Music

Lizzo at Metro Chicago: Exchanging Confidence

If I have kids, I want one to be a girl.

That’s the desire Lizzo brought through her empowering performance at Metro Chicago Friday. There were several themes that the Lizzo production explored, including female empowerment, Black Lives Matter and general self-belief.

Usually when I review a concert or an artist, I look for those themes through lyrics, melodies, costume, lighting and choreography. This was the first stop on Lizzo’s “Good As Hell” tour, a proud finding for her Chicagoan fans. And while I had no doubt that Lizzo’s back-up dancers always had as much energy as was showcased Friday night, I was floored when Lizzo announced the beginning of the tour. These women, whom Lizzo referred to as the “Big Girls,” displayed positive body image and pride in their femininity through unconventional dance moves. For lack of better language, these two women shook their butts, ran their hands down their torsos and did the splits (plus more, but I’m embarrassed to write about it) wearing white body suits.

(Elif Geris/Third Coast Review)

The message here was clear. In my case, it’s be a woman, and do it with pride. But the message was situational. I imagined how Mr. Trump would feel watching this concert. And I was proud of the middle finger Lizzo displayed to his entire administration.

Lizzo took a moment in between almost every song to explain the messages each one spoke. Interestingly, she even dedicated one song to Mike Pence, long after I pictured the president’s attendance. She also spoke of the confidence she needed to reaffirm herself as she was beginning her music career. That’s why so many of her songs, and her speeches Friday night, spoke to being not only black in a world in which racism unfortunately goes strong, but also to being a woman in the career world.

Lizzo lost her father at the age of 21 and began losing hope in her music, as well. In her concert, Lizzo tells us that the reason she writes lyrics mostly about herself and her mental health is because of that near loss of hope. Instead of writing of pain and loss, Lizzo tells herself just to keep doing what she’s doing.

Lizzo belts away as the Big Girls dance at Metro Chicago (Elif Geris/Third Coast Review)

The song that most spoke to me Friday night was “Coconut Oil,” in which Lizzo sings, “Don’t worry about the small things/I know I can do all things/Mama always told me that and she was right.” Simply put, “Coconut Oil” encourages its audience to try to enjoy the moment, regardless of how self-conscious we are, and to take life a step at a time, keeping our heads high and maintaining our beauty regimes when we’re down.

And that’s one of the mantras my mom taught me. Whether or not you feel good about today, she’ll say, look your best for yourself, so that when you pass the mirror, or even a shard of glass on the ground, you’ll see a bright and live woman, and you’ll approach the day with exactly that attitude.

Lizzo, the Big Girls and DJ/Back-up Vocalist Sophia Eris urged self-care Friday night for all demographics, but reminded we women, gays, blacks, transgenders, plus-sized and too skinny to keep fighting despite the shatter we encounter along the way.

Sophia Eris sings and dances along with Lizzo (Elif Geris/Third Coast Review)

That’s why when I have children, I want at least one girl. I want to console, encourage and watch my daughter fight battles like I will have overcome.

 

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