The People’s Choice Awards isn’t an event that usually provides surprisingly emotional moments or a call to action. It’s the one that recognizes movies and TV series people actually watch, so it’s more like a big party. However, emotion and inspiration is exactly what Lizzo gave us as she shared her spotlight with 17 other amazing women activists, while accepting her award as the People’s Champion.
The memorable moment got off to a sweet start with the Grammy winner’s mom, Shari Johnson-Jefferson, presenting her daughter with the award. About her superstar daughter, she said, “When I think of Lizzo the word champion comes to mind. She’s a champion of others, she builds you up and she’s always in your corner. I should know because I’m her mother. Melissa has always been herself, 100 percent that chick and she has shown us all that we don’t have to conform to anyone’s standards in order to be happy, to be creative and to feel worthy. I know that Lizzo has literally saved lives.”
The “Truth Hurts” singer took the stage with her usual infectious enthusiasm, but got serious for a minute when she explained that she was originally “on the fence whether I should accept, because if I’m the people’s champ, I don’t need a trophy for championing people.”
“To be an icon is not about how long you’ve had your platform,” the artist, who also won Song of the Year for “About Damn Time,” said. “Being an icon is what you do with that platform. And ever since the beginning of my career, I’ve used my platform to amplify marginalized voices.”
She then proved her point by bringing 17 activists on stage and allowing the audience to “give them their flowers,” while highlighting their work and their organizations.
The people Lizzo shouted out included:
- Mari Copeny a.k.a Little Miss Flint, a 15-year-old fighting to get safe drinking water for the people of Flint and across the U.S.
- Shirley Raines, who uses her organization Beauty to the Streetz to provide services to the homeless community of Los Angeles, helping them feel loved and boosting their self confidence.
- Yasmine Aker, an Iranian-American activist using grassroots methods to support Iranian women fighting for freedom and equality.
- Emiliana Guereca, the founder of the Women’s March Foundation.
- Esther Young Lim, author of the booklet How to Report a Hate Crime, she speaks out against discrimination and violence toward the Asian-American Pacific Islander community.
- Felicia “Fe” Montes, a Chicana Indigenous activist, co-founder of the women’s collective Mujeres de Maiz.
- Jayla Rose Sullivan, a dancer working to provide a safe space for transgender and non-binary artists in the dance world.
- Kara Roselle Smith, a member of the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag Tribe, she advocates for Black and Indigenous people to receive land and reparations.
- Maggie Mireles Thomas, whose sister Eva Mireles was a teacher killed in the Uvalde school shooting. She is fighting to stop gun violence.
- Amelia Bonow, co-founder of Shout Your Abortion, is leading the battle for reproductive rights and access to abortion pills and services.
- Odilia Romero, whose organization Cielo advocates for Indigeous people from Mexico and Central America living in the United States.
- Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh, works to expand understanding of the Jewish faith and as an Iranian-American is amplifying the voices of the Iranian people.
- Sahar Pirzada, a Muslim woman who advocates for reproductive justice.
- Chandi Moore works at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, providing support systems for trans and gender non-coforming young people.
- Crystal Echo Hawk, a member of the Pawnee nation of Oklahoma, uses her organization IllumiNative to advocate for her people.
- Reshma Saujani, founder of the Marshall Plan for Moms, is an activist for paid family leave, affordable child care and equal pay.
- Tamika Palmer uses The Breonna Taylor Foundation to seek justice for her daughter Breonna.
I cannot overstate how amazing, uplifting and inspiring this moment was. Lizzo proved that she knows exactly who she is and how to use her fame for good.