Lizzo slams critics of making ‘music for white people’: ‘I make music out of my black experience’
Lizzo is opening up about the criticism of her music that “disturbs” her the most.
The 34-year-old singer and rapper told Vanity Fair that the claim that her music was created for white people was the “biggest criticism” she had received, adding that it was a ” critical conversation” about black artists.
“When black people see a lot of white people in the audience, they think, ‘It’s not for me, it’s for their,'” she said in a new cover for the magazine’s November issue.
She continued, “The thing is, when a black performer hits a certain level of popularity, it’s going to be a predominantly white crowd. I was so surprised when I watched [YouTube clips of gospel great] Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who was a rock and roll innovator. She was like, ‘I’m going to take gospel and shred guitar,’ and when they rolled the camera, it was an all-white audience.”
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The “Truth Hurts” hitmaker went on to cite other black artists who have attracted predominantly white audiences, including Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston and Beyoncé. She also noted that the audience for rap artists is “overwhelmingly white.”
“I don’t make music for white people,” she clarified. “I’m a black woman, I make music from my black experience, to heal myself [from] the experience we call life.”
“If I can help other people, then yes,” she added. “Because we are the most marginalized and neglected people in this country. We need self-love and self-love anthems more than anyone.
“So am I making music for this girl who looks like me, who grew up in a city where she was underestimated and bullied and where she didn’t feel beautiful? Yes. It takes my breath away when people say I don’t make music from a black perspective – how could I not do that as a black artist?”
The three-time Grammy Award winner’s music spans many genres, including soul, hip-hop, R&B, gospel and pop. She is also a classically trained flautist who started learning to play the instrument at the age of 10.
In her interview with Vanity Fair, the Texas native said she was bullied when she was in high school and still felt “different.” She explained that she hid her love for rock music, which was considered a white genre by her classmates at her predominantly black school.
“I kept it hidden, even when I was in a rock band, because I didn’t want my peers to make fun of them – they were yelling, ‘White girl!'” she said .
“Also, I was wearing these embroidered flare pants on it, and they were like, ‘You look like a white girl, why do you want to look like a hippie?’ I wanted so much to be accepted; not fitting in was really hurting me.”
Lizzo said that after meeting black women in the “real world” who told her they were inspired by her music, she is no longer bothered by online criticism. She noted that as her music became more mainstream, she found she was able to connect with a fan base that saw and appreciated her authentic self.
“Not ‘that girl, she’s always happy, that’s not real’, but instead, ‘She’s really good and her music is good, believe her,‘” Lizzo said.
“It’s what I’m moving into now, and it’s a beautiful place. I finally feel like I can relax and have a cocktail.”
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