Lizzo just took a DNA test—and it turns out that she’s got 100% legal drama, all due to that popular line in her hit song, “Truth Hurts.”
You know the one: “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch.” It’s been picked up and incorporated into everything (see: Hillary Clinton), and it was featured in Netflix’s “Someone Great” earlier this year. But it turns out Lizzo didn’t create the line herself. She popularized it, sure, but it came from a meme she saw that originated from someone else’s tweet. Lizzo says she never saw the original tweet, but several people are taking credit for helping her write the line, and one of those people is now going to be properly credited.
This started a few months ago, when a woman who goes by Mina Lioness on Twitter called out Lizzo for stealing her words without acknowledging her. Mina Lioness posted that she tweeted the line in February 2017, and that “Truth Hurts” came out seven months later using her exact phrasing.
A frustrated Mina vented on Twitter that Lizzo and her camp were trying to erase her because she couldn’t afford to take them to court.
What I cannot get over is how brazen Lizzo and her team have been in ignoring my whole presence. They’re doing it because they know I have no capital to address her.
I’m just the poor Black girl from London that don’t have a dog in the fight.
— Legendina (@MinaLioness) August 28, 2019
Lizzo originally maintained that she got the idea for the lyrics from a meme she saw when she wrote the song. Now she and Mina Lioness have settled. Mina tweeted the news yesterday.
I just took a DNA Test, turns out I’m a credited writer for the number one song on Billboard.
— Legendina (@MinaLioness) October 23, 2019
Lizzo publicly acknowledged via Instagram that she is sharing the credit with Mina Lioness (though neither woman revealed any details about the deal). But Lizzo also made clear that she will not give in to the unnamed “men who now claim a piece of Truth Hurts,” aka Justin “Yves” Rothman and brothers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen, who are also demanding credit for the line. They claim they should be credited on “Truth Hurts” because the same lyric was used in an unreleased track called “Healthy,” which they recorded with Lizzo during an April 2017 studio session. Justin Raisen posted a video to Instagram that features “Healthy” overlayed with “Truth Hurts” apparently as a way to show the lyrics’ provenance. The line is there, but it’s not necessarily proof of theft since there’s no indication that the three men gave her the line to sing.
Lizzo claims the Raisens and Rothman did not help her write anything, and that “Truth Hurts” is the fruit of her personal life, tears, and work with songwriter Ricky Reed. According to Variety, Lizzo has filed a lawsuit asking the judge to reject the Raisens and Rothman’s claim of ownership or contribution to the song and accusing them of embarking on a harassment campaign against her.
So that’s where we are for now. All this trouble from a meme that featured an unattributed quote.
Digital intellectual property is tricky. The lesson here is: Be careful with your memes.