Superstar teaches self-love in ‘Love, Lizzo’ documentary

By Clara Faulkner, Staff Writer, Living Arts

“Love, Lizzo” is nothing short of special. It is a reclamation of Lizzo’s identity as a rapper and soul singer. 

On Nov. 24, HBO Max premiered “Love, Lizzo”, a documentary that focuses on singer-songwriter Lizzo’s personal and professional growth over the course of three years. Directed by Doug Pray, the documentary tells the real story of how Melissa Jefferson, famously known as Lizzo, became a worldwide sensation and shows that her real-life and on-screen selves are exactly the same. The documentary follows the artist from her early years in Michigan, her breakthrough into the music industry, and the making of her most recent album, “Special.” 

At first glance, the previews for “Love, Lizzo” made it seem like any other celebrity documentary, with throwaway comments about growing up and a few generic interviews, but it turned out to be quite the contrary. The documentary does not conceal the harsh psychological component of stardom, depicting Lizzo as a hero working to repair her inner self while still achieving a purpose.

Lizzo’s body image and rapper-to-singer pipeline have been defaced by the media. The documentary reveals her inner fortitude. It completes the gaps for individuals with a cursory perception of the singer. 

Knowing what it’s like to go from being a local celebrity at her church to a rising star as an R&B singer, she has a unique perspective on development. When Lizzo is attempting to expand her purpose of inspiring others, the media portrays her as outspoken and misunderstood.

Lizzo hasn’t changed much; she’s still the same girl who may be awkward at times and sassy at others, but who always puts her musical passion first.

It offers an unfiltered view into Lizzo’s reality, and she confesses she was hesitant to release it due to the misogynistic, racist, fatphobic, and other harsh remarks she received throughout her career.

The documentary has shifted the public’s perspective of Lizzo from the fashionable and outspoken persona due to her media presence to one of being unique and driven to succeed no matter what through her raw excerpts included in the film. Now that it has been shown how hard she works for her fans and her own music, there is a whole new level of admiration for her.

Lizzo appears to stay busy in and out of the spotlight, as she produces her own music videos, creates and mixes her own songs, and explores constructing other projects outside the music industry.

The musician’s recent non-musical endeavors, such as her Fabletics shapewear collection Yitty and her Amazon Prime show “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” are only briefly discussed in the film. It is evident that they are not incorporated as advertising, but rather to demonstrate how her other projects integrate into Lizzo’s greater objective to give an appropriate portrayal for big, Black girls—something she lacked as a child.

Like a conversation with a friend, Lizzo welcomes the audience inside her home and invites viewers into her private life, including intimate interviews from her mother, friends, and siblings. 

In the documentary, Lizzo discusses her relationships with celebrities including Harry Styles and Chris Evans addressing dating speculations. The documentary seemed like an intimate glimpse into her private life as well as her public image.

The peaks of her shows and the backstage preparation are just as fascinating as the interview excerpts and film following her about in her life.

The film undoubtedly omits significant details about Lizzo’s life; she has a right to privacy, at least as much as she can control. It was much more forthright than other celebrity documentaries like “This Is It” and “Miss Americana”, however, even touching on the topic of her reconciliation with her ex-boyfriend Myke and their attempt at a second go at dating. Lizzo has been said to want an open but private relationship following social media comments on her relationships. 

Hateful comments against the pop artist have been widely disseminated since the release of her album, and the media has not been exceptionally kind. However, Lizzo remains unfazed by criticism, and her ultimate objective is to encourage young Black women across the globe to reach their full potential.

With self-love anthems such as “Juice” and “About Damn Time,” Lizzo’s documentary was a musical journey of her embracing herself. The documentary shows Lizzo’s path with self-love and self-discovery, and motivates future generations to be true to themselves in a world with much to say.