Lizzo is addressing the stigma that pop music still carries and the racist origin it stems from in a new interview over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Her comments stemmed from her conversation with Entertainment Weekly, where they asked the “Juice” singer about her thoughts on the notion that her music isn’t “Black enough” because it’s categorized as pop music.
“Well, genres [are] racist inherently. I think if people did any research they would see that there was race music and then there was pop music,” Lizzo began. “And race music was their way of segregating Black artists from being mainstream, because they didn’t want their kids listening to music created by Black and brown people because they said it was demonic and yada, yada, yada. So then there were these genres created almost like code words: R&B, and then of course eventually hip-hop and rap was born from that.”
“I think when you think about pop, you think about MTV in the ‘80s talking about “We can’t play rap music” or “We can’t put this person on our platform because we’re thinking about what people in the middle of America think” — and we all know what that’s code for.
So yes, because of that — fast-forward to 2022 — we have this well-oiled pop machine, but remember that it has a racist origin. And I think the coolest thing I’ve seen is rap and hip-hop artists become pop. Now pop music is really rap in its DNA — rap is running the game, and I think that’s so cool. But we forget that in the late ‘80s and the early ‘90s, there were these massive pop diva records that were sang by Black women like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey. And I’m giving that same energy. I’m giving that same energy with a little bit of rap, and I think that people just have to get used to me.”
She concluded, “I think anything that’s new, people are going to criticize and feel like it’s not for them. But once you know what it is—just like I’ve got a friend who don’t like avocado but she likes guacamole; it don’t make no sense—but once you get used to something, it might be for you. So for people who don’t like pop music or don’t like Black artists that make pop music, they may eventually like me. I might be guacamole to them. You just gotta get used to me because I’m making good shit. You missing out.”