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Let Lizzo Give All the TED Talks from Now On


Let Lizzo Give All the TED Talks from Now On

The pop star gave a lecture on the history of twerking in a new conversation.

Lizzo wants to educate the world on the history of twerking—and what it taught her about self-love.

The “Truth Hurts” singer hosted a new TED Talk, during which she broke down how twerking, the dance move, permeated mainstream culture and also encouraged her to love and accept her body—more specifically, her butt.

“I used to hate my ass, believe it or not,” Lizzo said at the start of the conversation, per People. “I have my father’s shape and my mother’s thighs, so it’s big, and long. I used to think that only asses like J.Lo’s or Beyoncé’s could be famous. I never thought that could happen to me.”

She continued, “My ass has been the topic of conversations, my ass has been in magazines, Rihanna gave my ass a standing ovation. Yes, my booty! My least favorite part of my body. How did this happen? Twerking. Through the movement of twerking, I realized that my ass is my greatest asset. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my TED Twerk.”

During the 14-minute talk, the pop star spoke about how twerking was born from West Africa dance and slowly but surely developed through Southern Black culture, making its way through musical genres such as hip-hop and New Orleans–style bounce. She also gave examples of how quickly twerking was co-opted by whiteness; see: Miley Cyrus attempting the move during her 2013 MTV Video Music Awards performance.

“Black people carried the origins of this dance through our DNA, through our blood, through our bones. We made twerking the global cultural phenomenon it became today,” Lizzo said. “Everything that Black people create, from fashion to music to the way we talk, is co-opted and appropriated by pop culture. … For me, twerking ain’t a trend. My body ain’t a trend. I twerk because of my ancestors, for sexual liberation. … Because I can. Because I know I look good. I twerk because it’s unique to the Black experience, it’s unique to my culture, and it means something real to me.”

The singer concluded her address by declaring how twerking is a way for her to reclaim her personal power—as a performer and as a Black woman.

“I twerk because I’m talented. Because I’m sexual, but not to be sexualized. I twerk to own my power, to reclaim my Blackness, my culture,” Lizzo said. “I twerk for fat, Black women because being fat and Black is a beautiful thing.”

Watch Lizzo’s TED Talk in full above.