Lizzo Reveals Why Miley Cyrus Thanked Her for Twerking History TED Talk: 'Meant a Lot to Me'

When the Grammy winner hosted a TedTalk last year, she said she wanted "to prevent the erasure of Blackness from twerking" and talked about Cyrus' 2013 VMA performance

After Lizzo's TED Talk on the history of twerking went viral last fall, the singer-songwriter heard from someone mentioned in the conversation: Miley Cyrus.

As Lizzo described how twerking's roots in Black culture are often forgotten, she noted how the dance move went wide when Cyrus did it at the 2013 VMAs, saying that twerking "was misunderstood and taken out of context," and that Black people were "erased" from its history.

Speaking to PEOPLE for the cover of the Women Changing the World issue, Lizzo says she's since run into Cyrus, who referenced the discussion as the women caught up.

For more on PEOPLE's cover story with Lizzo, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day.

"I mention Miley Cyrus in my TED Talk. And I'm very delicate with how I mention her because, at the end of the day, I didn't want to have any bias in the way I talked about how she brought twerking to mainstream," she explains. "The messenger is kind of how this thing spread like it did — seeing her at the VMAs. And I saw her recently and she was like, 'I watched your TED Talk and I really loved it. Thank you for that.'"

Watch Women Changing the World: Lizzo on or on the PeopleTV app.

Lizzo Rollout
Lizzo. Robin Harper

Since hitting the mainstream herself in recent years, Lizzo credits her family for their preparation. "I grew up in a family that was very proud of our Blackness," she tells PEOPLE. "They taught me at a very young age how America treats Black people. How it treats Black women. And I saw very quickly how we treat fat people."

Lizzo explained more about her point of view during her TED Talk. "If you follow me on social media before you've probably seen my heinie before," she joked at the start of the talk, which was recorded at TEDMonterey. "I used to hate my ass, believe it or not. I have my father's shape and my mother's thighs, so it's big, and long. I used to think that only asses like J.Lo's or Beyoncé's could be famous. I never thought that could happen to me."

Lizzo Rollout
Lizzo covers PEOPLE. Robin Harper

She said she's since learned to love her body through dance — as soon to be seen on her show, Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, which will premiere on Amazon Prime later this month.

"I grew up in an era where having a big ass wasn't mainstream," Lizzo said. "How did this happen? Twerking. Through the movement of twerking, I realized that my ass is my greatest asset. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my TED Twerk."

Lizzo went on to provided historical context to twerking, emphasizing that Black history should not be erased.

"Everything that Black people create, from fashion to music to the way we talk, is co-opted and appropriated by pop culture," she said at the time. "I want to prevent the erasure of Blackness from twerking."

Lizzo Rollout
Lizzo. Robin Harper

Make no mistake, Lizzo twerks when she wants to.

"What was starting to bother me is every time I say, 'Twerk,' people start giggling," she tells PEOPLE. "I'm like, 'Yes, it is a fun thing.' But I didn't like the way some people giggled. And I didn't like the way some people — you know, a lot of white dudes behind cameras being like, 'OK, now twerk for me. Twerk.' And I'm like, 'No.' A lot of times, I have to go, 'You don't tell me to twerk. I'll twerk if I want to.' Because I'm like, 'That's not for you.'"

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