Lizzo Responds to the Scholar Who Called Her a ‘Gimmick’

Lizzo is one of the most popular artists to emerge on the scene in the past several years. Her songs “Juice” and “Truth Hurts” have become hugely successful and Lizzo herself has become an icon for fans everywhere.

For her fans, Lizzo stands for body positivity, confidence, and talent. However, another pop culture figure who is himself quite controversial recently spoke out, slamming Lizzo for several reasons. 

How did Lizzo become famous?

Born in 1988 in Michigan, Lizzo spent the majority of her early years in Houston, Texas. It was in Texas where she developed her fascination with music. She performed in rap groups with her friends as a young woman, developing the style that would eventually take her far.

However, Lizzo’s interest in music wasn’t confined to one genre. She studied classical music at the University of Houston, becoming a virtuoso on the flute. These days, Lizzo’s flute-playing is a highlight of her concerts.

In 2011, Lizzo moved to Minnesota in order to pursue her musical career. Over the next few years, she toured with several different bands, but it wasn’t until early 2019 when she really started to experience critical and commercial success.

The release of her album Cuz I Love You in April 2019 secured her place as a bonafide superstar. Throughout the remainder of 2019, Lizzo continued to become more popular, earning even more fans and receiving accolades from critics everywhere.

In spite of her undeniable popularity, Lizzo has been involved in several controversies, many having to do with her plus-sized figure. 

Who is Dr. Boyce Watkins?

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Dr. Boyce Watkins is a very controversial figure as well. He is an author, economist, social commentator, and political analyst.

Rising from humble beginnings, Watkins has become a regular fixture on shows such as Good Morning America, MSNBC, Fox News, USA Today, and CNN. He has published a number of popular books, many of them dealing with race issues in America and matters of the economy.

Dr. Watkins has come under fire over the years due to his habit of speaking out against various artists or causes that he feels negatively impact African-Americans. A few of the artists that he has taken issue with include the rapper Lil’ Wayne and Tyler the Creator.

He has also slammed various campaigns and products from the BET channel, Adidas, and even the soft drink company Mountain Dew. Most recently, he spoke out against Lizzo, drawing fire from fans as well as the artist herself.

What did Dr. Boyce Watkins say about Lizzo?

Lizzo Met Gala
Lizzo | Theo Wargo/WireImage

In late December, Dr. Watkins posted a scathing critique of Lizzo to his Twitter account. In the tweet, he claimed that the only reason Lizzo is popular is that there is an “obesity epidemic” in America.

He also stated that “rather than encouraging people to do better, we are simply lying to them and telling them that they are just fine the way they are.” 

Needless to say, he was attacked for the harsh social media message by fans, and only a few days after he posted the tweet, Lizzo herself commented. The singer called him out directly, saying: “Keep my name out ya mouth & look in the mirror before you come for me. Here’s the attention you ordered.”

She also refuted his claim that she was popular due to her weight, stating that she’s popular simply due to her talent. 

Still, Dr. Watkins wasn’t quite done with his critique. After Lizzo posted her rebuttal, he went on Twitter again, pointing out some other popular African-American female artists who had “meat on their bones.” He called Lizzo a “minstrel show” and stated that was why people “challenge her behavior.”

While Lizzo hasn’t responded to his follow-up, plenty of her fans did — but Dr. Watkins isn’t backing down from his tough statements.