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Join Us In Welcoming Vogue Into The 21st Century: Lizzo Is Vogue UK’s December Cover Star And She’s Looking ‘Good As Hell’

There’s no denying it, Lizzo’s been having a great year, 2019 has definitely been good to her. Not a week goes by without us hearing something or another about the queen of self-love. The singer earned four VMA nominations this year, including best new artist, push artist of the year, best power anthem and song of the summer. She has a string of high profile celebs and personalities flooding her DMs and twitter feed, and before the decade draws to an end, she just landed the cover story of Vogue UK —Lizzo did THAT.

This year’s definitely got Lizzo feeling ‘good as hell’.

instagram @lizzobeeating

It’s been almost two years since Lizzo released her song “Truth Hurts,” and the singer skyrocketed up the charts and captivated the whole world with her positivity and fun energy this year. To end 2019 with a bang, Lizzo landed the cover of Vogue UK and to aptly quote her own hit, she’s looking “good as hell.”

Growing up, Lizzo recalls rarely —if at all— seeing women who looked like her in the media. 

twitter @lizzo 

The December issue of Vogue UK features the pop star clad in a glamorous Versace gown with feathered shoulders. The proud singer, happily tweeted out the cover photo this week. Lizzo told British Vogue just how much this cover story meant to her after growing up with hardly any images depicting women that looked like her in the media. 

“I would watch things on television and I would look at magazines and I would not see myself,” she told British Vogue. “When you don’t see yourself, you start to think something’s wrong with you. Then you want to look like those things and when you realize it’s a physical impossibility, you start to think, ‘What the fuck is wrong with me?’.” “I think that took a greater toll on me, psychologically, growing up than what anyone could have said to me.”

For all of us who’ve been starved for representation in fashion, this cover is a breath of fresh air.

twitter @bibbygregory

That’s why seeing Lizzo on the cover of British Vogue’s December issue—her first Vogue cover—in a plunging black couture gown, is such a deeply emotional experience for those of us who have rarely if ever seen bodies like ours, that don’t necessarily stick to the impossible “beauty norm,” represented in magazines. 

It’s a well known fact that magazines are often found guilty of extreme photoshop, which is why seeing Lizzo in her full glory is such a MOMENT.

@stretchmarkmami

What’s more, her cover is elevated, beautiful, fashionable and worthy of being seen. In the past —and perhaps still to this day, magazines have been guilty of hiding shapely bodies and airbrushing away their curves. But in this case British Vogue chose to acknowledge them instead. 

Plus-sized bodies covering Vogue have been rare—and have often been included as a token within groups of slimmer frames. Even Oprah reportedly slimmed down to a size 6 for her first Vogue cover in 1998; thankfully, her last appearance captured her in all her full-figured glory. But while many of us will be clamoring to get British Vogue’s December issue for its rare display of body positivity (the same quality many of us respond to in Lizzo, along with her undeniably infectious words), the entertainer insists it’s never been a gimmick.

“I’m not trying to sell you me, I’m trying to sell you, you.”

instagram @britishvogue

“Anybody that uses body positivity to sell something is using it for their personal gain. That’s just it,” she told Vogue. “We weren’t selling anything in the beginning. We were just selling ourselves and selling ourselves on the idea—selling ourselves on ourselves, you know?” “I’m not trying to sell you me,” she adds. “I’m trying to sell you, you.”

Whatever she’s selling, she can take our money.

twitter @setphanieYeboah

For those of us who’ve been starving for representation, the rise of Lizzo has been a healing balm. She’s a brown-skinned, big-bodied, unfiltered, unapologetic woman in a world that all too often asks us to apologize for not fitting its narrow definition of beauty, especially women (literally and figuratively).

‘We’re The Ones Making Wigs Modern’: These Female Entrepreneurs Want You To Support Black-Owned Hair Businesses

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‘We’re The Ones Making Wigs Modern’: These Female Entrepreneurs Want You To Support Black-Owned Hair Businesses

xoxovirginhair / Instagram

According to research, African-American consumers will spend nearly $2 billion on hair-care products, this year alone. And although a lot of that expenditure goes toward products aimed at caring for natural hair —like shampoo, conditioner and styling products, which are also very important— a lot of $$$ is also being spent on wigs and extensions —of terrible quality, may I add. These black women grew tired of fighting and fussing with wigs and hair extensions of bad quality, so they created their own businesses to fix the problem.

