Lizzo’s future hangs in the balance – will she survive? | Ents & Arts News

Body positivity is Lizzo’s hallmark.

No stranger to fat shaming, the singer – whose real name is real name Melissa Viviane Jefferson – has been credited with changing the narrative around plus size womencalling out sizeist behavior and refusing to conform to industry stereotypes as she launches hits in a rainbow array of leotards and skintight bodysuits.

She has won four Grammys and, in 2019, was named artist of the year by Time. His 2023 Glastonbury set on the festival’s main stage received critical acclaim. And it’s credited with single-handedly raising the profile of the woodwinds, making it officially cool to play the flute.

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

But now with claims she is guilty of weight shaming and sexual harassment – accusations that the 35-year-old singer, songwriter, rapper and flautist strongly denies – her future hangs in the balance.

Three of Lizzo’s former dancers have filed a civil lawsuit against her and her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc (BGBT) – including accusations that she pressured a nude performer at a strip club in Amsterdam and commented on an artist gaining weight before firing her.

Two of the dancers had won their roles on Lizzo’s Emmy-winning reality show, Watch Out For The Big Grrrls, which offers plus-size dancers the chance to compete to be on its team.

Two days after the lawsuit was announced publicly, Lizzo posted a statement on Instagram, calling the allegations against her false – and calling them “incredible”, “outrageous” and “sensational”.

She said she was passionate about her art and “with passion comes hard work and high standards”, adding “sometimes I have to make tough decisions”.

In turn, Lizzo accused “people and the media” of describing her as a “bad guy”.

She went on to address the very reason why there’s been such a stir in showbiz over the claims, telling her fans, “I know what it’s like to be ashamed of your body on a daily basis and I wouldn’t criticize or would absolutely never fire an employee because of their weight.”

For a long time, in the shiny and glamorous world of showbiz, thinness and fame have been so intertwined that they are almost inseparable. Lizzo busted that myth – bursting onto the scene and refusing to be told she had to be size zero to get there.

The charges against her must be particularly harsh due to the fact that she once spoke so openly about her body issues from an early age and shamed her body due to her weight.

A body-confidence advocate and a role model to many, she’s given a long-awaited boost to the visibility of plus-size women in entertainment.

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

But when Beyonce skipped a reference to Lizzo in a live performance of Break My Soul (The Queens Remix) on Tuesday night, many saw it as an early snub, signaling the star’s potential cancellation.

And Lizzo’s product is more than herself or her music — there’s also the merchandise bandwagon that accompanies any bona fide American star. You can shop Lizzo t-shirts, tracksuits and hoodies — and even a Lizzo thong with Juice (the title of her 2019 hit) plastered across the front.

It seems likely merchandising sales are slowing now — at least until the lawsuit concludes — as fans try to figure out if his is a label they want to be associated with.

More accusations against Lizzo followed the news of the lawsuit, with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sophia Nahli Allison posting statements on social media supporting the three dancers’ claims and calling Lizzo “arrogant, self-centered and mean”.

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Lizzo dancer: “I was terrified for my job”

Nahli Allison was set to direct a documentary about the star, traveling with her in 2019, but said she dropped the project after two weeks after being treated with “such disrespect from him”.

She accused Lizzo of creating ‘an extremely toxic and hostile work environment’ – calling her a ‘narcissistic bully’, saying the singer had ‘built her brand on lies’ and saying her ‘image and ‘message’ were an organized facade”.

Following Lizzo’s response to the accusations, the law firm representing the three former dancers said the singer had ‘failed with her own brand and let down her fans’ – adding that her lyrics were an attempt to ‘minimize the trauma “that she would have caused. They also say more people have come into contact with them since the women came forward.

This isn’t the first time that Lizzo – who as a songwriter lives by words – has come under fire for perceived insensitivity to others.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by James McCauley/Shutterstock (10324527ac).Lizzo.Glastonbury Festival, UK - June 29th 2019
Photo: James McCauley/Shutterstock

Last year, a lyric from his song Grrrls sparked controversy after using a pejorative term for the condition of spastic cerebral palsy.

The lyrics were eventually changed, with Lizzo saying at the time, “As a fat black woman in America, I’ve had a lot of hurtful words used against me, so I understand the power words can have (whether it’s intentionally or in my case, unintentionally).”

The singer now finds herself on the defensive again – with many who previously felt empowered and emboldened by her body positive messages who are now likely to question the value of words and actions that some claim are counterfeit and empty.

Lizzo performs a medley at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Lizzo performs with her dancers at the 65th Annual Grammys

With her reality show ordered for a second season, there will now also be eyes on the reaction from Amazon Studios (which produces the show with singer Lizzo Bangers’ production company). They previously hailed the singer as “one of the most exciting, creative and joyful performers in the industry.”

When launching the auditions in April, Lizzo herself said, “I’ve seen lives changed through this show and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to make room for even more Big Grrrls. around the world to shine and break down barriers in this industry.”

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Known for singing “I love you, you’re beautiful and you can do anything” at her concerts, the authenticity needed for these kinds of claims to be inspiring rather than disgusting is now being scrutinized.

Lizzo now risks seeing her triple-charged brand – with all the color, vibrancy and pizzazz associated with her work – go from positive to negative in the blink of an eye.

She plays a superhero in her shiny latest music video, but in reality, Lizzo’s superpower — her overall body positivity — could turn out to be her kryptonite if it’s proven she doesn’t live up to the standards she does. established for others. The upcoming trial will decide if she is chosen as the hero or the “villain” of this story.

Sky News has contacted Lizzo for comment.

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