Lizzo Announces She is Quitting on Instagram

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Lizzo is the award-winning musical artist who has also become a leading spokesperson for body positivity. Last Friday, Lizzo announced that she'd had enough of the criticism she receives about her message and her looks. She posted a statement on Instagram saying she was quitting.

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It reads in part:

"I'm constantly up against lies being told about me for clout & views ... being the butt of the joke every single time because of how I look,” she wrote, adding that her character is “being picked apart by people who don’t know me and disrespecting my name."

Concluding the message, she signed off by writing, "I didn’t sign up for this s—. I QUIT."

Is she really going to quit the music business? It seems like her spokesperson hasn't had anything to say since Friday but there are other reasons to think her decision may be more like James Brown being helped offstage by an assistant before rushing back on stage to dance and sing a bit more. It hypes up the crowd. For one thing, she has done this before.

In 2023, she made her Twitter account private on several occasions after waves of body-shaming comments.

“Y’all don’t know how close I be to giving up on everyone and quitting,” she posted before locking her account.

Also, Lizzo is in the midst of announcing a new swimwear line. She was interviewed about it last week by the NY Times and her comments in that interview seem to have prompted the latest round of criticism.

“These suits have a power to hold,” Lizzo, the Grammy-Award-winning singer and fashion entrepreneur, said in a video interview. “Let me tell you something: I have broken into a sweat trying to get some of these on.”

That Lizzo, a trailblazer of fat acceptance, has had to squeeze into bathing suits she developed for her brand Yitty was a striking confession. But she has tailored the concept of body positivity — that popular movement that urges self-love no matter your shape or size — to fit the times.

“The idea of body positivity, it’s moved away from the antiquated mainstream conception,” she said. “It’s evolved into body neutrality.”

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Unlike some other body positivity models who've recently started using weight loss drugs, Lizzo hasn't gone that route. But she did admit she has been dieting.

She is dieting as well. “I’ve been methodical, losing weight very slowly,” Lizzo said. Others recognized for advocating candid self display have faced pushback after losing weight from people who see it at odds with self-love.

If you're a normal adult, the idea that someone overweight is dieting or even using weight loss drugs to shed pounds would probably sound like a healthy thing to do. But for the proponents of body positivity, losing weight is seen as a kind of betrayal of the movement. Dieting is an admission that you want to lose weight. It implies that you'd be happier, healthier and better looking if you were thinner. That directly undercuts the main message of body positivity, which is that you can be happy and beautiful at any weight.

Lizzo probably did face some backlash for her comments about "body neutrality" and dieting. She is also still facing two different lawsuits.

Lizzo was accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed by three of her former dancers. The lawsuit alleged Lizzo created a hostile work environment and sexually harassed employees, which the singer has denied. She is also facing another lawsuit from another former employee who alleges Lizzo allowed bullying, harassment and racial discrimination on her team.

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The lawsuits also involve Lizzo's body positivity views. The one from her dancers accuses her of complaining one of the three dancers was gaining weight and of later firing her after she recorded a staff meeting. The other lawsuit came from a member of Lizzo's team who described the tour as a place where body positivity was projected from the stage while fat-shaming was happening behind the scenes.

“I felt like I was living in a madhouse,” fashion designer Asha Daniels, 35, told NBC News the day beforeshe filed her lawsuit against Lizzo and other members of the singer’s team. “It was totally shocking.”

“I was listening to this Black woman on this huge stage have this message of self-love and caring for others and being empathetic and being strong and standing up for others,” she said. “And I was witnessing myself, the dancers and the background vocalists and my local team in every city be harassed and bullied regularly.”

The suit, filed Thursday by lawyers for Daniels in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accused wardrobe manager Amanda Nomura of doing stereotypical impressions of Black women, referring to the performers as “fat,” “useless” and “dumb,” and forcing them to change in front of a mostly white, male stage crew who would “lewdly gawk” at them, the suit says.

What all of this has in common is a growing sense that body positivity and Lizzo aren't really synonymous anymore. I guess we'll see if she's really going to quit but given the amount of money on the line, both in terms of her career and her new swimsuit line, my guess is she'll be back. This morning she posted something new on Instagram, the first message since the one above in which she quit. It's an ad for her new line of swimsuits.

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David Strom 10:00 AM | April 17, 2024
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