Up until recently, products like wigs and extensions were primarily produced by people outside of the black community. And perhaps that’s why there were so many issues.

Twitter @olaleyepeter6

According to Mintel, between 2015 and 2019, the use of braids and extensions by Black consumers in the U.S. grew 64% and the use of wigs spiked 79%. It’s also Black women who are seen wearing the film lace frontals “Oba wigs” and drawstring ponytails and yet, a lot of companies are white or Asian-owned but Black-presenting. “It’s problematic and needs to be discussed,” says Stephanie Nolan, founder of XOXO Virgin Hair.

Nolan first came up with the idea to start her own hair business after working as a model in the early 200s.

Instagram @xoxovirginhair

Ever noticed how hairstylists spend the majority of prep time fussing and fighting with weaves and wigs  before even being able to put them on? “They would have less-than-desirable experiences working with hair extensions or wigs that just weren’t cooperating,” says Nolan. “And it would end up really dragging out photoshoots.”

She had experimented with weaves in her personal life too, and in more than just a few occasions, the hair she bought just didn’t meet her expectations.

Instagram @xoxovirginhair

“I know that the everyday woman also doesn’t have time to fuss with their hair in the morning because she has to be at work at 8:30 in the morning,” she says. “And spending a lot of time on hair just takes away from being able to eat breakfast, being able to commute, so many things.” So she started her own company in 2014, aiming to release a product that would be convenient, easy to use and most importantly, of high quality.

Heat Free Hair by Ngozi Opara

Instagram @heatfreehair

Ngozi Opara owned a hair salon in Washington D.C. around the time when the natural hair movement started to take off. And she started to see a lot of clients that wanted to grow out their natural hair —which more often than not had been straightened or relaxed. They didn’t want to cut off their hair, so thy opted for sew-ins instead. “At the time, there weren’t any extension products on the market that would blend properly for women with coily hair textures (think 3B and 4C),” Opara says. “Clients were using virgin hair, but the only available options all came in straight, wavy and loose curly textures.”

The textures available meant that Opara had to straighten her clients’ hair in order to get it to blend properly, and she wanted to be able to manipulate their hair without using any heat. “I set myself up to be the first company to [make] virgin hair exclusively for natural hair textures.”

In 2013 Opara moved to China to learn about the manufacturing process.

Instagram @heatfreehair

After six months in China, she learned that not only did the factories have no concept of how the product they were making was being used, but also that a lot of the people producing the wigs didn’t know how to create textured hair without using chemicals. After a lot of tests, roundtable discussions and educating, they eventually got to a place of understanding and were able to create a product all parties were proud of. Now, Opara owns her own factory in China —with more than 50 employees.

Gina Knight, an influencer and wig designer based in the U.K., noticed that the same issue was prevalent in hair extensions across the pond.

instagram @ginaatinukeknight

Just as Opara hadn’t been happy with the texture of virgin hair for wigs, Knight couldn’t find options with hair similar to her own texture. “Having to have more of a Eurocentric wig just wasn’t me,” Knight says.

Black entrepreneurship in the wig and extension space is picking up speed but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

instagram @ginaknightwigdesign

“We are the ones who are utilizing [the product] the most, we’re making it modern, we’re making it so that other races want to get in on it and want to wear wigs,” Knight explains in conversation with Fashionista. “But I think people need to be honest with the fact that, in the supply chain, we don’t have a stronghold,” she says. “Along the line, it does fall out of the hands of Black-owned because we have to source from all over.”

Many companies realized there was a market, and they jumped on it without considering the group they’re marketing to.

twitter @morganjerkins

That’s probably what’s most upsetting about how the industry has evolved since these entrepreneurs first started their businesses. “When I created my brand, I had this customer in mind, I had my clients at the time in mind, I had myself in mind,” Opara says. “I shared the same pain points as the people who would benefit from my product and I didn’t even necessarily know it was going to take off, I just wanted to help solve a problem.” It’s unfortunate, she says, because the companies with more power take opportunities away from black female founders that are creating these products for their community.

It’s important to support Black women and their businesses so even more companies can thrive.

Instagram @ginaknightwigdesign

“I feel like it’s my duty almost to try to encourage people to support Black businesses because I know the value that it has for future entrepreneurs,” explains Opara. “But I also feel like, at least for myself as a consumer, I want to know that the brand I’m buying from is a brand that actually cares about me and not just about the money that they’re making from me.”

