Melissa Viviane Jefferson, better known by her stage name Lizzo, is a powerhouse. At 31 years old, she is topping radio charts from the United States to Switzerland, to Australia.
Cuz I Love You is her fourth album/EP and is her first to make it on the Billboard 200 (as of May 10, 2019, it’s number 26). Performing publicly since 2011, Jefferson is only getting started.
Her music is a mixture of pop, hip-hop, soul, and rap. She makes songs that you can dance to in the club (“Tempo” and “Like A Girl”) to soulful, emotional songs (“Jerome” and “Lingerie”). For me, Lizzo came out of nowhere with “Juice”. I was hearing it everywhere and instantly became obsessed. “Juice”’s lyrics are cheeky and get stuck in your head.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall
Don't say it, ’cause I know I'm cute (Ooh, baby)
Louis down to my drawers
LV all on my shoes (Ooh, baby)
I be drippin' so much sauce
Gotta been lookin’ like RAGÚ (Ooh, baby)
Lit up like a crystal ball
That's cool, baby, so is you
That's how I roll”
You don’t how pleased I was when I found out Jefferson is fat. I’m not saying I’m happy her body is one that is often discriminated against; I’m saying that as a fat girl myself, I feel empowered by Jefferson’s unapologetic self-confidence, her sexuality, and her overall aura of badassery. You are surrounded by bodies that fit in the certain category of attractiveness and when you don’t fit in, you struggle with representation throughout all mediums of pop culture. Jefferson destroys these fat shaming stigmas with her album art alone.
Pictured in front of a dark-blue screen, Jefferson is completely naked, folded over and holding her ankles. She looks strong and confident as she locks eyes Mississippi boys, inner-city boys
I like the pretty boys with the bow tie
Get your nails did, let it blow dry
I like a big beard, I like a clean face
I don't discriminate, come and get a taste
From the playboys to the gay boys
Go and slay, boys, you my fave boys”
It’s refreshing to see this perspective from a fat woman. This confidence she protrudes is exhilarating because not only does Jefferson acknowledge her body, she shows an almost satisfaction with herself. And with “Boys” she takes that body positive and shines a light on different types of men she is attracted to. She acknowledges the fact that men are also objectified and discriminated against because of their outside exterior - body, hair, race, location, accent - and that doesn’t affect her feelings for them.
“Truth Hurts” is Jefferson’s current top song on her Spotify. The thirteenth and second to last song in her album (deluxe edition), Jefferson is confident, with an almost untouchable swagger in this song where she taunts men who have tried to play with her. The song starts with the lyric,
“Why men great 'til they gotta be great?” which is repeated throughout the song, to illustrate the point she’s trying to get across about men being almost perfect until they try too hard to convince you they are perfect.
While I only touched upon 6 out of 14 songs available on “Cuz I Love You (Deluxe Edition)”, don’t sleep on the rest of the album. Jefferson brings with her a powerful swagger that fat (plus-size) woman usually avoid or are shunned from exerting. I’m excited to see what Lizzo does next.
- Cuz I Love You
- Like A Girl
- Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott)
- Exactly How I Feel (feat. Gucci Mane)
- Better In Color
- Heaven Help Me
- Truth Hurts
- Water Me
Lizzo performed at Portland’s Roseland Theatre on April 27. If you missed her check out her social media to stay on top of when she’s coming back to the Portland area.