Following the release of her new single “Rumors” last week, Melissa Viviane Jefferson — better known as Lizzo — received a wave of criticism over her weight, appearance and more.
After the vengeful internet trolls struck, the uber-popular singer, rapper and songwriter — who has been honored with Grammy Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Soul Train Awards and BET Awards for her work — took to TikTok to call out the wave of what she called “fatphobic” and “racist” hate.
Doha Madani of NBC News reported that Lizzo released the song “Rumors” featuring Cardi B on Friday, Aug. 13, along with a music video supporting the track that has already been viewed more than 12 million times.
“The song lyrics themselves address ‘haters,’ with Lizzo singing in one verse, ‘Why you spending all your time trying to break a woman down?’” Madani reported.
In a social media post uploaded on Sunday, Aug. 15, Lizzo told her fans and supporters that while these sort of hateful comments typically don’t affect her, she wasn’t fully ready for them to be so mean or spiteful after spending the better part of the last year sequestered away and working on her new music.
“It’s fatphobic, it’s racist, and it’s hurtful,” Lizzo said. “What I won’t accept is y’all doing this to Black women over and over and over again, especially us big Black girls. When we don’t fit into the box that you want to put us in, you just unleash hatred onto us. It’s not cool.”
“Lizzo added that while she focuses on providing positivity through her platforms, she sometimes feels like the world ‘doesn’t love me back,’” Madani said, reporting on Lizzo’s Instagram tearful livestream.
After Lizzo’s comments began trending, her “Rumors” collaborator, Cardi B, also stepped in, defending the singer across Twitter and labeling the haters posting the hurtful comments as “nerds” who wish they were sitting at the “popular table.”
In one particularly lively tweet, Cardi pointed out that “body-shaming and calling [Lizzo] Mammy is mean & racist as f—.”
“When you stand up for yourself, they claim you’re problematic and sensitive,” the NYC-born rapper continued. “When you don’t, they tear you apart until you’re crying like this. Whether you’re skinny, big, plastic, they’re going to always try to put their insecurities on you.”
When you stand up for yourself they claim your problematic & sensitive.When you don’t they tear you apart until you crying like this. Whether you skinny,big,plastic, they going to always try to put their insecurities on you.Remember these are nerds looking at the popular table. https://t.co/jE5eJw8XP6
— iamcardib (@iamcardib) August 15, 2021
Lizzo later popped up on TikTok to address the issue again, particularly the accusations of her playing into a “Mammy” stereotype.
“The ‘Mammy’ trope is a racist caricature of an overtly happy, heavyset Black woman who worked in a subservient role to white people,” Madani reported. “It was often used to push a false narrative that Black people were happy to be enslaved or otherwise serving their bosses.”
In her TikTok video, Lizzo said, “These people who are saying this are probably the same people who are mad when I’m being hypersexual, and the mammy trope is actually completely desexualized. So, it can’t both be true — make it make sense. I really think people are just mad to see a fat Black woman that makes pop music and is happy.”
Lizzo cleared the haters right on up!! pic.twitter.com/fAREhDfgr2
— jordan • they/them 🏳️🌈 (@jd_occasionally) August 15, 2021
Later that evening, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah even stepped into the debate, re-airing a 2019 interview with Lizzo in which the singer discussed her role in the “body positivity” movement.
“At this point, I realize that my mere existence is a form of activism,” she told Noah at the time.