVy3E6kIVF
— |L I Z Z O| (@lizzo) October 20, 2018
Lesson 3: Be brave enough to ask for what you really want
Following her father’s death in 2010, Lizzo dropped out of college and moved to a suburb of Minneapolis because she’d heard the music scene there was amazing.
Once she got there, she hit the ground running and quickly started doing live shows with local bands. She even formed two groups of her own. But when it came time to go solo, she had serious trouble finding collaborators to send her music.
Undeterred by the lack of support, she took to Twitter and posted that she wanted a beat from Minneapolis producer Lazerbeak (whose real name is Aaron Mader.)
As crazy as that ploy sounds, it worked! Lazerbeak not only saw the tweet, he responded, “Just give me a case Mike’s Hard Lemonade.”
That sort of, “closed mouths don’t get fed,” approach has served the entertainer well in her career and is a reminder to all of us not to be scared to shoot our shot, regardless of the odds.
In fact, at one point, her group GRRL PRTY became such a big hit in the Minneapolis area it even attracted the attention of Prince! The music legend was so impressed by the brazen young women he asked them to record a song for his 2014 album Plectrumelectrum.
You can check out a clip of her part on the track below.
Lesson 4: Turn your ‘flaws’ into your come-up
As we’ve mentioned before, it’s taken Lizzo more than a decade to become the “overnight success” she is today. And much of that success has hinged on her ability to deal with rejection and turn her perceived flaws into marketable content.
When her family first moved to Houston from Detroit, the singer says she struggled to fit in, which is a huge part of why she turned to rap in her early teens. At 14 she even started a hip-hop group called “The Cornrow Clique,” which would lead to her getting her stage name Lizzo; a combination of her real name, Melissa, and a nod to the Jay-Z song “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” which was hugely popular at the time.
It’s ironic that the self professed nerd, who was a member of the marching band and obsessed with anime is now being lauded as one of the “cool kids,” because the truth is, her reality before stardom was quite the opposite.
But a lot of the things she got bullied for — like dressing up as her favorite anime characters — have now very intentionally been incorporated into her performances. This is done not only as a middle finger to her naysayers but also a reminder to her fans to flip the script and actually embrace what makes them different.
This clip of her performing in New Orleans while dressed as Sailor Moon says it all.
Lesson 5: Work hard, player harder
Working on your craft, chasing your dreams and refusing to take “No” for an answer are all great lessons for anyone seeking to live a life steeped in passion and purpose.
However, one of the most poignant lessons that Lizzo continues to teach all of us, is to never take yourself too seriously and to always remember to have fun along the way.
So many celebrities become huge and then instantly start complaining about their work load and the pressures that come from being a household name. But our girl is very clearly on the opposite side of that spectrum.
Whether she’s attending the MET gala or twerking across the stage, there is an ever present sense of joy (and gratitude) that oozes out of her at all times. And perhaps that’s why so many women – of all races, sizes and ethnic backgrounds – have felt such a deep kinship to her.
Witnessing Lizzo loving herself out loud with so much glee – while still making her mental health a priority – almost challenges the rest of us to examine why we aren’t giving ourselves permission to do the same. So if you’re a fan (or open to being one after reading this list), don’t forget to check her out, tonight on the MTV Movie & TV Awards when they air at 9PM ET/PT.