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Lizzo graces the cover of ‘Essence’; talks being inspired by Missy Elliott


JD Barnes/EssenceLizzo is living proof that moving to the beat of your own drum certainly pays off. 

In only a few months, the singer has performed at Coachella, cracked the Billboard top ten with her recent effort, Cuz I Love You, and sold out the accompanying tour for the project. But if you ask Lizzo, her “it” moment has yet to surface.

“There’s so much I wanna do. I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of making it or being it. ‘It,’ for me, is a long journey,” the body-positive pop sensation tells Essence as their latest digital cover star. 

In the May issue, Lizzo dishes on her creative process, the power of social media, and how Missy Elliott‘s enduring legacy has inspired her.  

“Seeing Missy exist in her truth was like, ‘Oh, I can exist in my truth,'” says Lizzo.  “She didn’t try to hide anything, lie or cover anything up.  She was as weird and freaky as she wanted to be. And I thought that was special.”

The self-proclaimed nerd, and proud flute player, often draws from her own quirks to bring to life her most powerful anthems, such as “Truth Hurts.” The effort just earned Lizzo her first Billboard Hot 100 entry, debuting at number 50 this week. 

“I made a decision to be myself because I knew I had no choice,” Lizzo says. “I’m trying to shake up the narrative about how we’re supposed to act.”

She’s certainly doing that, particularly during her live performances, which often feature her baring it all as she parades around stage. 

“These songs are for my big black girls. Everyone can enjoy them, but I want to help us,” Lizzo says. “This music is medicine and I’m trying to get it to my sisters.”

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