Lizzo has never been one to shy away from speaking up for others — especially when she needs to speak out to protect and support the people she loves. On Thursday, June 27, the singer headlined a concert in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and after the show, Lizzo claimed that security at Summerfest had attacked her team on Twitter, and she asked her fans for help.
Shortly after midnight, the "Truth Hurts" singer asked her Twitter followers if anyone had gotten "footage of the security guard that tackled and attacked my team @Summerfest?!" alleging that the guard in question, "slapped and manhandled my hairstylist and I'm out for blood." According to USA Today, Lizzo later posted a video of the alleged security guard who she claimed attacked her team, explaining in a since-deleted tweet that she decided to film him in case she needed "evidence."
"They’re keeping me from going over there and having my way with him, but I’m filming this right now just in case I need some evidence and just in case I need to put this on the internet," she wrote, according to Stereogum. Clearly, Lizzo wanted to ensure that this person was held accountable for his alleged actions. "He needs to be in handcuffs… This racist bigot put his hands on my people and used hurtful language while tackling and dragging my team off the festival grounds," she reportedly wrote in another since deleted tweet.
In the early hours of Friday morning, Lizzo tweeted that the alleged attack had cast a dark shadow over her performance, which she described in a post as "the best show ever." She added, "I feel like I can’t even celebrate cuz RACISM don’t matter if you a headliner...." Lizzo then asked the Summerfest organizers to "please send footage" to back up her claim. She also noted that she and her team will be "filing a complaint against that bigoted 'security' guard" in another tweet, alongside a message to her fans that "the struggle ain’t over. Racism and bigotry don’t care if you’re a headliner."
Summerfest issued a public statement on Twitter about the alleged incident a short while later, explaining that the festival's organizers will be conducting an investigation. "Lizzo gave an incredible performance which she now feels is tarnished by events which occurred during the performance. We do not tolerate racism in any form. We will conduct a thorough investigation," the statement read. "We have an experienced crowd management staff who strive to protect performers & fans. While there may be challenges during a performance, we expect those challenges to be handled professionally & respectfully. If those standards were not met, we will take appropriate action."
While the vast majority of social media users and festival goers were supportive of Lizzo's desire to have the alleged incident investigated, she seemed to fire back at some detractors on Friday, explaining that racism comes in many different forms. "Friendly reminder that you don’t have to say the ‘n word’ to be racist," the singer wrote on Twitter. "That’s not the sole requirement. Asking people to prove racism is another tool the oppressor uses to marginalize and discredit us."
Throughout her career, Lizzo has been committed to using her voice and platform to speak out for herself and for marginalized communities everywhere. Back in December, she explained to fans on Twitter, "I represent black ppl, black women, feminism, intersectional feminism, big girls, big black girls, on a daily basis..." adding that her decision to be such a vocal representative for those communities is "a tough job."
In a May interview with NPR, the singer explained the origins of her song, "My Skin," and reflected on the fact that simply loving herself as a black woman can be a radical act. "The thing that I like about myself the most is the thing that's weaponized against us. People with black skin, you know, we get that weaponized, and this was [during] the beginning of #BlackLivesMatter, when there was such a public amount of executions of unarmed black people by police officers," she recalled.
"And so, I think that it was almost oxymoronic to be like, 'I love my black skin,' when that was the thing that's held against me the most in this society. I wanted to write a song about that too, and talk about how I'm proud of it no matter what."
Being such a powerful voice in the spotlight is not something Lizzo takes lightly, and she's shown that she means not only speaking up to support and uplift other women of color, but also more difficult things like speaking out against biases and not backing down. She's using her stardom to show people everywhere that she is willing to hold them accountable for their biases.