Bleats

Lizzo's Ass-Centric Performance At The VMAs Is Body Positivity We Can All Aspire To

The juice has been spilled.

There’s only one woman in modern pop who could jump out on stage at the VMAs in front of a giant inflatable butt, with a troupe of twerking backup dancers, and make it the classiest performance of the night – it’s Lizzo.

She’s got BDE through the roof, and her confidence is enviable. Lizzo never submits to the pressure to cover up her body because it’s not the skinny norm of the popstar princess genre – instead, she confronts the haters by preaching her juice to the whole world.

The singer/rapper/flautist/queen-of-good-vibes also ain’t here for people who criticise her for flaunting her body – and that includes ladies who try to call her out for being attention-seeking, or shame her for ‘promoting obesity’ (eyeroll). Let’s be real, they’re probably just jealous of her for doing the things that they won’t.

Lizzo puts the whole package on display. On social media, she’s always making a clear statement that cellulite and body rolls are no less attractive that boobs or butts. Hell, her Insta handle is ‘Lizzo be eating’ for crying out loud. She’s keeping it real, and people are adoring her for it.

Above all, her empowering public figure and performances have the potential to make genuine progress in the music industry. Female bodies are still policed by producers, record labels, and society at large, and go from being censored one moment to exploited the next. This goes double for black bodies.

Even when artists produce songs and videos that supposedly promote body positivity, their blatant messaging and sole focus on a person’s physical appearance doesn’t actually change anything for the better.

That’s what makes Lizzo so different – she’s just doing her own thing, and it always comes from the heart. Sure, she sings about being a “thick bitch who needs tempo,” but the themes of her songs are more about self-care, self-worth, and self-acceptance than crying out to the world to love her fat. And it’s those deeply personal messages that have struck a chord with her audience.

So Lizzo, if you’re reading this, keep on doing you and we’ll keep cheering you on – especially if ‘doing you’ looks like that incredible VMAs performance. Because we could all do with more ass-positive content in our lives.

BTS Taking Time Off Work To “Recharge” Is The Ultimate Mood

‘Due to personal reasons I will be taking a nap’ – Suga, probably.

It’s official: the BTS hiatus has begun. Fans of the uber-successful K-pop boyband have flooded the internet with messages of support after the group’s management, Big Hit Entertainment, tweeted out the bittersweet news. Mandatory fun is the justification for the vacation, as the boys have virtually worked themselves to death since before their debut.

Look, I know the ARMY (collective noun for BTS diehards, for the uninitiated) get enough hate as it is, but I think y’all could’ve chosen a better hashtag. #RestWellBTS clearly confused a decent number of people, since “#RestWellBTS died” is a suggested search on Twitter. They’ll only be gone for two months folks, not forever.

ARMY: This year, I lost my dear idols RM, Jungkook, Jimin, V, Suga, J-Hope, and Jin.
BTS: Quit telling everyone we’re dead!
ARMY: Sometimes, I can still hear their voices.

Half of the band have been recording and performing full time since before they were 20 years old, so they’ve barely had any time to live as ‘normal’ young people – i.e. people who can nip into the local pub without an entourage of a thousand screaming tweens. In their YouTube Original documentary series Burn The Stage, RM lamented the missing years of “meeting friends” and “enjoying nature and walking around”, saying “I didn’t have enough time to live as Kim Namjoon.”

The physical exhaustion of touring the world and jumping around a stage for hours every night has clearly taken a toll on the members, too, making the break long overdue. Their fans have been pleading with them to slow down for over a year, ever since Burn The Stage exposed the reality of their lives on the road, showing Jungkook collapsing after a performance in Chile.

Pushing the talent too far is a common problem in the K-pop scene, with performers being forced to suffer through chronic health issues to fulfill the demands of their contracts, in exchange for a shot at fame. That’s one reason why the announcement of the BTS hiatus is so important – as the most popular K-pop group in the world, they have a lot of influence.

Though the ARMY are relentless in their love for the band, sometimes at the cost of the members’ privacy and safety, the majority seem nothing but relieved to see their beloved boys get the rest they deserve. Big Hit made an unambiguous request for any fans who stumble upon their idols to respect their personal space, and many have promised to defend the sanctity of the vacation against stalkers. To be fair this is only day one, so who knows what kind of chaos might ensure in the following content-free weeks.

BTS and their management have set a precedent for giving the world’s biggest and busiest K-pop stars a decent holiday, at last! We should all be embracing that liberating philosophy. Thanks to BTS, I will now be using this rationale to get out of any and all social responsibilities. No Aunt Carol, I can’t babysit your grandchildren next week, for I am on “an official and extended period of rest and relaxation”.

Lollapalooza Proved That Music Festivals Are A Better Soapbox Than The Senate

Preach it!

Music festivals have an extraordinary power to unite people – emotionally and physically, because when you’re crammed up against a wall of stranger’s bodies, you’ve just got to go with the flow. Others have unity in despair at missing out on tickets, or take action and storm the fences. For some artists, however, the stage is a platform not only for their music, but their messages about social issues.

Over the weekend, at Lollapalooza in Chicago, many of the performers opened their acts with a speech to the enormous crowds. Mass shootings took place in Texas and Ohio at the same time as artists like Twenty One Pilots and Ariana Grande prepared to take to the stage, inspiring country singer Kacey Musgraves to break up her set with a call to politicians to take action on gun control.

She pleaded with her enraptured audience to contact their representatives, driving home the point by rousing a chant of “Somebody f*cking do something!”

The Revivalists chose to make a similar statement, using a giant banner reading “End Gun Violence Now” as the backdrop for their performance, which featured an anti-gun violence protest song released late last year. Lead singer David Shaw used slightly subtler phrasing than Musgraves, saying, “We’ve got a problem in this country and I think you know what it is. … It’s up to the young people in this nation to speak out.”

Janelle Monae used her slot earlier in the Lollapalooza lineup to hit home some particularly provocative social and political messages. As well as performing her fiercely feminist songs ‘Django Jane’ and ‘Pynk’, she had some words for anyone who didn’t get the subtext. “We’re fighting against the abuse of power,” she said, “We’re fighting to get Donald Trump impeached.”

And it’s not just Lollapalooza that features this kind of expression. The history of political speech at music festivals is as long as they’ve been around, and an increasing number of artists are choosing to use them as an opportunity to protest and inspire.

At this year’s Glastonbury festival, Lizzo passionately encouraging her audience to take on a self-love mantra, and Olly Alexander of Years and Years defended himself against haters by drawing attention to the history and future of the LGBT+ community.

“The fight for equality began before the Stonewall riots, it continues today and it will go on until tomorrow, into the future,” he said, “But the future is not fixed. And our histories cannot predict what tomorrow might bring or what we might do with it.”

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