She’s got a big personality, even bigger talent, and has never shied away from being a big girl in an industry that often prioritizes thin women with equally thin voices. But the rapper-flutist-singer-songwriter-bold and bodied badass-beauty icon Lizzo is finally beginning to get the recognition she deserves; this month as the star of Allure’s first digital cover of 2019.
And boy, is she a star. Dressed in ‘60s-inspired finery, hair and makeup, the entertainer’s editorial for Allure (photographed by Luke Gilford) evokes the golden age of some of the best to ever do it. Think Aretha, Etta, Gladys—and no-holds-barred retro glamour.
Yes, the Detroit native has the presence to hold her own amongst many a Motown diva, but Lizzo is of a new age, an age in which body positivity sometimes feels less like a movement than a politically correct mandate. But because she’s neither naive nor afraid of getting naked (virtually or physically), she doesn’t mince words when it comes to the now-trendy topic of body-positivity. When it comes to activism, Lizzo makes it clear that she can walk, chew gum and defy all types of limitations at the same damn time.
“The body-positive movement is the body-positive movement, and we high five. We’re parallel,” she tells Allure. “But my movement is my movement. When all the dust has settled on the groundbreaking-ness, I’m going to still be doing this. I’m not going to suddenly change. I’m going to still be telling my life story through music. And if that’s body positive to you, amen. That’s feminist to you, amen. If that’s pro-black to you, amen. Because ma’am, I’m all of those things.”
Lizzo’s movement may be her own, but she’s fully aware of her growing influence. For those of us who have fallen in love with not only her music but her uncensored social media style (think Cardi B’s equally-exhibitionist, even wittier, flute-playing cousin), it’s hard not to cast her as the “Girl, you got this” voice in our heads. After all, this is the woman who wrote “Worship.”
“I want people to feel that closeness, because if you can love me as much as you do without knowing me, and without me being like this archetype of modern beauty in media, then you can love yourself,” she says. Let’s add another “amen” there.
She loves herself, and Lizzo loves us, so much so that she reps both black girl realness and its attendant magic from head to toe, starting with her naturally textured wigs and sew-ins. (Fun fact: Her wigs for the shoot were custom units created by celebrity hairstylist Yusef Williams, who also creates Rihanna’s looks.)
“I wear black hair. I don’t wear any other kind of hair anymore,” Lizzo proclaims. “I think it’s really important as a black woman to do that because black women representing black things makes a bigger mark. We’re going to represent for us, by us.”
Lizzo’s definitely here to represent—the world will get the fullness of what she has to offer, and it will deal, whether it’s ready or not. Either way, she’s unbothered, because remember: It’s her movement. The music world is taking notice. The fashion industry just needs to catch up. (Since the plus market is growing at twice the rate of the general apparel market, it’s in their best interest, anyway.)
“If you’re not making clothes for me, and if you don’t want to make clothes for me, I don’t want to wear your [designs]. I look good in other [things] anyway,” Lizzo tells Allure. “But call me if you want to dress me. If you want to change the game and dress a fat body, call me.”