Lizzo is many things: an extremely talented singer-songwriter, a comedic content creator, and a fierce advocate of self-love, especially for fat Black women. With everything she creates — whether it's a catchy, mood-boosting tune or a funny TikTok video — she inspires fans to celebrate themselves at every step and live their best lives. But for Lizzo, the journey to love her natural hair was its own separate beast and the "final step for me in self-love."
Her relationship with her hair has changed like night and day since she was a child, she tells me over the phone. As someone who has tighter coils, it was hard for Lizzo to find beauty in her natural hair because straight and wavy textures have historically been deemed more societally acceptable.
"When I was younger, I was definitely taught that a certain hair texture and type was considered beautiful — I did not have that hair texture, and it made me feel like I needed to hide this part of myself," she explains. "I used to do all these really harmful things to my hair because I didn't love it."
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This is an experience that many Black women know oh too well, and Lizzo is thankful for the community she was able to find due to the natural hair movement. She recalls seeing some of the first natural hair influencers become popular and the wave they started on social media, which showed her more and more people with her hair type. It also helped to follow other Black women with natural hair like hers who shared similar experiences. "When I finally, in the last few years, started to come to terms with 'this is my hair, it's not going to change, and it's beautiful,' I felt like I finally could say that I truly loved myself," she says.
Curating her social media to better reflect the people and content she wants to see is part of how Lizzo keeps herself sane on these platforms — oh, and never reading the comment sections. She definitely understands the illusions and insecurities social media can create, which is why she has been proudly involved with Dove's Self-Esteem Project and its #NoDigitalDistortion pledge, which encourages folks to post more unretouched photos, since April.
"I've watched how social media has become a place that can be really harmful to people, especially to young people, and so it was important to me to be a part of something positive on social media," she says. "And to partner with Dove was incredible because we're making small steps and making sure that social media can be a place that can boost your self-esteem; It can be a safe space."
Besides its pledge, the brand creates guided workshops developed with experts to help build positive self-esteem in children. On August 5, it launched My Hair, My Crown, its latest tool meant to specifically inspire confidence in children with natural hair (it's is available for download right from the brand's site). The 90-minute workshop features detailed activities targeted at children ages 11 to 14, which also help adults navigate beauty standards for natural hair. Lizzo even got to virtually sit in on the first of these guided workshops at the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem the same day to offer a few inspirational words.
"The way that we see ourselves changes every single day; I just choose to find the positive in the way that I see myself."
Though she hasn't completed the My Hair, My Crown guide with any of the young people in her own life yet, she thinks it's perfect for guiding adults who have never tried to have conversations about natural hair with children. "I know how to have those conversations and I have that language, but a lot of people don't," she says. "So it's really nice that this My Hair, My Crown workshop is accessible to people because it helps boost confidence in young people, especially if you don't know how to talk to someone about that. It can be a really awkward conversation sometimes."
Learning to love your natural hair is one thing, but learning how to take care of it is another. Once Lizzo embraced her natural hair, the next step was to listen to it to give it what it needs, which she says feels almost intuitive. Her main priorities are keeping her hair clean, hydrating it, and most importantly, giving it breaks. Although she loves wigs and braided styles, she also likes to just let her hair breathe.
"I used to just kind of lock my hair away, and I realized that was [like] locking her up in a prison. You can't thrive when you're locked up like that," she says. "So now I'll be like, let me take this style out and let me take this wig off and let her breathe. Let her expand." She does that in many ways, including pigtails and buns hairstyles, which are her favorite to do simply because they are cute.
I couldn't leave a conversation with Lizzo without asking if she had any advice about navigating that self-love journey. Her advice: Be patient and kind to yourself. Growth is never linear, so you shouldn't feel dismayed if you feel off sometimes.
"The way that we see ourselves changes every single day; I just choose to find the positive in the way that I see myself," she says. "Sometimes it's skin, sometimes it's my body, sometimes it's my hair, sometimes it's my spirit — but every day, just try to find something that you love about yourself because the things that you like about yourself aren't going to be the same every single day."
Loving yourself is hard, and teaching others, especially children, how to do that is even more difficult. But with My Hair, My Crown, parents, teachers, and other adults can feel prepared to help empower children to feel comfortable and beautiful with their natural coils and kinks. To download the handy tool, visit the brand's site here.