She’s kind of a big deal, y’all.
We’ve been singing the praises of Lizzo since we launched The Glow Up—even earlier this month, in fact. But now it seems the multi-hyphenate entertainer’s fandom is finally reaching critical mass as she continues to break down barriers. This week’s barriers? Joining the likes of Jorja Smith, Travis Scott and Nas with her own feature in Playboy’s Spring 2019 Speech Issue.
No, it’s not a centerfold—but it’s still a full-scale boudoir shoot starring an unapologetically black, big, beautiful woman in a media outlet typically reserved for white women with Barbie-like proportions, as Lizzo points out to Playboy’s cameras while modeling in a 1970s Barbie-themed apartment in Hollywood.
“Playboy did feature one type of woman for a long-ass time,” she notes. “Big-ass titties ... and a flat stomach, and light skin. So, it’s kind of cool to be a big, brown girl in Playboy.”
“This is a literal dream,” she later adds. “I watch movies about influential people’s lives—things they’ve done, boundaries they break. When you are yourself, you don’t realize the impact you have. Sometimes I be forgetting the impact I can have. This is one of those moments that remind me.”
The title of her feature? “Lizzo the Incomparable.” And damn if we don’t agree. There are too few women to ever do it like this Detroit native—fellow Detroiter Aretha Franklin comes to mind—who blend incredible talent and personality with a body-positive presence. Like Franklin, Lizzo was doing it long before it was trending; a self-proclaimed “big bitch that thinks she’s fine,” she credits bringing that positivity into her songwriting (along with her alter-ego flutist, Sasha Flute) with helping her music break through to the mainstream.
“It’s like normal to hate yourself,” she tells Playboy. “I think self-love is all about seeing yourself in the world as who you want to be and being that person.”
Even if you don’t follow Lizzo, you’d likely recognize her songs “Worship” and “Good as Hell.” Both are already part of our collective unconscious, having been licensed for any number of ads and soundtracks. And yet, each only scratches the surface of her immense talent.
“My individuality is a gift, but it’s my biggest creative obstacle,” Lizzo says. “I can do everything. I wanna do everything. I can rap fast, sing big, say things people never said before ... I could freestyle sing over any trap song. That’s safe, that’s easy. But what happens when I really unleash what I wanna say?”
“I’ve learned not to be afraid of who I am,” she adds. “[W]hat would Aretha Franklin’s rap record sound like in 2019? She didn’t hold back. She was a G.”
Lizzo doesn’t hold back, either. She may craft her music to sound like the advice of a good girlfriend or a “big hug,” as she tells Playboy, but she roots for those who root for her—meaning she’s not out here to play typical industry games or be seen just for the sake of being seen.
“It could be Jesus’s 35th birthday party at the 40/40 Club with Jay-Z and Beyoncé turning water into wine. If my name isn’t on that list and those people don’t have an emotional connection to me, I don’t give a fuck.”
But you will see Lizzo. Big body and all, whether or not it’s trending.
“The important thing is making sure this shit don’t become a trend. We gotta be undeniable,” she says. “We gotta fix ourselves in the culture so that we’re unshakable. Body positivity has to be mainstream.”
Most of all, you can always count on Lizzo to keep it real—on social media, and reportedly, in her upcoming album, Cuz I Love You, out April 19. It may not always be pretty, but it’s the humanness so many of us are now stanning for.
“If I’m only showing the most positive moments, there’s nothing to root for,” she notes.
We’re rooting for you, Lizzo.