Lizzo Accused Of Sampling Church Elder’s Funeral Performance In 2016’s ‘Coconut Oil’, Sued For $750K
Lizzo is facing another copyright allegation. After winning a case against her concerning her 2017 hit Truth Hurts, the Grammy-winning songstress is now being sued for $750,000 with claims that she sampled a funeral performance for her 2016 song Coconut Oil.
Orlandus Dunning of Detroit, who is an elder in the Church of God In Christ, filed the lawsuit in Wayne Circuit Court in December 2020, claiming he “suffered anguish, embarrassment and outrage” after Atlantic Records released the song. His lawsuit was moved to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Friday (March 26th).
Dunning is suing Lizzo, Atlantic Records, Nice Life Recording Co. (a subsidiary of Atlantic), and Atlantic’s parent company Warner Music Group Corp. He says that the beginning and end of the song were recordings of a hymn he sang for a mutual family member’s funeral.
The lawsuit says,
“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) 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.”
It alleges Lizzo “recorded this audio without either (Dunning’s) knowledge or consent,” adding Dunning,
“did not and would not have consented to the use of his voice this way because the message in the song is contradictory to his own brand and beliefs as an ordained elder in the Church of God In Christ … organization.”
He said Lizzo,
“knew or should have known that portraying (Dunning) in such a light would cause him distress based on his position as an Elder in the church.”
Lizzo has not publicly responded to the lawsuit.
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