The Truth Hurts singer told the crowd, “If we don’t talk about our history constructively, how can we build a better future?”
Lizzo is right: sometimes, the truth hurts. History shouldn’t always get the American Girl-doll treatment. We as a society need to take a good look at the wrongs committed before our time – and teach our children better. And over the weekend, as Lizzo performed at Global Citizen Live in NYC’s Central Park, she took the opportunity to educate the crowd.
“I have to shout out that the land we’re standing on is Seneca Village,” the singer/flutist told the crowd. “Before it was Central Park it was Seneca Village — and if you don’t know what that is, it was an affluent African-American community that lived here.”
“And they were evicted and bulldozed, so [the city] could build this park.”
A fan tweeted their appreciation of Lizzo’s remarks. “Big Ups to Lizzo for letting in the whole world know that the concert wasn’t just in Central Park but that black people used to live there,” the tweet reads. “Seneca Village.”
Hundreds were displaced and forced to relocate when city officials razed the prosperous community in 1850 to build Central Park.
In an aim to educate the public, The Seneca Village Project was formed in 1998 to educate people about the 19th-century community. Then in 2001, the city installed a historical plaque to commemorate the site.
Lizzo (literally) using her platform to uplift and amplify scarcely told stories.
“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,” she continued.
“Now I’m a rich bitch, that’s exciting, that’s never happened,” Lizzo continued. “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.”
“And if we don’t talk about our history constructively, how can we build a better future?” she added.
“It’s time to talk about things, and it’s time to make a change. And it starts within. You got to better to yourself, so you can be better to others.”
Following her performance, Lizzo tweeted about her statement. “PERFORMING LITERALLY ON THE SAME LAND THAT WAS CALLED SENECA VILLAGE— A BLACK COMMUNITY DEMOLISHED TO MAKE CENTRAL PARK… ITS TIME TO TALK ABOUT IT.”