Today In Hotep Foolishness: Boyce Watkins Comes for Lizzo

Illustration for article titled Today In Hotep Foolishness: Boyce Watkins Comes for Lizzo
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

It is undeniable that Lizzo has had one hell of a year. Her 2017 song “Truth Hurts,” hit No. 1 on the charts, she was the musical guest for Eddie Murphy’s acclaimed SNL return and she scored eight Grammy nominations, proving that she is indeed 100% that bitch. Yet because she is a black woman thriving, embracing her sexuality and living her life how she so chooses, there has to be a clown on the sidelines telling her that she’s wrong.


Enter Hotep and Bill Cosby apologist Dr. Boyce Watkins. Yesterday, he decided to go to on Al Gore’s internet and write this headass take.

That’s right, y’all. Lizzo’s popularity isn’t due to her choice of production, excellent voice and energetic performances. No, she’s popular because she’s plus sized. In a country that has a history of favoring the bodies of skinny, blonde white girls and where misogyny against black women is potent, it makes sense that Lizzo is only popular due to her weight. This, despite the fact that anytime she embraces her body or makes an outlandish fashion choice, Twitter is right there to go “hey, maybe not.” Those same people didn’t have nothing to say when Lady Gaga did this at the Met Gala, though. (Not that they should have. Just pointing out a double standard. I’ve only been here a week, please don’t hurt me. )

Illustration for article titled Today In Hotep Foolishness: Boyce Watkins Comes for Lizzo
Photo: Neilson Barnard (Getty Images)

Now, Lizzo has made self-love a notable part of her brand and it cannot be denied that it has helped draw people to her art. I fail to see how this is a bad thing, though. In a world where black women are judged by their demeanor, skin tone, weight and hair, is it wrong for someone to encourage self-love? At the end of the day, her body and her health is her business and her business alone. Lizzo eventually clapped back later that same afternoon.


I mean, the woman said all that needs to be said. I’m just hoping that going into next year, we see less dumb-ass takes about Lizzo. I highly doubt it, though.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.



Me being controversial: someone explain to me how Hotep became a term of ridicule and a slur, while “nigga” has become a term of endearment? Smdh

Obviously Lizzo is a genuinely talented musician/ plays a great flute etc. But it seems to me her fame & popularity is based on her playing into the stereotype of a hypersexualized Black woman. I don’t get how exposing your naked butt in an auditorium is empowering Black women & girls, or making a feminist statement. Can’t we celebrate her genuine talent while also criticizing her unbecoming behavior? A behavior that can be used against us by our enemies?

Also, just because Lady Gaga does wretched stuff does not mean black women should emulate it: white females don’t carry the black woman’s history & burden. I love Rihanna dearly but she also deserves criticism for her excesses, though she’s given a pass because of her body type & skin tone.

I am not a prude by any measure, but how do we take down white supremacy if we do not demand certain cultural standards? How do we defeat white supremacy by embracing some of its depravity? And btw, making her size an issue is unfair and misses the point.