Lizzo has faced fatphobic bullying and internet attacks as a celebrity, but she told Vanity Fair in a profile published Tuesday that she is most bothered by assumptions that she makes music for white audiences.
The “About Damn Time” singer, who is on the publication’s November cover, said the notion that some Black musicians make music for white people is “such a critical conversation.” She said it’s “probably the biggest criticism” that she has received as an artist.
“When Black people see a lot of white people in the audience, they think, well this isn’t for me, this is for them,” she said. “The thing is, when a Black artist reaches a certain level of popularity, it’s going to be a predominantly white crowd.”
Lizzo said Black artists like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Tina Turner, Diana Ross and Beyoncé are examples of musicians she believes also happen to draw crowds that are “overwhelmingly white.”
The singer then emphasized that she does not make music for white audiences, regardless of what members of her audience look like.
“I am not making music for white people. I am a Black woman, I am making music from my Black experience, for me to heal myself [from] the experience we call life,” she said. “If I can help other people, hell yeah. Because we are the most marginalized and neglected people in this country. We need self-love and self-love anthems more than anybody.”
She continued, “So am I making music for that girl right there who looks like me, who grew up in a city where she was underappreciated and picked on and made to feel unbeautiful? Yes. It blows my mind when people say I’m not making music from a Black perspective—how could I not do that as a Black artist?”
Lizzo told Vanity Fair that meeting and talking to Black women in the “real world” who are inspired by her music has helped her to put much of that internet chatter and criticism behind her.
The pop superstar, who released her fourth studio album, “Special,” in July, has dealt with an onslaught of racist, sexist and fatphobic hate on the internet for years.
Most recently, Kanye West used part of his recent interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson to body-shame the singer.
Lizzo appeared to address West — who legally changed his name to “Ye” last year — during a stop on her tour in Toronto on Friday.
“I feel like everybody in America got my motherfucking name in they motherfucking mouth for no motherfucking reason; I’m minding my fat, Black, beautiful business,” she told the crowd.