Midway through the final show of the Cuz I Love You Too tour, Lizzo let the crowd know where she stands on the drama surrounding the iconic line on “Truth Hurts.” From her purple pulpit with golden robes a-flowing, our patron saint of self-love was not mincing words. “Recently I’ve been getting a lot of letters…from past fuckboys.” She then offered any future fools a warning: “Thou shalt not fuck with Lizzo because thou shalt come back two years later, bitch.”
“Truth Hurts” is a resounding hit and has been a huge part of the massive momentum behind Lizzo’s rising star – enough to sell out the first leg of the tour supporting her most recent LP, Cuz I Love You, and extend it two more months, wrapping up at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Sunday. But with this success comes some dispute. Everyone wants their cut of “Truth Hurts,” whether they deserve it or not.
Like a game of telephone, the tale of the traveling lyrics – “I just did a DNA test / Turns out I’m 100% that bitch” – crosses international waters, through singers and producers, reminding us once again that women, especially black women, have to fight hardest for what is rightfully theirs. Lizzo recently gave a writing credit and rightful compensation to British songwriter Mina Lioness, who initially tweeted the line in 2017 (in response to an embarrassing tweet from Demi Lovato claiming her 1% African DNA) and Lioness says that she and Lizzo are on good terms.
Litigation continues between Lizzo and three white male producers – whose names I really don’t feel like giving any more attention to, but OF COURSE two of them are named Justin – and they are demanding 20% of the song’s profits. They claim that the demo Lizzo recorded in their studio, “Healthy” which includes the DNA line, is something they created together, and they deserve writing/producing credit. There’s no doubt that intellectual property and artists’ creative rights matter and are legally, rightfully protected. Today’s collabs though, continue to blur these boundaries. When sharing, sampling, curating is everywhere, where is the line? Well, the line here is money, and the Justins want some.
Lyrics are important and fundamental to the songs we love and remember. 100%. But you know what else is important? Delivery. Ask anyone who’s ever been to karaoke night or watched The Voice. The Justins of the world can keep trying to steal her shine, but right now on this planet, there is no human being delivering more starpower and talent than one Melissa Vivianne Jefferson. All 8,500 of us at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium felt that love on the tour’s final stop. Even for San Francisco, the crowd was noticeably diverse. Humans of all kinds came to worship at the church of Lizzo and we were not disappointed.
Backed by DJ Sophia Eris and her dancers, the Big Grrls, the vibe was loose and playful. The last show of a long, blockbuster tour, their bodies gave us every bit of talent left in the tank. The bedazzled Patron bottle made an extended appearance as did, of course, the glorious diva Sasha Flute. Warming us up with “Heaven Help Me” and “Worship Me,” breaking our hearts with “Cuz I Love You,” and setting some hella clear boundaries with “Exactly How I Feel” and “Jerome,” Lizzo came prepared with her biggest hits. On “Like A Girl,” she added new lyrics, extending the self-acceptance even further: “If you feel like a girl then you real like a girl – if you feel like a boy then you real like a boy – if you feel like neither then, bitch, do you! Do you, period. PERIOD. Do your thing and run the whole damn world.”
She wrapped up the party with her record-breaking bangers “Truth Hurts,” “Good As Hell,” and “Juice,” coming down into the crowd to get closer to us. There were moments where she would pause and catch her breath, visibly soaking it all in, alone on stage in between songs, her brown eyes earnest and open, big smile beaming. It’s been one hell of a ride for this band geek and classically trained flautist from Minneapolis. Six years since self-releasing her first album, Lizzo has arrived and she is just getting started.
Between last-show hugs and tequila shots, she left us with clear goals for 2020: “You know what I realize, at the time when I was dealing with these people, with these fuckboys? I thought I was the problem, I thought it was me. But I’m here right now to let you know – I don’t know who needs to hear this message – it’s not you, bitch. It’s not you. It’s them. You are 100 PERCENT that bitch. We are no longer dealing with fuckboys in 2020, ok? No fuckboys, no fuckgirls, no fuckthems, no fucktheys. We are free from the fuckery, Amen?” To which all 8,500 of her new best friends agreed: AMEN.