She’s put one lawsuit behind her but there’s another one on the horizon. A lawsuit was recently filed against Lizzo over her 2016 song “Coconut Oil,” and Detroit News claims that the Motown-born star stands accused of biting a gospel hymn for the track. According to the outlet, Orlandus Dunning alleges that Lizzo took audio from a “mutual relative’s funeral” and sampled it on “Coconut Oil” without obtaining permission. Dunning writes in the lawsuit that he has “suffered anguish, embarrassment and outrage” over the ordeal and he’s seeking $750K in damages.
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Both Lizzo and Atlantic Records are named in court documents along with “Nice Life Recording Co., an Atlantic subsidiary; and Warner Music Group Corp., which owns Atlantic.” Dunning, who is reportedly an elder at the church where the funeral was held, asserts that the clip that Lizzo sampled was of his singing performance at the event. He also says that he would have never approved of the sample because “Coconut Oil” and its message are “contradictory to his own brand and beliefs as an ordained elder.”
“When Plaintiff sang the devotional, it was at a funeral and done for the specific purpose of uplifting his family and friends during their time of bereavement,” states the lawsuit. “(Dunning) had a reasonable expectation of privacy and that his voice would not be heard publicly, as the funeral where he sang was held privately and open only to family and close friends.”
The Coconut Oil project was Lizzo’s debut EP that also hosted her hit single “Good as Hell,” a track that became popular two years after its release. Check out “Coconut Oil” below.