Lizzo - Wow!
Seeing Lizzo perform for the first time this afternoon at The New Orleans Heritage Jazz Festival was an amazing experience for me! There were so many different aspects of the 80 minute set that meant a lot to me! Lizzo’s music itself was and is moving and both deep and at times humorous and light. While some of her songs sounded faintly familiar, I don’t know her music.
The music and the entire show was significantly choreographed and was quite complex. Lizzo showed her excellence as a flautist on multiple occasions. She had eight young female performers who had various bodily movements, sometimes appearing to be dancing, but also other movements. They weren’t thin, and they were mostly quite agile. Some of them sang, and those that did were quite good. The band was tight and quite good.
Lizzo is much, much more than her songs. While some have a clear political message, with significant empowerment of women, often Black Women, there also is a lightness to some of the music. Her message is empowering to both girls and women. The clear vision that Black Women and Girls don’t need to be thin, and can be sexual and strong is significant.
Plenty of quite varied ages of girls and young women, both BIPOC and white, clearly love Lizzo and her music deeply. She can be sassy, can point her rear end at the audience without shame, and do much more, and her audience loves her for it. Men and boys also appreciate Lizzo, though many of them seem more to enjoy her, rather than adore her.
Lizzo’s political side is very significant! She brought in her political beliefs quite clearly and deeply - intertwined within varied parts of her show. A Gay/Lesbian/Trans flag draped around her body, speaking out against various oppression including racism, sexism, and various phobia is explicit, whether stated directly, or subtly.
I was expecting a good show. I got much more than I expected. Moneywise - it was a clear “bargain”! There aren’t that many such dynamic performers, who are excellent musicians - and so visible.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF LIZZO - TODAY AND BEYOND
Before Lizzo performed, I talked with a middle-aged white man in front of me - from the area. What I learned from him follows. He grew up and knew some of the Nevilles and they were great guys. He told me how it’s too bad how many incredible people have died over the past few years including Dr. John, multiple Nevilles, and Fats Domino.
New Orleans is different from everywhere else. We all get a long! He pointed to a man on the other side of me and he and the man told me that he’d grown up in the only white family in the neighborhood, and they got along well.
After our pleasant conversation for at least 15-20 minutes, the tone shifted. In Chicago things are out-of-control. Those people who are poor have no respect for anyone else. Chicago just elected a Black mayor and it was because the Black People would only vote for a Black Man. In New Orleans it is the same.
I tried to nuance things a little, but it was a lost cause. I told him I needed to get back to my seat and went back. After Lizzo played, he came to me and said how nice it was to meet me. He could clearly see that B - my partner is Black.
When Lizzo performed, he seemed to have varied reactions from seeming disinterest to an unclear level of interest and/or amusement.
THE LESSON IS CLEAR - THOUGH CHALLENGING
My white, male neighbor was clueless at how offensive he was to me! I didn’t ask who he votes for, but he’s clearly no ally of mine!
Lizzo is speaking to men like this, though her issues are far more diverse than he may be able to see.
My issue, isn’t simply with white men like this man!
My issue is with us “good guys” - who oppose him. How many of us:
1. “Vote the right way” (and implied in this is that they are doing the right thing).
2. Try - but “it’s hopeless, so I don’t push ahead”.
3. “I’m not political. I avoid the news”.
The Germans weren’t political. White people, most particularly men - those without the wealth strongly supported slavery, because it was “the right thing to do”.
It’s time - for we white men - to care about - the people Lizzo supports - and who she really is. It’s time it goes beyond cheering at a concert. Will we reach out - and support “the others” in meaningful ways?
I don’t know - but I think it’s Most Important - that we try and keep on trying as long as our health holds up. We need to listen and really hear! We need to be allies! We need to work with each other.
The times are a changin - and we need to embrace the change and see how it helps us all!