Ari Lennox Is Hurt Over Being ‘Snubbed’ By The Soul Train Awards And Fans Are Taking It Out On Lizzo

The debate about the proper genre of Lizzo’s major-label debut album, Cuz I Love You, had dulled to a subliminal buzz, but returned to a full-throated roar in the wake of the recent Soul Train Awards and Ari Lennox‘s reaction to Lizzo’s Album of the Year win Sunday evening. Earlier this morning, the Dreamville singer expressed her “frustration” over what she perceived as a snub by the award show on Twitter and just like that, all hell broke loose, with observers debating whether she was “entitled” to feel this way and whether Lizzo classified as a “soul” artist in the first place.

Ari was nominated for three categories: Best R&B/Soul Female Artist, Album/Mixtape of the Year, and Best Collaboration Performance for “Shea Butter Baby” with J. Cole. H.E.R., Lizzo, and Chris Brown/Drake won those respective awards. “It’s not just an award,” Ari wrote. ” It wasn’t any award show. It was the soul train awards. As you can see I’m big fan of soul music and huge fan of soul trains history. Being snubbed was something I always expected and was definitely prepared for just not by them.Everytime I wrap my mind around it I just can’t accept it. It feels like a break up. I made a soulful album. I never ran from who I am. I just expected that one platform to understand that.”

She later tweeted in response to the suggestion she record a Christmas album, “Naw I quit,” following up with, “I’m not selling out. So I quit… It’s clear I’m not “cool” enough. Not trendy enough and I don’t care to be. I don’t strive for that. I’m not going to chase this shit ever again. No more fake shit on my part.”

Her reaction sparked a wave of responses from both supporters and detractors, one of whom said, “Ari Lennox is being entitled,” explaining, “you felt you earned an award & it went to someone else… Look at how many artists who been in the game 20+ years & never received certain awards.” Others, who presumably didn’t watch the show when it aired, expressed surprise, disappointment, or resentment that Lizzo won the award over Lennox.

“At first I didn’t understand why Ari Lennox was so upset about not winning the Soul Train award,” wrote one commenter. “But now I just found out that she lost to Lizzo and I completely understand LMAOOO. I would be mad too.” Another was also upset about Lizzo’s win, saying, “Lizzo didn’t deserve that award. Facts only. She makes pop music for white girls who have live laugh love tattooed on them. Ari Lennox made a black ass SOUL album and got snubbed. I’m tight.”

However, Lizzo does have her defenders. One measured observation expressed empathy for Ari, but finger-wagged some of the harsher commenters, writing, “I love Ari Lennox’s album and I understand why she is mad that she didn’t win. I thought she was gonna win too, but I wasn’t surprised when Lizzo won. I just don’t like that people are now saying that Lizzo’s music isn’t Black enough. Stop placing Black female artists in boxes.”

For her part, Lennox says her intention “was to never shade other nominees. I’m hurt and I don’t expect soulless haters to understand that,” but that hasn’t stopped plenty of music fans from weighing in. Lizzo previously caught flak online for comparing her newly-melodic rap style to Future and Swae Lee, wondering how they could be considered hip-hop but she couldn’t. As far as that goes, it’s simple: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Success breeds contempt from folks who don’t see the work put in to attain it — in Lizzo’s case, two studio albums, two EPs, and 22 singles. For some, she simply appeared on the scene with a No. 1 hit, and for those folks, that’s all they’ll ever need to hate her, even if it doesn’t help other artists like Ari Lennox, whose Shea Butter Baby at least deserves some genuine support, not salty comparisons after the fact.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect Lizzo’s win for Album of the Year and the three other categories for which Ari Lennox was nominated.

Lizzo is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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