Lizzo Gives TED Talk On History Of Twerking & How The Dance Move Taught Her Self-Love: I Twerk Because Of My Ancestors

Lizzo Gives TED Talk On History Of Twerking & How The Dance Move Taught Her Self-Love: I Twerk Because Of My Ancestors

Lizzo is the latest celebrity/influencer to add ‘giving a Ted Talk’ to her resume. Lizzo, born Melissa Jefferson, recently gave a Ted Talk on how twerking has helped her find an appreciation for her curves and the history behind the well-known dance move. The 33-year-old singer/rapper said,

“I used to hate my a**, believe it or not. I have my father’s shape and my mother’s thighs, so it’s big, and long. I used to think that only a**es like J.Lo’s or Beyoncé’s could be famous. I never thought that could happen to me.”

She continued,

“I always felt like my body type wasn’t the right one, or the desirable one growing up. Because I grew up in an era where having a big a** wasn’t mainstream.”

Lizzo then shared how twerking helped change the negative perception she once had about her body into a positive outlook. She said,

“My a** has been the topic of conversations, my a** has been in magazines, Rihanna gave my a** a standing ovation. Yes, my booty! My least favorite part of my body. How did this happen? Twerking. Through the movement of twerking, I realized that my a** is my greatest asset. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my TED Twerk.”

The Grammy-Award-winning artist then touched on the history of twerking.

“Modern-day twerking derived from Black people and Black culture. It has a direct parallel to West African dances like Mapouka. Black people carried the origins of this dance through our DNA, through our blood, through our bones. We made twerking the global cultural phenomenon it became today.”

She continued,

“Everything that Black people create, from fashion to music to the way we talk, is co-opted and appropriated by pop culture.”

She added,

“For me, twerking ain’t a trend. My body ain’t a trend. I twerk because of my ancestors, for sexual liberation, for my b*tches, hey girls. Because I can. Because I know I look good. I twerk because it’s unique to the Black experience, it’s unique to my culture, and it means something real to me.”

“I twerk because I’m talented. Because I’m sexual, but not to be sexualized. I twerk to own my power, to reclaim my Blackness, my culture. I twerk for fat, Black women because being fat and Black is a beautiful thing.”


Before Lizzo helped the audience twerk to her song ‘Tempo,’ she reminded them that black women are the creators of twerking.

“Black women invented twerking and twerking is part of the revolution. We been doing it, we going to keep doing it, because we have and always will be the blueprint.”


What are your thoughts on Lizzo’s Ted Talk? Tell us in the comments below! 

Authored by: Twila-Amoure McDaniel