This past weekend, Lizzo performed at the Global Citizen Live in New York City's Central Park and gave the audience an epic lesson on the history of the park they stood on.
Lizzo has been known to make statements on important issues like the origins of the body positive movement and being honest about her mental health journey. She even packed hampers for wildfire relief in Australia last year.
Now, she's speaking to her audiences on the racist history of Central Park:
"I have to shout out that the land we're standing on is Seneca Village."
"Before it was Central Park, it was Seneca Village — and if you don't know what it is, that was an affluent African American community that lived here."
The crowd was taking it all in as she continued:
"And they were evicted and bulldozed so [the city] could build this park."
In 1825, Andrew Williams, a 25-year-old African-American shoeshiner, was the first to buy three lots from John and Elizabeth Whitehead for $125. By 1855, Seneca Village held an estimated 225 residents.
The community was mostly African American with some Irish immigrants and German Americans.
The homes in Seneca Village became a respite from the overcrowded and unhealthy conditions of New York City.
In addition to spacious living conditions, the village residents had gained the right to vote, had steady employment as laborers, and many children attended school. Compared to other cities of former enslaved people, Seneca Village seemed to be the most prosperous in the country.
Tragically, the city of New York took control of Seneca Village and surrounding land through eminent domain as part of a project to counter unhealthful urban conditions and provide space for recreation by creating a park. By bulldozing the already healthy and thriving community, the city displaced 1,600 inhabitants.
Where they went was not documented.
Only since 2001, 140 years later, has a marker been placed dedicated to the historical sight.
Lizzo's speech didn't end there:
"As we talk about climate change and making the world a better place and solving homelessness, we also have to talk about the institutionalized racism that happens in this country all the time."
"And if we don't talk about our history constructively, how can we build a better future?"
Lizzo also thanked her supporters for giving her the chance to make a difference:
"Now, I'm a rich bitch—that's exciting; that's never happened."
"I'll be like, 'What kind of rich bitch do I want to be?'"
"And I decided I want to be a philanthropist. I want to give back."
"Why would God give me so much if I can't give it back?"
"So thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to give back."
Her statements have only made her fans love her more.
Lizzo finished her incredible speech with:
"It's time to talk about things, and it's time to make a change. And it starts within."
"You got to [be] better to yourself so you can be better to others."
May this be an inspiration for you to make a change.