In 2019, Lizzo was championed by the internet as a frontrunner to play Ursula in Disney’s live-action adaption of Little Mermaid, but that role ended up going to Melissa McCarthy. Then in 2020, reports emerged that Disney was eyeing a live-action Hercules and Twitter said please cast Lizzo as one of the iconic Muses or we don’t want it. Now, it’s 2021 and no word yet on official casting for Hercules but Lizzo’s getting proactive by casting herself as a goddess of ancient Greece in her new music video for “Rumors”.
Last night the singer debuted her first taste of new music in two years and it features her Hustlers co-star, Cardi B — I mean, who’s better qualified for the subject matter. The video, which at some points looks like a shot-by-shot recreation of musical moments from Hercules, sees the duo strut around the clouds high above Athens as they rise over the haters by sarcastically confirming everything we’ve been hearing from the rumour mill. Lizzo addresses people policing what she posts online, shaming her for her body — but also shaming her for dieting — while Cardi speaks on the long-running accusations that her label uses streaming machines to boost her sales numbers. She doesn’t, however, mention Offset.
Known for her bops, Lizzo brings the message home with a catchy chorus: "Spendin' all your time tryna break a woman down / Realer sh-t is goin' on, baby, take a look around / If you thought that I was ratchet with my ass hangin' out / Just wait until the summer when they let me out the house, bitch.”
Today, I’ll be walking around the house randomly saying, “All the rumours are true, yeah” in my best Lizzo voice. Her outward self-confidence is infectious and I’m glad to see it’s still there. This song is really about all the sh-t that was talked about her since she pretty much became an overnight sensation a few years ago. The media attention on a rising star is a lot but think about society’s magnifying glass when you’re a fat Black woman — and to make it even harder on you, you’re a fat Black woman in pop music so segments of your community want to call you a minstrel show.
This week she returned from a year and a half break from Twitter because of the toxicity. Quarantine was probably a bit of a blessing in disguise for her to work on new music in peace and have some time to reflect and re-centre herself before her comeback. That is the silver lining for those of us who’ve been able to keep our cabin fever at bay. We don’t have rumors and haters to rise above (maybe you do? I don’t — I don’t think…) but all this time alone has been an opportunity to stop and sit with yourself and think, am I being my best self? Has that difficult work situation turned me into a crusty bitch? Was I so tired from trying to keep up with the Joneses that I’m not giving my partner the person they fell in love with? Lizzo’s really making me think!
But her music has always been about her talking through her issues out loud so we can build off those experiences to work through ours. We’ve all got something to rise above. She says, “Just wait until the summer when they let me out the house” and I second that. I’m trying to come out the other side of this pandemic a better version of myself.