Lizzo explains how her new video explores the 'juxtaposition' of how Black women are seen
Everyone loves a superhero, but what about when she takes off the mask?
The story follows Lizzo as a waitress with a secret identity as a Marvel-esque superhero, who saves strangers from peril. In particular, she saves a little Black girl from getting hit by a car, reminding her just how special she is.
We also see that while doing heroic deeds, Lizzo is adored by the crowd—even by those who initially hold up signs in protest. As a regular Black woman, however, Lizzo (or “Melly,” as it says on her waitress name tag) doesn’t garner nearly as much respect. That is, until she starts standing up for herself.
The video, of course, is for her song “Special,” which has universal resonance as a power anthem of self-love. But in a voice note shared to her Instagram account, Lizzo explained that for the visual story, she wanted to tap into the specific point-of-view of a Black woman.
"The music video starts off as showing the superhero, the Black woman as superhero. And it's like, America loves a Black woman as superhero, but absolutely hates her as a human being," she said.
She continued, "The glorious superhero, you see her doing the regular life-saving, press, everyone loves her. And then she takes off her costume, it's a Black woman and just showing the juxtaposition of how she gets treated in the real world."
In her caption, the singer shared how she would like for others who look like her to receive the same kind of love that she gets from her fans. “Every night on stage I say ‘thank you for supporting me. For loving me. And when you see someone that looks like me in the Real World, keep that same energy.’ What good is representation if I’m the only one benefiting?”
While that perspective might have been the “seed that planted” the idea for the video, Lizzo did share that the story “is for anyone who has felt unseen, alone, disrespected. I see you.”
Watch the superpowered video below:
Real heroes lift others up. They help make the world a better place for everyone. If anyone fits that bill, it’s Lizzo. And she doesn’t even need a cape to do it.