Lizzo shuts down man who says she’s only popular because of an ‘obesity epidemic in America’

Lizzo and her fans have responded to a man who said the pop star is only popular “because there is an obesity epidemic in America.”

Dr. Boyce Watkins, a self-described financial scholar and social commentator, body-shamed her on Twitter Friday.

“Rather than encouraging people to do better, we are simply lying to them and telling them that they are just fine the way they are. Unfortunately, many of these people are dying from diabetes and heart disease,” Watkins tweeted.

Watkins continued to come at Lizzo over the next few days, posting derogatory photos, and even likening her to a slave.

Lizzo responded to Watkins on Monday.

“I’m popular because I write good songs and I’m talented and perform high energy hour and a half shows filled with love. The only person who needs to do better is you,” she tweeted. “Keep my name out ya mouth & look in the mirror before you come for me. Here’s the attention you ordered.”

Even though Lizzo shut down the body shamer beautifully, fans and body-positive advocates are still rushing to her defense.

“Unless you too can sing, rap and dance simultaneously for an hour straight and still have enough breath control to play a flute then you have no business handwringing over her health. Sis is more fit than most of the folks calling her unhealthy,” Twitter user @xoDrVenture wrote.

Others pointed out the inherent sexism in Watkins’ attack.

“There was Notorious BIG, Big Pun, Fat Joe, Rick Ross, Dj Khaled…We never heard any one of you musty ass morons blame their popularity on an ‘obesity epidemic’ until a woman came up,” Twitter user @okemzuruoke wrote.

It is an outdated but prevalent misconception that weight is the best indicator of health. Doctors are coming to understand other measures of health can be equally as useful–measures as obscure as walking speed or the number of pushups one can do. And with the rise in popularity and affordability of fast food, people with a normal BMI still face a relatively high risk of heart disease.

This is not the first time Watkins has tweeted about Lizzo. Just the day before, Watkins tweeted, “#Lizzo plays the flute while twerking. Are some #blackwomen volunteering for mammyism?”

Marc Lamont Hill, a professor of media studies and urban education at Temple University, responded to the tweet with some advice for Watkins regarding his uneducated statement.

“This misreading and misunderstanding of the ‘mammy’ reflects a profound lack of knowledge of feminist theory and research. Or just basic Black history. Or actual reading. I’m not throwing shots here, fam. I just wish you read things before you offered thoughts,” Hill wrote.

Watkins responded to Hill, again bringing up Lizzo’s weight.

Hopefully, Watkins will take Lizzo’s advice and “keep my name out ya mouth” so this will be his last tweet about the singer.

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Esther Bell

Esther Bell

Esther Bell is a writer for the Daily Dot. She recently graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism, and her work has appeared in Bustle and Teen Vogue.