Honey Beez Alumna in ‘Big Grrrls’ TV Competition to Tour With Singer Lizzo
Photo courtesy of Entertainment Weekly
By Hazel Scott/ASU
Alabama State University Honey Beez alumna Asia Banks’ dancing talent can now be seen by millions on the small screen.
Banks is appearing on superstar Lizzo’s new reality competition show “Watch Out For The Big Grrrls” on Amazon. The show, which premiered on March 25, will run for eight episodes. Banks is competing against 10 other full-figured dancers for the honor of joining the ranks of the pop star’s backup dance team, Big Grrrls, for her upcoming world tour.
“This is one of my greatest moments,” Banks said. “It’s so surreal. I never thought I would dance outside of college. Being in rehearsals, I remind myself I made it! Getting through the audition phase was well worth it. I’m highly blessed.”
Banks had to record a four-minute video telling about herself and why she thinks she “deserves to be in Lizzo’s World.” She also had to submit a headshot and full-length photo “showing her own personal style,” plus a résumé or “comp card.”
The show, she noted, follows not just what dancers have to go through, but plus-size dancers as well. “The show is really groundbreaking.”
Banks is confident she’ll earn a spot and join the singer-songwriter on her global tour. “My Honey Beez experience prepared me to do my best and helped shape my confidence to make this professional step.”
Banks said she has a connection with the four-time Grammy winner. “We are both full-figured and like Lizzo, who has been a champion for body acceptance throughout her career, the Honey Beez, ASU’s plus-size dance team, also has been a champion of body positivity. Both of us also lost our fathers.”
Banks noted that the “Juice” singer has regularly showcased full-figured dancers in her performances and music videos.
Helping Lizzo, who is the show’s executive producer, on her search are legendary choreographer Tanish Scott and original Big Grrrls members Chawnta’ Marie Van, Shirlene Quigley, and Grace Holden. Special guests include "Love Galore" singer SZA, choreographer Charm La’Donna, and body movement expert Rashida KhanBey Miller.
Dr. James Oliver, ASU’s band director and the creator of the Honey Beez, said he could not be prouder of Banks.
“I am so happy and pleased with Asia having this opportunity…When I gave her the opportunity to be a member of the Honey Beez, she came through. She did so well that she was captain of the team for two years. So, I’m super proud of Asia and what she has accomplished with Lizzo and super proud that she is a former student of Alabama State University and a former Honey Bee.”
Banks said she will continue empowering girls that look like her but do not get representation or have issues with their own self-confidence.
“Always be bold, beautiful and be you!” she emphasized. “That’s what the Honey Beez taught me. In fact, if I wasn’t fat, I wouldn’t be on this show. If you talk down to yourself about plus size, others will too. So, start the morning right: Praise your body every day.”