As we enter the back half of 2020 and the pending presidential election, many of us are overwhelmed and stressed. In this 'new normal', where everything is virtual and social distancing is mandatory, the focus on well-being, from the inside out, has become a priority. Every day we're met with new techniques and tips to heal ourselves, cleanse our spirits, or take care of our mental health. One of the biggest proponents of that movement right now is Melissa Viviene Jefferson - more commonly known as Lizzo.
Lizzo sat down with Vogueto discuss sisterhood, being 'body-normative', and being of service to her culture. The interviews were taken over a three-month period that included #BlackoutTuesday and the historic announcement of Kamala Harris. In what seemed to be one of Lizzo's more revealing interviews, sisterhood and self-love are a prominent thread throughout.
Sisterhood is something Lizzo not only sings about but practices heavily IRL. The two most important members of her team, her DJ and her Creative Director, are her best friends. The three of them built this career from their bootstraps and continued to challenge each other to accomplish their individual dreams. And that bond doesn't just stop with her day ones.
"We have gone through so much since meeting each other. And we have always made sure that the relationship is what we prioritize. It's never been money. It's never been the career."
And that bond doesn't just stop with her day ones. In the interview, she remarks on her relationship with rap legend Missy Elliott and how they practice self-care for one another. She also credits manifestation a bit for her relationship with Missy.
"I don't know what happened first. Having the thoughts because it was gonna happen? Or having the thoughts and driving myself to make it happen? But knowing that it did, yeah, is incredible."
That sisterhood helped give her the confidence to take on other pressing issues in our world, like white supremacy, sexism, and fatphobia - to name a few. Like many of us, Lizzo feels constantly disappointed by the state of America and wants to facilitate the uncomfortable changes for the future. One step towards that is the adoption of 'body-normative', veering from the body positivity message she's known for. From doing the work to love herself, she's able to be a vessel of self-love for others.
"Now, you look at the hashtag 'body-positive,' and you see smaller-framed girls, curvier girls. Lotta white girls. And I feel no way about that because inclusivity is what my message is always about. I'm glad that this conversation is being included in the mainstream narrative.
"What I don't like is how the people that this term was created for are not benefiting from it. I would like to be body-normative. I want to normalize my body. And not just be like, 'Ooh, look at this cool movement. Being fat is body positive.' No, being fat is normal. I think now, I owe it to the people who started this to not just stop here."
Lizzo truly wants to be in service of her culture, but she knows that comes with a lot of self-love and care. She touches on the importance of the world's perspective of her because that impacts young women that look like her. And while she's excited for the potential for the first Black woman as a Vice President, she hopes it comes with real change.
"A lot of times I feel like we get distracted by the veneer of things. If things appear to be better, but they're not actually better, we lose our sense of protest."
To read Lizzo's October cover story in full, head over to Vogue.com.
Featured image via Giphy
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Courtney is a contributing writer, based in Puerto Rico by way of Tennessee. Interested in the intersection of fashion and culture, she has an affinity for fashion, empowerment, and really good tacos. Keep up with her on Instagram (@hautecourtxo).
There are two words that Rachel Lindsay keeps returning to over and over again: Rest and renew.
The ambitious, self-described “type A” media personality just left one of her more prominent roles after three years, and instead of being anxious about the downtime, she’s finally learning to take a few moments for herself.
When we talk via Zoom in late August, Lindsay, 38, has just returned from a lunch date with a friend, the type of midday social outing she’d never had time for previously. In a week, she’ll be heading to Europe for an Eat, Pray, Love trip. It’s the first time she’s had time to go to Europe in five years.
“You ask me what I have time to do? Take care of me,” she says, beaming.
In the past six years, Lindsay has made a lot of changes. After becoming the first Black woman to lead ABC’s Bachelorette dating series in 2017, she fell in love with Bryan Abasolo, the man she chose on the show, and married him. Enamored with the world of entertainment but also accustomed to the stability that being an attorney provided her, she returned to practicing law in her native Dallas, Texas, while pursuing media opportunities on the side.
For a time, Lindsay would fly herself to Connecticut to co-host ESPN’s Football Frenzy radio show. The role was perfect for the Dallas Cowboys fan and sports fanatic who majored in sports management and once dreamed of becoming an agent. In 2019, when she finally felt she’d saved enough money and made enough connections, she made the leap and left the legal profession behind, determined to bet on her entertainment dreams.
Working as an on-air correspondent for Extra was one of Lindsay’s first big roles as a full-time media personality. In this job, she interviewed celebrities such as Halle Bailey and Anthony Anderson. She also notably conducted the controversial interview with Bachelor host Chris Harrison that subsequently led to his departure from the franchise. After Harrison told Lindsay he felt people needed to have “grace” for a contestant who had attended an “Old South” party, Lindsay publicly announced her plans to distance herself from the series.
