A lawsuit against Lizzo claims she used audio from a relative’s funeral without permission on her 2016 song “Coconut Oil.”
“Coconut Oil,” Lizzo’s 2016 self-love anthem, is the subject of a lawsuit recently filed by a church elder who claims his voice was sampled on the song without his permission, causing him “anguish, embarrassment, and outrage,” according to The Detroit News (Lizzo was born in the Motor City). Detroit resident Orlandus Dunning demands $750,000, saying that Lizzo sampled him singing a hymn at a mutual relative’s private funeral.
The lawsuit reads, “(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… When Plaintiff sang the devotional, it was at a private funeral and done for the specific purpose of uplifting his family and friends during their time of bereavement.” Dunning says that he wouldn’t have consented to the use of his voice because of his beliefs; he’s an ordained elder in the Church of God In Christ and feels that the song’s messaging runs counter to his position — although he doesn’t say exactly how. The song’s mostly about Lizzo learning self-care, although she does say “sh*t” once on the record.
“Coconut Oil,” the titular track on Lizzo’s six-song 2016 EP, closes off the project, which features single “Good As Hell,” a track that later peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Coconut Oil” itself did not chart, but the EP placed at No. 31 on the Billboard 200.