Lizzo Received An Actual Humanitarian Award — Despite Pretty Rough Allegations Against Her

While the allegations don't necessarily cancel out the good Lizzo's done, the good she's done also doesn't negate the allegations.

Lizzo Accepting humanitarian award Kathy Hutchins | Shutterstock, Hailshadow, Biod | Canva

On Thursday, September 21, 2023, Lizzo attended the third annual gala for the Black Music Action Coalition, which recognizes various people and organizations creating positive change and working to improve equity in the community.

Lizzo was given a special honor, receiving the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award. Hours earlier, the performer had been named in a second lawsuit, filed by her former stylist, alleging that she created a hostile work environment. 


Did Lizzo deserve to win a humanitarian award, in light of the allegations coming out against her?

The 4-time Grammy Award winner took the stage at the Los Angeles event, introduced by some of her Big Grrrl dancers. She appeared to be teary-eyed, telling the audience, “I really needed this right now.”

Lizzo’s impact on the music world and the world at large has been powerful. Her outward messaging hinges on radical self-love, body acceptance, and embracing joy, which is why the lawsuit that was filed against her by a group of her former dancers felt like it hit so hard.

How could a person who seemed so positive, so inherently loving, create the kind of hostile work environment her three former dances claim she did? 


RELATED: Lizzo's Harassment Allegations Show How 'Hurt People Hurt People' — And There's No Excuse

The second, most recent lawsuit built upon the first one, as Lizzo’s former stylist accused the singer and supervisors at Big Grrrl Touring of both racial and sexual harassment, disability discrimination, retaliation and assault, representing a huge departure from the kind of person Lizzo publicly presents herself to be.

Upon accepting the humanitarian award, Lizzo stated, “Humanitarianism in its nature is thankless, it’s selfless. To be kind to someone isn’t a talent; everyone can do it, it’s a gift that you give.” She acknowledged the many humanitarian groups that don’t have wide-scale attention focused on them, including various Black-led organizations that she donated $250,000 to this year. 

“I’ve dedicated my life, and I’ve decided to share my platform, to shine a light on those people because I so badly want to live in a world where we award goodness with our attention,” she said.


The dictionary definition of “humanitarian” is “a person devoted to promoting the welfare of humanity through the elimination of pain and suffering; a person who is actively engaged in promoting human welfare and social reforms.”

While Lizzo isn’t finding solutions to end hunger or war or any refugee crisis across the world, she is doing a remarkably valuable thing. She’s taking up space as a fat, Black woman.

She’s preaching that everyone on this Earth is valued and valid and deserving of love, acceptance, and kindness. She’s pushing up against America’s rigid ideas of normative beauty and, for that, she should rightfully be applauded. 


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Yet, it remains unclear if Lizzo is the right person to celebrate as a humanitarian, especially considering her current legal troubles.

During her acceptance speech, Lizzo exclaimed, “It’s easy to do the right thing when everybody’s watching you, and it’s what you do in those moments where nobody’s watching that defines who you are, and I’m going to continue to be who I am, no matter who’s watching.”

Celebrities have a unique amount of power and influence when it comes to promoting social justice causes. It’s part of the role they play in our society. We’ve come to expect that famous, wealthy people give back to the community in some form, whether with their time, their money, or the stance they take on political issues. 

Lizzo has been at the helm of a movement for self-acceptance and community care, which appears at distinct odds with the allegations leveled against her. And while the allegations don’t necessarily cancel out the good Lizzo's done, the good she’s done also doesn’t negate the allegations. 


Part of being a person in a complicated and inequitable society is reckoning with an essential truth: We all contain layers, both good and bad. We all have the capacity to cause harm.

We have all caused harm, whether intentional or not. It’s what we do after we fail that shows the kind of person we really are. Do we stay quiet? Do we get defensive? Or do we take accountability and try to make actionable changes in how we interact with the world? 

Lizzo ended her speech by proclaiming, “I’m going to continue to amplify the voices of marginalized people because I have a microphone and I know how to use it. And I’m going to continue to put on and represent and create safe spaces for Black, fat women... It is my purpose and it is an honor.”


Lizzo is right. The mic is firmly in her hands. It’s what she says from here on out that matters most. 

RELATED: Lawyer Is Questioning The Lizzo Allegations After Actually Reading The Lawsuit — 'I Feel Bad For Lizzo'

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.