Today, she cites changes in Extra’s leadership and her responsibilities as the reason for her recent departure after three years. “I just didn’t fit within the new regime,” she reveals to xoNecole.
Lindsay is currently focusing her energy work-wise on her two podcasts with The Ringer Podcast Network, the Higher Learningshow with Van Lathan, and Morally Corrupt. Despite the extremely different subjects – Higher Learning touches on race and politics while Morally Corrupt finds Lindsay commenting on her favorite Bravo reality shows – she gushes when speaking about both, calling podcasting “the most liberating thing you can do.”
On Higher Learning, she’s challenged by her co-host, Lathan, to think in new ways. She’s regularly in conversation with prominent figures such as Tracee Ellis Ross and Billy Porter.
Lindsay, a “Bravoholic” whose favorite Real Housewives franchise is Potomac and whose favorite Housewife is Nene Leakes, is no less passionate about Morally Corrupt, even if the subject matter is much lighter. “I’ve always loved reality TV because it was such an escape from my real world. Part of me admired people who could put themselves out there in a way that I believed I never could, until I went on reality TV,” Lindsay says.
Courtesy of Rachel Lindsay
The podcast host says she never intended to find love when she went on The Bachelor, and she was surprised when she was asked to lead season 13 of The Bachelorette. Going from viewer to reality TV star quickly opened her eyes to the demands of being a public figure. After receiving initial criticism from viewers about choosing and marrying Bryan Abasolo, she realized she wanted to become more protective of certain aspects of her personal life.
“I quickly learned that we had to protect what we had, and stop trying to prove it to other people and convince people to know what we knew to be true,” she says. “I wish I could share more of my relationship. But the moment you do that, you have to continue to provide more and you have to continue to answer.”
In many ways, Lindsay benefited from being on a show like The Bachelorette, where the contestants are confined to a limited environment over a temporary amount of time. She says she doesn’t think she could ever be on a reality show where she’s expected to reveal all aspects of her life constantly. In fact, she says if she ever had pregnancy news or updates about her relationship with Abasolo, she wouldn’t make a big public announcement.
Since walking away from The Bachelor franchise, the former Bachelor Happy Hour host says she’s been approached to participate in recent seasons, specifically this year’s season with Black lead, Charity Lawson. Lindsay says she ultimately declined to participate. “I just started thinking I can have a relationship with Charity – whose number I do have and I have talked to – outside of the show. I don’t need to come on television to put that out there for other people,” she says.
Reflecting on her life today, Lindsay is trying to learn the benefits of being still. She’s not planning to do any on-air correspondent booked for the time being, and she’s not planning to release another book, the followup to the collection of essays Miss Me with That or the fictional Real Love.
As her 40th birthday approaches in a couple of years, she’s been thinking a lot about the popular quote, “You are, right now, as young as you'll ever be again” from the FX drama Fleishman Is in Trouble. If she does start on a new creative project, it might delve into this notion, she says. “I think I could do something in that space about adulthood and getting older and maybe questioning things in life because I think we all do it,” she tells xoNecole.
Lindsay is not rushing the process, though. For now, she’s remembering to rest and renew.
“We'll see what comes out of this state that I'm in.”
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Featured image courtesy of Rachel Lindsay
Before the music business calms down as the summer draws to a close, musicians are releasing the last of their dance songs from their archives. And shouldn't we be grateful for it? This week's new music offered tracks for every aspect of the season, whether it be for the club ("Bongos"), a last-minute relaxing retreat ("My Love"), a scary movie ("Demons"), or an introduction to an autumn wind ("Uh Huh"), this week had a song for everyone. Heading into the new week, here are the latest songs in our rotation.
1.Tinashe - "Uh Huh"
The fourth single from Tinashe's studio album, BB/ANG3L, is "Uh Huh," and what a sweet offering it is. Sung in a whimsical falsetto, Tinashe portrays the ballad as an intimate confession shared with a partner during an intimate moment. In the song, she wonders if the guy she is seeing is ready for a relationship, even though it feels like they are already in one. The question isn't posed in the accusatory manner that we are all accustomed to hearing. Instead, she presents the query as a shooting, consoling lullaby. By the end, she has successfully lulled both her lover and the audience in her lovely proposition of loving another for simply being.
2.Busta Rhymes - "Luxury Life" ft. Coi Leray
Timbaland and Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous" in the summer of 2006 completely dominated the airwaves with its witty and occasionally playfully cringe-inducing one-liners. Busta Rhymes and Coi Leray performed what I can only compare to the more direct rap equivalent in the summer of 2023. With its distinctive funky flow and catchy, throbbing beat that only Swizz Beatz can provide. Busta Rhymes and Coi Leray's second collaboration demonstrates remarkable chemistry between the two emcees as they bounce ideas off one another. With often finishing each other's sentences, this song generates an energetic vibe that is worth playing repeatedly.
