Amid recent controversies and legal battles, Beyoncé's Renaissance tour took an unexpected turn during her performance of Break My Soul (The Queens Remix) in Boston, Massachusetts.
Known for celebrating boundary-breaking Black female artists, Beyoncé listed several iconic names, but Lizzo's was conspicuously absent from the lyrics. Speculations arose regarding the omission, as news broke about Lizzo facing a lawsuit from three of her former dancers for alleged sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
In the original version of the song, the lyrics proudly mentioned powerful women like Betty Davis, Solange Knowles, Erykah Badu, Lizzo, and Kelly Rowl. However, during the live performance, Beyoncé seemed to skip over Lizzo's name entirely, replacing it with repeated mentions of Erykah Badu.
Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, has been known for her body positivity and empowering messages. The recent lawsuit, filed by her ex backup dancers, Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez, portrays a different side of the singer. The lawsuit alleges incidents of weight-shaming and pressuring one of the dancers to touch a nude performer in a strip club.
The legal battle has also roped in Lizzo's dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, who faces accusations of sharing lewd sexual fantasies and making inappropriate comments about the virginity of one of the plaintiffs.
The claims in the lawsuit are serious and include allegations of hostile work environment, sexual harassment, religious harassment, racial harassment, disability discrimination, and failure to prevent or remedy the harassment.
Lizzo's management team is also under scrutiny, with the lawsuit suggesting that their treatment of performers contradicts the singer's public image of body positivity and inclusivity. It's a stark contrast to the values she champions, and the allegations have raised eyebrows among her fans and the wider public.
In one specific incident at an Amsterdam strip club, Lizzo allegedly pressured Ms. Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude performers, despite Davis's refusal.
The lawsuit recounts how Lizzo persisted, chanting louder to encourage the act until Davis eventually complied. The lack of respect for the dancers' autonomy and the presence of other employees made the situation all the more shocking.
Additionally, the plaintiffs claim that Lizzo invited them to a club in Paris without mentioning that it was a nude cabaret bar, taking away their choice to participate willingly. Furthermore, there were allegations of Lizzo claiming the dancers were drinking before performances, leading to an exhausting 12-hour rehearsal
These allegations have put Lizzo and her touring company, Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc., under significant scrutiny. While the legal process unfolds, fans and the industry are grappling with the discrepancy between Lizzo's public persona and the accusations against her. As this complex situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how it will impact Lizzo's career and her standing as a symbol of body positivity and empowerment.