Watching Lizzo own the stage and studio at 30 Rock on Saturday (April 16) night as she hosted Saturday Night Live and served as the evening’s musical guest, it’s hard to believe the singer-rapper-songwriter-flautist ever has a moment of self-doubt. She was confident and comfortable in the sketches, whether time-traveling to 2008 to advise the Black Eyes Peas on future smashes or inciting an orchestral twerkfest to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9; and when she hit the stage for the two musical numbers, she was pure fire.
But even those who seem like they’re on top of the world can still have their moments of self-doubt and depression, and for her second song on SNL, Lizzo debuted “Special,” the title track to her upcoming album which speaks to just that. After an all-smiles intro from her mom, Lizzo – wearing an amazing electric pink dress with oversized sleeves and a long train – delved into the highly personal self-love anthem. (While she’s teased it on TikTok before, this was the full-length song’s debut.)
“Woke up this morning to somebody in a video talking about something I posted in a video,” she sang-rap over the soulful, lush instrumentation. “If it wasn’t me would you even get offended or it is just because I’m Black and heavy?”
As the music ramped up to the chorus, Lizzo kicked up her vocal energy too, belting out the lyrics that clearly come from personal experience: “Famous, pretty, new but I’ve been used to people judging me / that’s why I move the way I move and why I’m so in love with me / I’m used to feeling alone / so I thought that I’d let you know / In case nobody told you today, you’re special / in case nobody made you believe, you’re special,” she sang. “I’m so glad that you’re still with us / broken but damn you’re still perfect.”
Earlier in the SNL broadcast, Lizzo (following a cheeky introduction from herself) was oozing self-assurance with the irrepressible funk of “About Damn Time” (where her flute made a lit appearance), so showing vulnerability on “Special” was a good reminder that even those who seem to have it all figured out can still have low points and need some love and reassurance from others. And if you can’t do that, then at the very least, don’t be an a–hole to people in person or online – or as Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”