Lizzo’s Full TED Talk On the History of Twerking Has Arrived: ‘I Used to Hate My Ass, Believe it or Not’


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Lizzo’s TED Talk on the history of twerking and the way it taught her self-love simply dropped on-line.

“If you follow me on social media before you’ve probably seen my heinie before,” she jokes on the start of the speak, which was recorded on 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 speak, which was premiered by People, sees Lizzo break down how she was in a position to respect her physique picture via dance. “I grew up in an era where having a big ass wasn’t mainstream,” she famous, joking that Rihanna as soon as 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 as a result of I’m proficient,” she explained. “Because I’m sexual, but to not be sexualized. I twerk to own my power, to reclaim my Blackness, my culture. I twerk for fats, Black girls as a result of being fats and Black is a wonderful factor.” 

Watch the total speak above.

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