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No one would argue that 2019 was Lizzo‘s biggest year yet. After kicking things off in January by reintroducing herself with the shimmering, Prince-channelling “Juice,” the rapper/singer/flautist kept on rolling, dropping the statement album Cuz I Love You and launching a revitalization of her 2017 song “Truth Hurts,” which is currently sitting pretty at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
It only makes sense that Lizzo would take that tune—also nominated this year for a Song of Summer VMA—and blow it up maximally on the 2019 VMAs stage, paired with yet another throwback track, “Good As Hell.” A larger-than-life personality, Lizzo is not beholden to any stage while performing—and this time, she brought a squad of cloud-like dancers and a gigantic inflatable ass (reclaiming it from Sir Mix-A-Lot) to help execute that transcendence and help her voice carry even farther.
Lizzo famously uses “Truth Hurts” to remind us all of the results of a key DNA test: She is “100 percent that bitch.” Onstage, she truly lived it, beginning a cappella in a long coat reminiscent of The Weather Girls’s video for “It’s Raining Men.” But before that giant blow-up ass had shimmied much at all, Lizzo was already onto the next thing—a triumphant take on “Good As Hell” complete with an inspiring sermon.
Part of her sizzling 2019 rise (after a decade spent grinding and perfecting her craft) is found in the core of both “Truth Hurts” and “Good As Hell,” two songs that raise up their arms in celebration of self-empowerment. When she switched into the sky-scraping glee of “Good As Hell” on the VMA stage, she took to a literal podium to shout out self-acceptance to the folks listening.
“Let me talk to y’all for a second,” she said. “I’m tired of the bullshit. It’s so hard to love yourself in a world that doesn’t love you back.” She took the opportunity to remind you of something that often feels way more complication: “Feel good as hell because you deserve to feel good as hell.”
Tonight, Lizzo’s up for Best New Artist and was also nominated for PUSH Artist of the Year. “Truth Hurts” also nabbed a nomination for Song of Summer, and her “Tempo” collab with this year’s Video Vanguard Award recipient (and her hero), Missy Elliott, landed one for Best Power Anthem. Now that she’s done performing, she can sit back and count down the minutes until Missy’s performance, as we all are.
The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards have touched down at The Prudential Center in New Jersey, airing live on MTV. See the full list of winners and keep up with all of the night’s biggest VMA moments!