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Discussions with Damaris

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  • Damaris Chanza

Lizzo's Watch Out For The Big Grrrls Has The Juice Reality TV Shows Are Missing

Updated: May 27, 2022

In high school, I was a part of the music club that held an annual showcase. I performed as a singer, and one of my best friends performed as a dancer. As she developed and practiced her choreography, I would dance with her for fun. When she was searching for other dancers for a group performance, there were not many people interested at first. When time was running out, she wanted to consider me as one of her dancers. Then, out of her heart's kindness, our music teacher told me that I looked like a flailing chicken when dancing this style. We laughed, and eventually, my friend found the dancers she needed.

Along with short stints as a belly dancer and an Ecuadorian folk dancer, my knowledge of dance is very limited. So when I watched, Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, I watched it for entertainment purposes. As an avid television fan, I wanted to see what a TV show created by Lizzo would resemble.

I was under the pretense that it was a reality dance competition, and to some extent, I was right. I was ready for the "I'm not here to make friends" trope, judges who make odd statements, and drama between contestants. All my expectations were met but not in the ways I anticipated.

Lizzo's warm and eccentric personality seeped through the screen immediately, unlike most hosts who perform rigidly and are over scripted so well they're devoid of personality. The contestants were just as unscripted and outside what you might expect for a dance show. All the dancers were full-figured women of color.

The style of competition is different as well. Each dancer was competing for a spot in Lizzo's dance crew, affectionately referred to as the titular Big Grrrls. However, eliminations weren't necessary because there were enough spots for every contestant as long as each dancer had the ability, stamina, and drive to "win." This structure eliminated the need for drama between contestants; instead, it garnered camaraderie.

The most revolutionary aspect of the show is the overall aura of kindness, acceptance, body positivity, inclusivity, and lack of judgment. Judges were nonexistent, only Lizzo's investment in her contestants' physical and mental betterment. Lizzo wanted great dancers that looked like her in shape, and the contestants were already good; all Lizzo had to do was help each contestant prove to themselves that they were great or, in Lizzo'a words, "100% THAT BITCH."

The show dealt with issues of self-love more than dance skills. Each dancer went through an inspirational self-love journey that could bring you to tears. I could relate to each story somehow, whether it be coming to terms with your skin color or feeling confined by your culture.

For how spectacular this show is, it has not received nearly the amount of acclaim it should, receiving critiques for promoting unhealthy lifestyles. All the beautiful women on the show are working out, dancing, practicing, and working all the time, only stopping to rest so they can get back to it. They're even seen eating vegan food with a whole episode's joke centering around fake chicken. Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes, regardless of health and it doesn't necessarily limit one's capabilities so such critiques are rooted in hate. Such hate goes against everything the show strives for in teaching us to love and accept ourselves and others.

A competition to help Lizzo obtain backup dancers may have been the show's original premise, but it resulted in so much more. It wasn't just a commercialized introduction to dance; it was a springboard for the message of self-love, acceptance, and inclusivity that Lizzo promotes.

Smother your mind and soul in positivity by streaming Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls on Amazon Prime Video.

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