Lizzo’s SNL Set Pulled Straight From Annie Lee’s Famous Painting

Lizzo on SNL 12/17/2022.

On December 17, 2022, Lizzo appeared as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live for the second time this year (and never). In her first appearance, she was the host and musical guest, but this time it was all about musical performance. But it’s not because it was 50% less work that she did anything. Indeed, with the help of SNL set designers, costume designers and makeup artists, Lizzo has recreated one of the most recognizable paintings by a black artist in the past 50 years: Annie Lee’s “Blue Monday.”

There are few detail changes in makeup, jewelry and hairstyle, as well as the calendar showing December (the month of the performance) instead of June, but Lizzo’s performance of “Break Up Twice” and ” Someday at Christmas” by Stevie Wonder is a clear homage to Lee’s work. Inspired by the decade-plus she spent waking up at 5 a.m. to work in the railroad industry, “Blue Monday” is one of Lee’s only self-portraits. In this and many of his other works, Lee kept the subjects’ faces blank, making it easier for people to see themselves in these figures. In a 1997 Chicago Grandstand profile, Lee said, “I think my paintings connect me to women. I know how I feel is how many women feel.

Annie Lee
(Annie F. Lee Art Foundation)

In the 90s, Lee’s works appeared on TV shows like Emergency room, A different world, The A, and more. The painting may have been created in the mid-1980s, but even beyond its passing in 2014, “Blue Monday” has continued to help people express their fatigue through memes. Whether in response to relationships, the news, or a new year, Millennials and older Zoomers have used Lee’s images in replies and status updates to convey a sense of being. mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted.

Beyond “Blue Monday”, Lee has created several other famous paintings (such as My cup overflows) and continued to work with themes of black women’s experiences in other media as well. In addition to her artistic talent, Lee was known for her humanitarian work and for raising funds to help young artists attending HBCUs. While Lizzo is often seen in a glamorous light, she’s also very open and unapologetic about her struggles and insecurities. As an artist, this vulnerability (reflected in the choice to perform “Break Up Twice”) makes Lizzo more than worthy of being in conversation with Lee’s paintings and legacy.

Watch Lizzo’s full performance here:

(featured image: NBC)

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