Lizzo pays tribute to late father 12 years after death: ‘Love never dies’
'Hug your people today y'all. Tell em you love them. It matters.'
Lizzo hit up Instagram on Wednesday to pay tribute to her late father, Michael Jefferson, who died in 2009 when the singer was 21 years old.
The 32-year-old music superstar (born Melissa Viviane Jefferson) shared some throwback photos of her father, including one with her parents when she was younger.
“12 years since we lost you, dad. I wish you could see this… I’d say you wouldn’t believe it—but you knew what I would achieve even back when I couldn’t,” Lizzo captioned the post. She also had this message for her fans: “Hug your people today y’all. Tell em you love them. It matters.. all the hugs and love I gave my daddy are still here. I can feel it. Love never dies.”
The songstress was born in Detroit and lived there until her family moved to Houston when she was age 10. About a decade later, she moved to Minneapolis to pursue her music career. Following the death of her father, Lizzo struggled with mental health issues and lived in her car.
On New Year’s Eve in 2019, Lizzo shared with her fans that the same year her father died, she as homeless and living in her car and “cried myself to sleep” on Thanksgiving.
“2009 was the year my daddy died 2009 was the year I lived in my car & cried myself to sleep on thanksgiving,” she tweeted at the time. “2019 is the year my album & song went #1. 2019 is the year I told my mama I can buy her a house,” she continued. “Anything can happen in a decade,” Lizzo wrote, adding “Tomorrow is the beginning of ur Anything.”
On Wednesday, Lizzo posted a touching journal entry about her father on her Instagram Story, writing “as long as there’s air in my lungs you are here.”
“12 years today since I lost my father. 6 years since I realized you can’t lose anyone you love,” the journal entry read. “Dad – your flesh weakened but your spirit is strong and I know because you move me like wind at my back.”
“I hear your quiet voice in my head as I walk my path. And when [I’m] holding the mic so tightly my fingers cramp and I am afraid – you hold my hand,” she continued. “You breathed life into me and as long as there’s air in my lungs you are here.”
In December, Lizzo recalled her lonely, sad nights as a starving artist in a post showing her gifting her mother a new car for Christmas.
She shared the video on Instagram of her surpring her mother, Shari Johnson-Jefferson, with a sparkling new Audi, complete with a red bow on its hood, theGRIO reported.
2009 was the year my daddy died— Feelin Good As Hell (@lizzo) December 31, 2019
2009 was the year I lived in my car & cried myself to sleep on thanksgiving
2019 is the year my album & song went #1. 2019 is the year I told my mama I can buy her a house
Anything can happen in a decade
Tomorrow is the beginning of ur Anything pic.twitter.com/QEvtGLPT94
“Got my mommy a brand new Audi for Xmas,” she began in the caption for the clip.
“I remember crying in my car when my daddy passed, no job no money nowhere to live, wishing I could one day provide for my family,” she continued. “I couldn’t do it for my dad so ima make sure I spoil Mama. Happy holidays y’all.”
In the video, Johnson-Jefferson hugs her daughter while thanking her and saying, “You see these on television, but you never expect it to happen to yourself.”
The Instagram post got over 3 million “likes” from fans and Lizzo’s celebrity friends, who celebrated the sweet gesture.
More recently, Lizzo has been sharing her message of body positivity and a focus on her health via various social media platforms.
*theGRIO’s Biba Adams contributed to this report.