Undoubtedly, the highlight of this year’s People’s Choice Awards was Lizzo’s rousing acceptance speech for the 2022 “People’s Champion” award. The singer and rapper took the opportunity to spotlight 17 activists and advocates, as well as the organizations they represent, including two advocates for transgender equality.
During the ceremony, which aired Tuesday night on NBC, Lizzo received two awards. Her hit “About Damn Time” won Song of the Year, and she was presented with the People’s Champion award by her mother Shari Johnson-Jefferson.
“When I think of Lizzo, the word ‘champion’ comes to mind,” Johnson-Jefferson said in her intro. “She’s a champion of others, she builds you up and she’s always in your corner. She has shown us all that we don’t have to conform to anyone’s standards in order to be happy, to be creative, and to feel worthy.”
Accepting the award, Lizzo, who was also named TikTok’s Top Music Artist of 2022 this week, said that “to be an icon is not about how long you’ve had your platform. Being an icon is what you do with that platform. And ever since beginning my career I’ve used my platform to amplify marginalized voices.”
She then welcomed the activists onstage. “Make some noise for the people, y’all! These are all activists and people that I think deserve the spotlight!”
Among the advocates for women’s rights, racial justice, and reproductive freedom were two women fighting for transgender rights and inclusion. Lizzo shouted out Emmy-winning dancer Jayla Rose Sullivan, who appeared on the “Good As Hell” singer’s reality show Watch Out For The Big Girls and “who is making sure there’s space for transgender and nonbinary performers in the dance community.”
Also onstage was Los Angeles-based community health educator Chandi Moore, who works to give “trans and gender nonconforming youth the tools they need to live their lives as their authentic selves.”
Lizzo’s powerful and moving speech inspired none other than Stevie Nicks to take to Instagram to declare the singer “a great woman of our time.”
“Your name is in the stars now,” the Fleetwood Mac singer wrote.
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Lizzo has made her support for the trans community clear throughout her career. As she told Rolling Stone in 2020, “I’m making music that hopefully makes other people feel good and helps me discover self-love…That message I want to go directly to Black women, big Black women, Black trans women. Period.”