Lizzo and ‘Truth Hurts’: Latest Plagiarism Claim Compares Song’s Melody, Famous Line

Lizzo’s catchy “Truth Hurts” has turned her into a musical darling, and she’s been receiving love from the likes of Rihanna, Hilary Clinton, Sam Smith, Beyoncé, and many more for that bop , “Juice,” and her bubbly personality. But her grind and ascent to fame has not come without a cost.

Lizzo’s been in the professional music game since 2013 when her debut album dropped, but 2017’s “Truth Hurts” has been blowing up for the past two years and garnering allegations of plagiarism and copyright infringement.

Lizzo
Lizzo performed at The Armory in Minneapolis | Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Lizzo was hit with first accusation in 2018

At the center of two controversies is Lizzo’s highly quoted and memed line, “I’m 100% that b***h,” which kicks off the first verse of “Truth Hurts.” A British singer who goes by the name Mina Lioness is taking credit for the phrase which she says she first tweeted in 2017. It later went viral.

Months later, Lizzo released the song and it started burning up everyone’s speakers. Mina Lioness called her out via tweet in 2018, saying, “Now everyone believes those were your words, when in fact they were mine. My creativity, my wit and my comedy.” Lizzo responded directly to her saying that she never saw the tweet and took inspiration from an Instagram meme. Not much was made of the online exchange at the time.

Now, Mina Lioness is ramping up her plagiarism campaign since word got out that Lizzo is trying to trademark the phrase. According to The Guardian, the singer took to Twitter again to address the business move:

“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.”

While legal experts say that Mina Lioness probably won’t be successful in contesting the trademark even if she did coin the saying, the whole mess has led to a second claim.

Second plagiarism accusation is from former friends

This second allegation is being backed with video evidence and played for the public on Instagram. It looks like Lizzo was friends with a pair of songwriter brothers named Justin and Jeremiah Raisen who say that they’ve been locked in a dispute with her since 2017 over “Truth Hurts.”

According to an interview with The New York Times, the brothers state that they wrote a song called “Healthy” along with Lizzo, Yves Rothman, and Jesse Saint John. The Raisens assert that the melody from that tune and the lyric, “I did a DNA test and found out I’m 100% that bitch” is the same as in “Truth Hurts” and is the result of their songwriting collaboration from April 2017.  

Besides Lizzo—whose real name is Melissa Jefferson—Saint John is the only person credited from that “Healthy” team for “Truth Hurts.” The brothers, who are continuing to praise Lizzo for her talent, shine, and her mark on the industry as “a cultural figure,” want some acknowledgement.

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The Truth about “Truth Hurts” On April 11th, 2017, we wrote a song called “Healthy” w/ Lizzo, Jesse St John, and Yves Rothman at our studio. “I just took a DNA test turns out I’m 100% that bitch” was taken from “Healthy” and used in “Truth Hurts”. We were never contacted about being credited for the use of the parts of “Healthy” (melody, lyrics, and chords) that appear in “Truth Hurts”. After reaching out to Ricky Reed and Lizzo’s team about fixing it, we put the song in dispute in 2017 when it came out. We’ve tried to sort this out quietly for the last two years, only asking for 5% each but were shutdown every time. Coming forward publicly to family, friends, artists, and colleagues seems to be the only way at this point in relieving some of our emotional distress caused by this. The last thing we want to do is throw any negativity toward Lizzo’s momentum and movement as a cultural figure. If we believe in what she’s preaching, believing in ourselves & our own voices is something we thought she’d understand. Shout out to the singer Mina Lioness ( @minalioness ) for tweeting “I just did a DNA test turns out I’m 100% that bitch”. A meme of that came up in our writing session & inspired the lyric and melody we wrote together. If Ricky and Lizzo’s team decide to settle this dispute with us, we would like to share some of the proceeds with Mina for her influence on Healthy. The clip below shows a video & photos from the day we wrote “Healthy” along with the comparisons between the two works. All the Love, Justin & Jeremiah Raisen #lizzo #truthhurts #healthy #billboard

A post shared by Justin Raisen (@justinraisen) on

Lizzo’s team disputes the fact that the Raisens were involved with creating the famous lyric but haven’t contested that she wrote the song “Healthy” with them. Per legal experts who spoke with NYT, the brothers possibly have the upper hand in a copyright case.

As for Lizzo and her team? They believe the case has no foundation.

Fans are divided

This week, fans took aim at the Raisens’ IG post, with some people siding with Lizzo, and others siding with the brothers and even Mina Lioness. Among the divided groups, some think the Raisens are out to steal Lizzo’s shine as her star continues to climb. They question the validity of a copyright claim and its timing, arguing that they’re just after money since the song became a hit.

Others believe that there is some merit to their side of the story, and point out that the brothers have been quietly going back and forth over the song for two years. Some think the Raisens have a shot at winning the case, which would amount to a percentage of publishing royalties.

How much? According to Justin Raisen, they want 5%. Stay tuned to see who wins out in the trademark and copyright cases.