Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrls is a fantastic expression of resilience, compassion, power, beauty, joy, and 21st-century “moxie” that should not be missed. I. Loved. This. Show. Peridot!
I’m not a fan of reality TV. I especially loathe competitive job interview shows. Although it’s fertile ground for drama, exposing a contrived version of the audition process to the general public without providing compensation to the onscreen talent has always felt deplorable to me.
In many reality/job interview shows, the compensation for the contestants isn’t fair. I don’t care if the contestants can become “famous” later. It doesn’t seem right that corporations milk so much money off these shows without providing better contracts to the people on screen. So, when an audition/job interview reality show can touch my heart, make me cry, and hope everybody wins – you know that show is fire. Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls is that show.
Watch Out for the Big Grrrls documents Lizzo’s final audition process finding backup dancers as she prepares to tour. After seeing Lizzo and her team perform on awards shows, it’s hard to believe that she only had six backup dancers. That choreography is no joke. It’s heartening to see Lizzo care for her employees and herself before the tour begins by hiring more dancers. This provides coverage so that her current dancers can have a liveable work-life balance.
The most compelling aspect of Watch Out for the Big Grrrls was Lizzo practices what she preaches. The ethics and values that Lizzo infuses into her music, body positivity, inclusivity, embodiment, empowerment, lived authentically on this show. The life of a dancer is difficult. It takes technical ability to learn and execute choreography quickly, emotional intelligence to be valuable members of the team, and grit and determination to perform night after night over and over again perfectly.
In the seven episodes, I saw Lizzo breaks the competitive reality show mold by approaching the young women’s audition with love, compassion, and respect. The intention is to nurture their talent, not pit contestants against one another and flood the screen with toxic negative drama like most reality shows tend to do.
Dancers of all sizes face possible injury. Watch Out for the Big Grrrls doesn’t shy away from showing the toll that dance takes on the body and the hard choices these dancers make as they pursue their dream. I was so impressed to see the integrity of every member of Lizzo’s team when it came to preserving the health, safety, and welfare of the dancers.
Traditionally, the professional dance world is full of ego-based toxic behavior, eating disorders, body shaming, negative competition, and psychological abuse. There is none of that in the community that Lizzo has created. Lizzo’s world is filled with body positivity, empathy, and compassion. I particularly loved a later episode where the ladies experience a conscious dance embodiment class where the dancers experience their bodies for themselves, not for performance, to get out of their heads and into their bodies.
I’ve been a conscious dance facilitator since 2007 and rarely does this healing form of dance get representation in the dance world. Kudos to Lizzo and her team for elevating conscious dance as a valuable tool for practicing authentic self-love. My heart filled with joy as I witnessed the ladies on their personal journeys deepen their love for their bodies as is.
Dancers Sydney Bell, Charity Holloway, Arianna Davis, Ashley Williams, Jayla Sullivan, Asia Banks, Kiara Mooring, Moesha Perez, and Isabel Jones were all such joyous beings to watch. The camaraderie, empathy, and care they took for one another reminded me of the dance and theater communities I was blessed to be a part of for many years when I lived in New York City. The series isn’t just some love fest.
That choreography was off the chain! The challenges were tough. Some drama makes the show very entertaining in that reality show way, but it’s not negative. The culture that Lizzo has created is in full alignment with her music, and Lizzo and her team require proficiency, excellence, and professionalism. The first three episodes of Watch Out for the Big Grrrls give the audience an authentic look at what the audition process is for a healthy dance community.
Dance ensembles require the ability for the dancers to connect energetically and have the body intelligence to move as a collective. Director Nneka Onuorah’s keen sense of storytelling made space for the ladies’ growth to shine through the seven episodes I binge-watched.
I was rooting for everyone to win, rewinding the screener, and dancing along in my living room. At certain points, these ladies’ stories brought me to tears. Nneka Onuorah’s cinematic eye made Watch Out for the Big Grrrls aesthetically beautiful. Watching this show made my heart happy. The entire technical team from makeup and hair to costume, lighting, and set design killed it with this show.
Charity, Jayla, and Moesha’s stories touched my heart most in the series. It was wonderful witnessing not only their growth as dancers, but their deep wisdom and the care, joy, and authentic humor they brought to the series. They all made me so happy every time they came on screen I wanted to just hug them.
It’s my deepest hope that Lizzo’s Watch out for the Big Grrrls will inspire women and girls of all shapes, sizes, and colors to reject our culture’s fatphobia and embrace loving themselves unconditionally and dancing like bad b*tches whenever they damn well, please. Thank you, Lizzo, and all your Big Grrrls for bringing the joy and the juice!!
Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls premieres on Prime Video on March 25, 2022.
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Jeanine is a Writer, Actor, member SAG/AFTRA, AEA, Podcast host, Producer, CEO VisAbleBlackWoman Productions, Certified Health Coach and Conscious Dance facilitator. Jeanine's mission, centering Black women's stories to preserve our legacies.