Lizzo delivered a powerful speech at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) upon receiving her award for Top Song Sales Artist.
The 32-year-old Truth Hurts singer wore a black dress with the word ‘Vote’ printed multiple times. Lizzo then proceeded to use the moment to speak about the upcoming U.S presidential election, as well as give thanks to the ‘big Black women’ who have paved the way for her phenomenal success.
“I just want to say, I’ve been thinking about suppression and the voices that refuse to be suppressed.
And I wonder, would I be standing here right now if it weren’t for the big Black women who refused to have their voices be suppressed?” Lizzo said.“I just want to say right now if you’re at home watching this and you’re thinking about changing yourself to feel worthy, this is your sign to remain true to who you are.
The singer went on to speak about the issue of voter suppression in the U.S, a topic that becomes an increasing concern in the run-up to the upcoming November election.
“Let me tell y’all something. When people try to suppress something, it’s normally because that thing holds power,” Lizzo said. “They’re afraid of your power. There’s power in who you are, there’s power in your voice. Whether it’s through music, through protest, or your right to vote, use your power, use your voice, and refuse to be suppressed.”
According to the Financial Times, some of the most detrimental suppression measures used in America include voter purging, strict identification requirements, and felony disenfranchisement.
More than 17 million voters were deleted from registration lists between the years 2014 and 2016, either because they hadn’t voted for several years or because their names were not an exact match for other government records.
Black Americans are reported to be disproportionately affected by strict voting regulations, with 7.7% of Black Americans have lost their right to vote compared with just 1.8% of non-Black Americans.
President Trump’s recent call for an ‘army’ of supporters to ‘monitor’ voting stations has raised concerns about the potential for voter intimidation and further suppression of minority groups.
During his first presidential debate with Joe Biden, President Trump made baseless claims that Democrats would ‘steal’ the election, encouraging his supporters to ‘go into the polls and watch very carefully’.
Aside from reporting potential issues to the relevant authorities, voter intimidation or interfering in the election process is illegal in the US, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.