In the closing weeks of a year that saw her land a record-setting number one single with “Truth Hurts” and lead the Grammy nominations, Lizzo has earned yet another well-earned honor: Time magazine has named her Entertainer of the Year for 2019.
“With the Internet a scary toilet, measles somehow making a comeback, and everyone just meme-ing themselves through it because no one can afford to go to therapy,” wrote Samantha Irby for Time, “Lizzo was a beam of light shining through doom and gloom, telling us to love ourselves even if the world doesn’t always love us back. We needed her.” Irby notes Lizzo’s long road to stardom, which significantly passed through Minnesota in the first half of the 2010s.
For Irby, the tribute is not just institutional but personal. “In 1989,” she writes, “when I was young and outcast and looking for even a shred of representation to make me feel less weird and alone, my options for fat-black-lady role models were Nell Carter, Marsha Warfield, and Shirley Hemphill from What’s Happening!! Imagine the kind of adults who are going to grow out of kids with access to Lizzo.”
In addition to honoring Lizzo, Time named their Person of the Year: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who at 16 became the magazine’s youngest-ever person to be so honored.