Exclusive: See Lizzo's New Music Video For "Scuse Me"

Photo: Jabari Jacobs/Courtesy of Warner Music Group.
On the day that Donald Trump was sworn into office, Lizzo was having her own inauguration of sorts. The 28-year-old singer-songwriter kicked off the next leg of her Coconut Oil tour with a show at the Echoplex in L.A. last Friday. She played songs off of her major label debut Coconut Oil, which dropped in October: a funky celebration of unconditional self-love. And judging by the crowd's reaction, feel-good tracks like "Good As Hell," her 2016 breakout single, were just what people needed to hear.

"All the people who said that they felt better after the show, that’s the reason why we do it," Lizzo (real name, Melissa Jefferson) tells me during our sit down in R29's New York office, two days after the Women's March. "Everybody plays their part."

Lizzo's part is to write and sing songs about what she's living (in a style often described as alt hip-hop but infused with rap, R&B, and pop as well). And right now, she truly is all about that self-care. "I'm not like, ‘Man, this is a buzzword so let’s go,'" she explains. "I feel like I, and lots of women at this time in their lives, are discovering how to be like the best them and how to love themselves. And I don’t date so I don’t write about dating."

Her new single, "Scuse Me," is definitely not about dating. "I don't need a crown to know that I'm a queen," she croons. Chorus: "I don't see nobody else / 'Scuse me while I feel myself."

The music video, premiering here today, takes place partly in a church — and, as Lizzo puts it, depicts the two vital kinds of worship we practice. "I think that there’s a lot of worship that goes into when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror," she says. The rest of the video — directed by Quinn Wilson and Asha Maura — is set in a sort of paradise featuring Lizzo and a tribe of "curvy goddesses," as she describes them, like inspiration-cum-friend GabiFresh, the body-positive designer and blogger.

"It’s a little cheeky. It’s really freeing and it’s really fun," Lizzo says of the video. "Don’t overthink it when you watch it! Just enjoy it, you know what I mean?"

We think so. Below, enjoy the premiere of "Scuse Me," followed by a Q&A from our chat, where we touch on everything from protest music and the Black roots of feminism to the limits of Taylor Swift's guy-crazy hits.
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Making people feel better with your music: do you feel like that’s going to be a role you assume more over the next four years now that people need music more?
"I feel like people always needed music...I always think about the Russian romance period where they were dealing with Communism, and there was Kalinnikov and Shostakovich, and all these really political composers who were making this anti-establishment music [that] people would seek as some kind of solace, or activism, or protest. So music’s always kind of done that.

Black people been using music as protest and therapy forever — it’s all we have. That’s why America has such an amazing musical culture, because Black people needed an outlet. So I don’t think that I’m anybody special for the next four years, I just think that I’m doing the same thing people been doing since we got here.”

I remember reading something interesting you said about your music not necessarily being overtly political, but just by being who you are and making your music that’s a political statement in itself.

"Yeah, I thought it was really weird people would find all these like political messages in my songs...I’ve kind of just been making feel good music. And I think that when I say certain things it has a whole different meaning then when someone else says something. So, if I have a song that says I’m in love with myself, people see that as a political statement. But you know if like, Taylor Swift had a song called 'I’m In Love With Myself,' they’d be like ‘Oh, cute, great pop song.’ It doesn’t have the same type of weight or it’s not as loaded. It’s like of course she loves herself, this is great. But with me it’s like ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe she’s saying that, she’s so brave!’"

Black people been using music as protest and therapy forever — it’s all we have.

Which says so much, the reactions.
"And I’m just saying the same thing everybody else feels about themselves sometimes. I think that it’s funny, that my existence is is like a political statement. Me existing in these certain levels in the industry is like ‘Wow, I can’t believe she’s doing that,’ and it's like, doing what? Just wearing a leotard [Laughs]."

What’s your take on feminism right now? Do you call yourself a feminist?

“Well, for a long time I felt excluded from feminism because it was a very white, female, educated thing. I felt like I didn’t read enough, you know? I didn’t know enough Gloria Steinem quotes and I just felt that I was left out. I think everyone started calling me a feminist, all of these like white, educated women, and I was like, ‘Oh, I guess, let me look into this'...I was like, I just don’t know if I am, I want to know, I want to treat it with respect.

So I’m learning and I’m reading up now and I’m getting educated, because that’s really our weapon. And I think that feminism could definitely be more inclusive and intersectional...Feminism was very uninviting for a long time, and then Beyoncé came and made it look really cool. I think that people need to remember where it came from. It came from abolitionists, and those were the women trying to free the slaves. Harriet Tubman is one of the first feminists and she’s a Black woman, you know what I’m saying? Sojourner Truth, you know? And people forget that all the time...

And then it’s like, and then we can drop that 'intersectional' and have it just be universal feminism? It’s like when you see a feminist, you just see Lena Dunham, you know? Or you think the word 'feminist' is Lena Dunham.”
Photo: Jabari Jacobs/Courtesy of Warner Music Group.

I feel like people are getting a little sick of Lena Dunham's brand of feminism.
“Well, you know, Lena Dunham personally has supported me for a while, which is cool. She put my song in Girls twice, she put me on her Woman Of The Hour podcast. She is like, she’s trying. She's trying! And that’s all I can give these girls. Like, if y’all are using your platform for other people who aren’t normally seen or heard, then at least you’re trying. Like, keep doing that, you know?”

Obviously you sing about self-love and self-care a lot, which I like because so many young women just aren't really dating. It's like we're relating less to the Taylor Swift hits where it's always about a guy.
"Yeah, like 'You Belong With Me.' I still jam 'You Belong With Me,' though. I really do like that song! But it’s funny...I don’t know one women in my generation right now that’s focused on, you know, tradition. Every woman I know is focused on building herself and making like her life the shit. And I think the relationships that everyone prioritizes are friendships and business relationships over dudes, 'cause they really do come and go.

So it’s a really interesting time to be a woman, because dudes have been doing this since the dawn of time, you know? They’re like, ‘Business is first and get the bitches, whatever.’ Like, ‘Give me a complacent wife, give me like a fifteen-year-old wife when I’m like forty-five.’ Just like, it’s our turn to do that. I’ll get me a fifteen-year-old boyfriend when I’m forty-five. [Laughs]

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