Coming at a time when Minneapolis is plagued by racial tension as a result of police brutality and the recent murder of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, rising artist Lizzo is calling for a much-needed celebration of diversity. “My Skin” is a more sincere sound for the brassy emcee who delivered us 2014’s “Bus Passes and Happy Meals,” and a track that showcases her devastatingly soulful singing voice.
“I woke up in this—in my skin,” Lizzo coos, giving a much more substantial meaning to the similar line Beyoncé made famous with her cocky club anthem, “Flawless.” This chorus, lyrically straightforward, but undeniably effective, surges when she sings strong like a soldier: “You can’t wash it away, so you can’t take it from me—my brown skin.” It’s a simple message and a powerful reminder for a nation that’s been shamefully reverting to its racist origins.
The commanding video was inspired by StyleLikeU’s ongoing “What’s Underneath” project, where the Detroit-born, Houston-bred rapper stripped down to her underwear on tape and discussed the problematic ways society views her black female body.
“This is a summoning of bodies: all shapes, sizes and shades to unite in their pride, and wear their skin like the gift it is,” the rapper writes on YouTube. “My Skin literally matters. It matters because it’s the largest organ on my body. Because it’s my exterior. It’s been stretched, sunburnt and covered in glitter. It’s the first thing you notice about me. My skin is dark brown, but if you asked someone they would say it’s black. My blackness is my largest assumed ‘accessory.’ Not my gender, religion or wealth. Because of it, I’ve experienced countless misconceptions from people—neck rolls and gratuitous gestures, overt southern dialects superimposed onto my own voice, perceived ghetto-ness.” Watch “My Skin,” below: