Lizzo hopped on Instagram Live with Black Visions Collective, a Minnesota-based, Black-led organization that empowers Black queer and transgender people, on Friday (June 5) to talk about pushing the Black Lives Matter movement forward.
“I’ve never seen anything like this…. I’m actually hopeful,” the pop star told Black Visions Collective’s core team member Oluchi Omeoga. She recalled camping outside of a local police precinct to protest after Jamar Clark, a Black man from Minnesota, was shot and killed by officers back in 2015.
Although she’s been taking it to the streets of Los Angeles, Calif. with other celebrities outside of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s house over the weekend (“It was so inspiring to see the black joy,” she mused), a part of Lizzo’s heart remains in Minneapolis. “I knew Minneapolis would always be a part of the revolution!” she exclaimed before Omeoga and her shouted in tandem, “Prince always knew!”
Minnesota-based artists like the late Prince and Lizzo aren’t strangers to the revolution because Lizzo believes artists play pivotal leadership roles — that is, when also giving grassroots organizers like Black Visions Collective and young activists their platforms to do so.
“I believe deeply that there are voices that need to be heard,” she said, citing Shawn Mendes for handing over his Instagram account to Zyahna Bryant, a young Black activist and community organizer. “Artists who have this position need to make sure it’s in the music, it’s in the movies, it’s being discussed in the board rooms…. The system is broken, but the system is actually working just fine. We need to break the system.”
Breaking a system, according to Lizzo’s vision, means different communities coming together. And there’s no better time for solidarity among other discriminated groups than during Pride Month, which she exclaimed she couldn’t be more excited about. “If all of the people realized — if all of the marches came together — what we could do, the problems look different. The consequences look different. But the oppressors look exactly the same,” she said.
Omeoga unpacked the “multiple identities and multiple oppressions” happening to the Black LGBTQIA+ community, especially when the murder of Tony McDade, a Black trans man who was shot and killed by police in Tallahassee, Fla. last month, continues to go unnoticed. “Black trans people’s names are missing from these memorials,” Lizzo pointed out, as protests springing up throughout the whole world focus on saying the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. “We gotta keep that same energy!” Lizzo expressed.
Considering they were coming together on June 5, what would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday before police shot her eight times and killed her in her Louisville, Ky. apartment back in March, the two wanted to sing a special tune. Omeoga requested if Lizzo would lead them in the “Black Happy Birthday” version, which she did joyously while clapping and snapping along. “She deserves to have cake and smile and take pictures…. Because of this f—ed up, corrupt, racist system, she got shot eight times in her sleep,” the 32-year-old artist said.
Whether it’s singing “Happy Birthday” to Taylor or Amber Riley performing Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar’s “Freedom” at the sit-in outside the LA mayor’s house that Lizzo attended, the “Truth Hurts” singer said movements have always been in tandem with art. And it doesn’t stop at the artists. She called on Beyhive, BTS’ ARMY and other fanbases who have the power to spam their icon’s pages to use that same energy to spam government officials to “get them to move.”
Check out Lizzo’s entire Instagram Live conversation with the Black Visions Collective below.