Lizzo’s TED Talk on the history of twerking and how it taught her self-love just dropped online.
"If you follow me on social media before you've probably seen my heinie before," she jokes at the start of the talk, which was recorded at the TEDMonterey in early August. "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."
The talk, which was premiered by People, sees Lizzo break down how she was able to appreciate her body image through dance. “I grew up in an era where having a big ass wasn’t mainstream,” she noted, joking that Rihanna once gave her ass a “standing ovation.” She continued, “How did this happen? Twerking. Through the movement of twerking, I realized that my ass is my greatest asset. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my TED Twerk."
Lizzo revealed that she initially learned how to twerk at a club in Houston as a teen, and although it was new to her at the time, she’s since researched the history of twerking. She said that what people know today as twerking drew heavy inspiration from West African dances such as Mapouka. “We made twerking the global cultural phenomenon it became today,” she said.
“Everything that Black people create, from fashion to music to the way we talk, is co-opted and appropriated by pop culture,” Lizzo continued, circling back round to why she wanted to do the TED Talk in the first place. Ultimately, she hopes she can help “prevent the erasure of Blackness from twerking,” adding that it’s not “a trend,” and is a celebration of “sexual liberation.”
"I twerk because I'm talented," she explained. "Because I'm sexual, but not to be sexualized. I twerk to own my power, to reclaim my Blackness, my culture. I twerk for fat, Black women because being fat and Black is a beautiful thing."
Watch the full talk above.