Lizzo is set to receive the prestigious Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award from the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) at this year’s gala on September 21, despite recent allegations made by her former dancers. The award recognizes her exceptional philanthropic work and unwavering commitment to social justice.
As an advocate for body positivity, Lizzo has dedicated her free time to making a positive impact on various communities, particularly in the realms of scholarship, social justice, and music. Over the course of her career, she has raised and donated over half a million dollars to numerous programs and organizations.
Willie “Prophet” Stiggers, co-founder/chair of the Black Music Action Coalition, expressed his pride in honoring Lizzo and Sylvia Rhone at this year’s Gala. He noted that they are joining a group of trailblazers who have left an indelible mark on the music industry and beyond. Their dedication to pushing boundaries, amplifying Black voices, and breaking through glass ceilings has created space for Black women.
Lizzo’s philanthropic efforts have been significant since her rise to fame. She donated $1 million to Planned Parenthood and the National Network of Abortion Funds following the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June 2022. She has consistently supported Juneteenth organizations, annually contributing half a million dollars to programs such as the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, Black Girls Smile, Sphinx Music, University of Houston, Save Our Sisters United, and Community Change.
In 2020, Lizzo launched Lizzolovesyou.com, a platform that provides visitors with information, action items, and opportunities to donate in support of marginalized communities and causes. Through her Sasha Be Flooting Music Scholarship, valued at $50,000, she has also made significant contributions to her alma mater, the University of Houston.
Despite her commendable philanthropy, Lizzo has recently faced backlash due to allegations from some of her former dancers. She plans to countersue her accusers, as stated by her attorney, Marty Singer. He revealed that newly surfaced photos showing the accusers “happily carousing” with nude performers in Paris should bolster her case.
The lawsuit against Lizzo, her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, and her dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, was filed by three former dancers—Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez. They alleged that Lizzo weight-shamed and sexually harassed them, including an incident in an Amsterdam club in February 2023 where Lizzo allegedly pressured Davis into touching a nude performer.
“The main event of the night was Bananaenbar, where patrons are allowed to interact with completely nude performers,” the suit reads. “Lizzo began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the vaginas of the performers.
“Lizzo then turned her attention to Ms. Davis and began pressuring Ms. Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women performing in the club. Lizzo began leading a chant goading Ms. Davis. Ms. Davis said three times, loud enough for all to hear, ‘I’m good,’ expressing her desire not to touch the performer.”
Singer believes that the Paris photos, taken a month after the Amsterdam incident, contradict the accusations against Lizzo. Additionally, the accusers’ claim that they were forced to attend the Paris topless show is undermined by the photos showing them enjoying backstage moments with the topless entertainers.
Furthermore, a month after the Paris visit, Arianna Davis was seen in an audition tape expressing admiration for Lizzo, stating, “I look up to her so much.” The attorney for Lizzo’s accusers, Neama Rahmani, asserted that the dancers’ positive comments were made to retain their jobs.
“They had bills to pay just like everyone else but they finally had enough of the abuse,” she said.
Despite these conflicting claims and the emergence of the photos, Rahmani maintains the credibility of the lawsuit and looks forward to a trial. The legal battle surrounding these allegations continues to unfold as Lizzo receives recognition for her philanthropic efforts.