Lizzo Believes Genre Labels Prevent Black Artists From Mainstream Success

If you ask Lizzo, she believes music genres have historically held Black artists back from mainstream success. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Detroit pop star spoke about her documentary Love, Lizzo where she revealed people criticized her music for not being “Black enough” because it was pop music — which has historically been considered white.

Lizzo claimed the idea of the musical genre was and is inherently racist, with the people of the industry using it as a way to dissuade Black artists from having mainstream success.

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“Genre’s racist inherently. If people did any research, they would see that there was race music and then there was pop music,” the Special singer asserted. “And race music was their way of segregating Black artists from being mainstream, because they didn’t want their kids listening to music created by Black and brown people because they said it was demonic.”

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“Then there were these genres created almost like code words: R&B, and then of course eventually Hip-Hop and rap was born from that. I think when you think about pop, you think about MTV in the ’80s talking about “We can’t play rap music” or “We can’t put this person on our platform because we’re thinking about what people in the middle of America think” — and we all know what that’s code for.”

The “About Damn Time” entertainer continued, expressing that the impact of this “racist” history reverberated through time, creating an impact in 2022. However, she pointed out that Black artists threw a wrench in the machine because now pop music “is really rap in its DNA.” Lizzo also asserted that she’s giving the same energy as Black pop icons like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey but with “a little bit of rap.”

“The coolest thing I’ve seen is rap and hip-hop artists become pop. Now pop music is really rap in its DNA — rap is running the game, and I think that’s so cool,” the “2 Be Loved” artist expressed.

Lizzo performing on the stage wearing a fluffy pink outfit.
Lizzo performs onstage at the 2019 BET Awards on June 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

“But we forget that in the late ’80s and the early ’90s, there were these massive pop diva records that were sang by Black women like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey,” she added. “And I’m giving that same energy. I’m giving that same energy with a little bit of rap, and I think that people just have to get used to me.

“So for people who don’t like pop music or don’t like Black artists that make pop music, they may eventually like me. I might be guacamole to them. You just gotta get used to me because I’m making good sh*t. You missing out.”

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