Fans Are Divided Over the Controversial Outfit Lizzo Wore Court-side At the Lakers-Timberwolves Game

Entertainment

Fans Are Divided Over the Controversial Outfit Lizzo Wore Court-side At the Lakers-Timberwolves Game

Lizzo / Instagram

Lizzo, the conclusive breakout popstar, fashion icon, and body-positivity role model of 2019, has been serving us sexy lewks and fashion ‘fits since she stepped onto the scene. But her latest ensemble has left both fans and casual observers scratching their heads (and their hoo-has) in confusion.

On Sunday, Lizzo attended the LA Lakers versus Minnesota Timberwolves basketball game dressed in a risque outfit. And unlike many of Lizzo’s previous edgy ensembles that have been pretty much universally embraced, this one caused quite the internet uproar. The outfit consisted of a long black t-shirt with a hole cut-out on her backside, exposing her thong-clad bare behind. And to take things even further, when the Laker Girls performed a dance routine to Lizzo’s hit-single “Juice” during half-time Lizzo got up and started to twerk. Her butt was facing the camera and her dance was picked up and broadcast on  the jumbotron and then the TV. In short, she essentially mooned the entirety of America before the camera quickly panned away.

And although Lizzo is known for stepping out in edgy ensembles, this one had many people saying she went too far.

As usual, there were a few haters who used Lizzo’s outfit as an opportunity to publicly body-shame her, but outside of those people, the outfit’s reception was mixed for more complicated reasons. Critics claimed that Lizzo’s ass-less outfit was too provocative for what many view as a family event. 

On this front, there was a consensus that there is a “time and a place” to show of your behind in public (like at a concert for your fans or an older-skewing awards show). Others took exception for what they believed was an issue of cleanliness: “This is a hygiene matter not a size/weight matter,” said one Twitter user. “It’s not okay to have your bare ass out on public seating”.

The social-media discussion has simply snowballed since Sunday. For every person that says Lizzo’s outfit was inappropriate, there is another person claiming that society only views it as inappropriate due to internalized fatphobia. Supporters of Lizzo point to other celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Rihanna who have built their entire careers profiting off their bodies. Others maintain that even these celebs wouldn’t go to a basketball game with their butt cheeks out.

Regardless of where you fall on the issue, it’s safe to say that this conversation wouldn’t be as heated if the celebrity in question was thin and had a conventionally “Hollywood” look.

On Twitter, some people were mad that Lizzo was “getting away” with dressing provocatively because of her body positivity brand. “If Lizzo wasn’t famous she would have definitely been asked to leave,” said one Twitter user. “It was inappropriate for a family setting. Sorry not sorry.” Really, there’s no way for us to know whether there would be this much outrage if a thinner celebrity wore such a provocative outfit to a professional sports game. If there’s one thing Lizzo is, it’s a trailblazer: we haven’t seen anything like this before.

And that’s exactly how Lizzo likes it. As the Grammy-nominated singer has previously said before, she’s made a conscious decision to include sexuality as part of her image. “[Women] weren’t given enough space in the industry to carve out a lane for big girls that are brown and black and want to sing and dance without getting sh*t-talked and body shamed,” she previously told Essence. “I want to be a sex symbol and music goddess and I’m out here trying to make that happen for myself. I’m here for the fantasy but I want to be a part of that fantasy. I’m just as fine as those girls.” Goodness knows she’s making good on that goal.

As for the reaction on Twitter, they ranged the spectrum from positive to downright condemning.

Lookout Drake! Lizzo just took over the award for “most polarizing court-side outfit in NBA history”. 

This person was insistent that Lizzo’s weight has nothing to do with the negative reception.

But of course, people responded to this Tweet with examples of graphic court-side outfits that didn’t spark as much outrage.

This person was convinced that Lizzo’s ass-less outfit was all part of her master plan to dominate music:

The timing does seem a little on-the-nose.

This person believes that there is a double-standard at play when judging Lizzo’s fashion choices

It’s true that provocatively-dressed pop stars are pretty par-for-the-course these days. But you’d be hard-pressed to find Beyonce in an ass-less outfit at a Lakers game.

This person pointed out how unsanitary Lizzo’s outfit seemed:

If anything, this is the most balanced take. No one wants to sit on a seat that had someone’s bare butt on it before them.