Lizzo’s possible Grammy nomination is a win for music industry diversity

A deeper look at the singer's rise to fame and feel-good messages

Confident in her own skin, Lizzo encourages us to celebrate ourselves for who we are.
Photo: 

Lizzo’s hit empowering song “Truth Hurts” is poised to be nominated for the 2020 Grammys—two years after its initial release.

This summer, “Truth Hurts” shot up to number four on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s what’s commonly called a sleeper hit—a song that becomes successful a while after its initial release. Its inclusion in the Grammy Awards is possible because the song was never submitted for consideration when it first came out. Then, it was re-released this year on the deluxe edition of her album Cuz I Love You, making it eligible for the 2020 nomination.

The song’s Grammy buzz is no surprise: whether you let loose at Stages this summer, went for drinks at your local bar, or had a party of your own in your bedroom, at some point, you were probably singing along to Lizzo’s tune.

Her tracks “Juice” and “Good as Hell” also became anthems of the summer, inspiring many to lose themselves (and their voices) to her infectious beats.          

While it may seem as if Lizzo’s success happened overnight, that assumption discounts what this body-positive, self-loving singer has worked so hard to achieve.

Lizzo, born Melissa Viviane Jefferson, started her music career in an R&B group called the Cornrow Clique. She then studied classical music with a focus on the flute at the University of Houston. Following her time at university, she gained local success on the Minneapolis music scene by performing with various musical groups.

Her debut solo album Lizzobangers was released in 2013. Since she now boasts a total of three albums, one solo EP, and two collaborative EPs, it’s clear she hasn’t stopped working to make it big.

Her years of hard work have paid off in a big way this year as the potential Grammy nomination is following a string of other successes. Her entrance into mainstream media is studded with important moments that all contributed in some way to her success.

At the beginning of January, YouTube star Liza Koshy, who boasts eight million subscribers, used Lizzo’s song “Good as Hell” in one of her videos. Koshy was seen unabashedly dancing her heart out to Lizzo’s lyrics. The song and dancing showed that Koshy, despite experiencing mental health struggles, was on her way to feeling, as Lizzo sings, “good as hell.”

Lizzo’s single “Boys,” released in 2018, was featured in the 2019 hit film Booksmart. The song is an ode to the men in the singer’s life and how she celebrates and appreciates “itty-bitty boys / Mississippi boys/ Inner city boys” and all other types of boys. Basically, it’s a celebration of diversity.

In mid-April, Lizzo’s Grammy hopeful “Truth Hurts” was featured in Netflix rom com Someone Great. After breaking up with her boyfriend of nine years, the protagonist dances in the kitchen with her friend, drinking tequila and singing to Lizzo’s most well-known lyrics, “Why men great till they gotta be great,” and “You could have had a bad bitch—noncommittal.”

While this scene no doubt inspired millions to add the song to their pre-party playlists or ditch their significant others for the night to party with their pals, Lizzo’s music video is even more impressive. It features the singer marrying herself in a lavish ceremony surrounded by family and friends. The song is a big f—k you to the people who hold you back and a celebration of one’s own greatness.

Although these major uses of Lizzo’s songs helped her lyrics reach the ears of millions, the fact they’ve been replayed so many times since is indicative of the singer’s talent. The songs’ continued popularity is due to the fact that her lyrics resonate with so many other people, providing listeners with music that makes them truly feel good.

Lizzo’s music builds you up through her words, catchy beats, and, if you’re lucky enough to catch her in concert, her colourful outfits and uninhibited dance moves. It’s evident through her songs and performances that Lizzo feels confident in her own skin. As a result, she helps us feel confident in ours.

As a plus-size woman of colour, Lizzo doesn’t necessarily fit the mold that’s been set in the music industry, but it’s clear she doesn’t care. Instead of trying to fit in, she promotes self-love and acceptance. She radiates positivity, as her new album cover shows her naked and unedited, covered only by her long black hair.

As Lizzo practices what she preaches, if “Truth Hurts” is indeed nominated for a Grammy, it’ll be a big win for body positivity and diversity in the music industry. Until that happens, I’ll just turn up her songs and let Lizzo make me believe I’m “100% that bitch” for two minutes and 52 seconds.

Then I’ll probably press replay. 

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.