Last week I watched part of the People's Choice Awards and caught Lizzo's acceptance of the "People's Champion Award." If you're like me, you don't really know what that means. I tried to find a definition of what a People's Choice People's Champion Award is and couldn't. Even so, I took it to mean someone who advocates for causes and the plight of others. Also, in case you don't know who Lizzo is, she's a three-time Grammy-winning singer who is best known "for songs like 'Juice', 'Boys', and 'Good As Hell'. The talented singer and rapper often incorporates themes of confidence and self-love into her music. Lizzo is also a talented flautist, having studied the instrument from a young age."
Truth be told, I am not in the know when it comes to pop culture. There were several categories where I didn't recognize any of the nominated artists or songs they sang. I might have watched one or two of the movies and TV shows. I'm getting old I guess. Either way, I was positively glued to the screen when Lizzo gave her acceptance speech, which started,
Imma be honest, when I first heard about this award, I was on the fence about whether I should accept. Because, if I’m the people’s champ, I don’t need a trophy for championing people. You know what I’m saying?
Rather than speaking about her own work, Lizzo invited 17 activists to the stage and highlighted each of them individually by name and by cause. It was amazing and inspiring! All 17 of the people who Lizzo honored were women of color, women of courage, and women fighting for inclusion, justice, and/or human rights. It was a celebration of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in action. It was confirmation that Lizzo is indeed a champion of people.
Regardless of if you agree with the causes that these 17 activists represented, what I want to draw your attention to is the concept of being a CHAMPION of others. Lizzo could have gone to the podium and accepted her award. She could have said her thank yous to her family, her team, her friends, and even God. She could have used that time to spotlight her work and herself. Instead, she used it as a chance to shine a light on others. Doing so, by the way, did not cause less light for Lizzo--it caused MORE LIGHT. That's the think about light...
The more you shine yours on others, the more light there is for everyone. With that, I encourage you to use your platform to champion the work of others who are doing great things but who do not yet have the same access, connections, or opportunities you have had.
P.S. For my Catch of the Week, I'm including the list of 17 activists that Lizzo shared her light with. I hope you check them out, follow them, and/or find a list of activists that you will share your light with.
Amariyanna Copeny, also known as Little Miss Flint: A 15-year-old “who spent the past eight years fighting to ensure everyone in Flint [Mich.,] and in communities across the nation has access to safe drinking water.”
Shirley Raines: “Through her organization Beauty 2 the Streetz she makes the human connection with the unhoused people of Los Angeles and makes them feel loved and love what they see in the mirror.”
Yasmine Aker: An actor who’s also “an Iranian American grassroots activist. She is a voice for the voiceless and works with various organization supporting the Iranian women and the people’s fight for freedom.”
Emiliana Guereca: “If you’ve been to a Women’s March, she’s probably behind it. As the founder of the Women’s March Foundation, she helps amplify our voices.”
Esther Young Lim: “She’s the author of the booklet ‘How to Report a Hate Crime’ and seeks to eradicate barriers and empower the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.”
Felicia “Fe” Montes: The poet is “a Chicana Indigenous artist and activist, co-founder of the groundbreaking women’s collective Mujeres de Maiz. She has created a safe platform for Indigenous women of color to express themselves.”
Jayla Rose Sullivan: “A professionally trained dancer who is making sure there is space for transgender and nonbinary performers in the dance community. Watch out for that big girl!” (Sullivan is a burlesque dancer who competed in the musician’s Emmy-winning reality competition series, “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.”)
Kara Roselle Smith: Smith is a member of the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag Tribe. “She works tirelessly to seek justice for Black and Indigenous communities and is fighting for Land Back and reparations.”
Maggie Mireles: “Her sister Eva Mireles was a teacher and a hero who lost her life protecting her students during the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Maggie is continuing her fight against senseless and despicable gun violence that has become far too common,” Lizzo said through tears and with her voice cracking. “Make some noise.”
Amelia Bonow: The co-founder of Shout Your Abortion, which “is working to normalize abortion, increase awareness of abortion pills and motivate people to work and support abortion access in their communities.”
Odilia Romero: “An advocate and translator for the Indigenous peoples from Mexico and Central America who are now living in the United States. Her woman-led organization CIELO brings daily relief to her community in Los Angeles.”
Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh: The director of student life at UCLA and VP of Jewish engagement at American Jewish University is “committed to building a bridge between Jewish people of all colors and backgrounds and, as an Iranian American, she is fighting to amplify the plight of the Iranian people.”
Sahar Pirzada: The Heart to Grow activist is “working on behalf of Muslim women in America to advance reproductive justice and protect the community from gendered violence and oppressive systems.”
Chandi Moore: The HIV and trans rights activist is also a community health educator at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who gives “trans and gender-nonconforming youth the tools they need to live their lives as their authentic selves.”
Crystal Echo Hawk: Hawk is a member of the Pawnee nation of Oklahoma who “seeks to amplify Native voices through her organization IllumiNative. She disrupts the invisibility of Native peoples here in America.”
Reshma Saujani: The author and CEO of Girls Who Code is also “advocating for the moms. As a founder of the Marshall Plan for Moms, she fights for paid family leave, affordable childcare and equal pay for all.”
Tamika Palmer: “She fights in honor of the memory of her daughter, Breonna Taylor — Say her name! — who was killed in an act of police violence. The Breonna Taylor Foundation has and will continue to focus on pursuing justice for Breonna.”
P.P.S. Please remember to...
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