3.Tkay Maidza - "WUACV"
You know those scary movies where a repetitive, slower-paced children's song plays in the background and gives you the impression that you're only one "based on a true story" label away from leaving the theater? As I listened to this song's start, I experienced the same sensation. So much so that when Tkay Maidza started the song, I almost didn't listen to listen. However, as I tuned in, I couldn't help but bounce my shoulders and make a stank face at Tkay's constantly shifting flow. As she quickly sped through the lines, she genuinely "woke up and chose violence." A harmony that can only be characterized as the ambulance arriving to pick up the victims of her talented smooth shifting flow screams over the hazardous matter-of-fact repetition of the chorus. This music is strong, lucid, and deserving of a download.
4.Cardi B. - "Bongos" ft. Megan Thee Stallion
After "WAP," I knew Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion would reunite, but I didn't anticipate their arduous reunion. I stopped this music at the 12-second mark when I originally started it. Why? Because I knew I would need to take a breather in that little amount of time. I didn't take notes after that since I was so engrossed in the video's pure amusement. But after concentrating, I've come to the conclusion that this was just so damn entertaining. The fact that it isn't "WAP" isn't always a negative thing. Even if the song continues to discuss sex and butts, it has its own charm and is entertaining thanks to the choreo in the video and the beach-themed elements for the final getaway of the summer.
5.A Boogie Wit da Hoodie - "Her Birthday"
Contrary to its fun title, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie's song "Her Birthday" is about heartbreak and difficult realizations. ABWDH is irritated when he meets a lady who insists on having a relationship with a gold digger after realizing he is in yet another unsuccessful relationship. However, as the song progresses, it becomes apparent that he shares some blame for the relationship's--if you can call it that--end because he knew their first hookup wasn't anything significant. And it only makes sense for them to leave things as they are after some of his dubious behaviors, including sleeping with her "best friend" out of retaliation, occur. They intentionally aim to harm one another, and they only seem to be on this rollercoaster because the long nights happen to be good.
6.Leigh-Anne - "My Love" ft. Ayra Starr
For this one, you must view the song's music video while listening to it. "My Love" is an upbeat summer bop with Caribbean-Afro beats that serve as a love letter to one's love and self-confidence. I've listened to this song so many times that I wish it had been released earlier in the summer and that more people had heard of it. I do, however, hope that it continues to catch on with its alluring, scenic, and dance-filled sensations. The English singer draws on her Caribbean heritage as she asks how much of her love can be taken with Nigerian singer Ayra Starr. They check in with their respective partners and muse on how much they ought to be prepared to invest in their relationships.
7.Tee Grizzley - "IDGAF" ft. Chris Brown and Mariah The Scientist
When a person feels fulfilled in a relationship, there is always someone else who offers to break their relationship off—usually unsolicited. They don't care and just want to spend the night without any strings attached, making it obvious that they would keep it quiet. Chris Brown and Tee Grizzley play that role in the song "IDGAF." Although Tee Grizzley is aware that the lady is dedicated to her relationship, he is still optimistic that his enticement would be strong enough to get his ex back for the night. Mariah The Scientist, on the other hand, isn't having that and scoffs at his arrogance for even phoning her. She is happy and doesn't intend to ruin either of their relationships anytime soon.
8.Nicki Minaj - "Last Time I Saw You"
I must say that I didn't anticipate Nicki Minaj to release this song. Not that she hasn't already recorded an excellent slow song in the ballad style. However, they have never been this...refreshing, so that is a positive. This song is the sensation of taking a deep breath after smelling something pleasant or after going for a while without air. It was like going for a walk in the park. When she brokenly confessed that she pushed her love away because she thought she bored her love, it also gave off a faint heartbreak-like feeling. Minaj starts rapping over a stanza, remembering the times with her former love and the end of their relationship as barriers rise to protect her somewhat in her vulnerability.
9.Doja Cat - "Demons"
Even though it's September, Halloween waits for no one. Doja Cat wonders in this song how her "demons look now that her pockets are full." She challenges the haters and lets them know that she is spending the money she has made from her achievements while ignoring their hateful glances. She wants them to know that she recognizes their envy and that she is reveling in it rather than telling them to get over it. She frequently makes fun of them, letting her "enemies" know that as long as she is successful, she will always be the demonic villain in their nightmares. Since she doesn't plan on going anywhere anytime soon, she figures she might as well play the part.
10.Citizen Queen - "Whatchu Want"
With everyone playing games, it's easy to become weary of the same old song and dance. To the point that you start doubting the intentions of your newest suitor right away. Annoyed that they might waste your time. In their newest single, Cora, Kaedi, Kaylah, and Nina question someone's motives in Citizen Queen's "Whatchu Want" and distinctly state what they want. They challenge the person to continue moving if all they want to do is screw about. The girls caution against messing with their feelings in a catchy chorus that has elements of Danity Kane's "Showstopper," allowing for a nice dance break.
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Featured image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images