Lizzo recently gave a TED talk about twerking’s roots and development, as well as how the dance helped her love her body.
Who knew that learning to twerk changed the musician’s relationship with her butt — and made her feel empowered. “My ass has been the topic of conversations, my ass has been in magazines, Rihanna gave my ass a standing ovation. Yes, my booty! My least favourite part of my body,” the musician explained. “How did this happen? Twerking. Through the movement of twerking, I realised that my ass is my greatest asset. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my TED Twerk”.
According to the publication, Lizzo’s talk explained the way twerking has developed throughout the centuries. “Modern-day twerking derived from Black people and Black culture. It has a direct parallel to West African dances like Mapouka,” she shared, adding that the dance was seen as a “celebration of joy” and a sign that you were ready to get married. “Black people carried the origins of this dance through our DNA, through our blood, through our bones. We made twerking the global cultural phenomenon it became today.” According to Lizzo, she herself learned how to twerk in a club in Houston when she was a teenager, and the dance was key in how she eventually embraced her body.
“I used to hate my ass, believe it or not. I have my father’s shape and my mother’s thighs, so it’s big, and long. I used to think that only asses like J.Lo’s or Beyoncé’s could be famous. I never thought that could happen to me,” she explained. “I always felt like my body type wasn’t the right one, or the desirable one growing up. Because I grew up in an era where having a big ass wasn’t mainstream.”
Lizzo shared how twerking is part of her self-care; it’s a way she takes care of her body and connects to her sensuality and her soul. “It’s a deep, soulful, spiritual practice. It’s hip-opening. It’s empowering,” she explained.