Beyoncé, 41, showed her support for her fellow singer, 35, during her performance of “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)” on the Renaissance Tour in Atlanta on Monday, August 14. “I love you, Lizzo!” Beyoncé yelled in a clip shared by a fan.
Earlier this month, fans thought Beyoncé shaded Lizzo (real name Melissa Jefferson) after the “Single Ladies” performer dropped Lizzo’s name from the song’s lyrics in Foxborough, Massachusetts. While Lizzo’s name still appeared on the stage’s screen along with other notable Black female entertainers listed in the track — including Kelly Rowland, Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill — Beyoncé raised eyebrows when she instead repeated Erykah Badu’s last name four times.
Beyonce’s mother, Tina Knowles, later took to Instagram to shut down shade speculation. “She also didn’t say her own sisters [Solange Knowles] name yal should really stop,” Tina, 69, wrote on August 3.
Lizzo was accused of sexual harassment, religious harassment, disability discrimination, creating a hostile work environment and more in a lawsuit filed by former dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez on August 1. The lawsuit also listed claims against Lizzo’s dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, and her tour company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. (BGBT).
In court documents obtained by Us Weekly, the trio alleged that Quigley had “simulate[d] oral sex on a banana” in front of the dancers and made inappropriate comments regarding Davis’ virginity. Additionally, David and Williams claimed they were forced to participate in a nude photo shoot while competing on Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls out of fear of being eliminated.
The dancers also stated they felt pressured to join Lizzo for an outing in Amsterdam’s Red Light District while on tour. At a club, things allegedly got “out of hand” after “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 performers’ vaginas.”
Other allegations include not being paid for time off on tour after not being permitted to take on other jobs, Davis being fired after filming a dance team meeting and Lizzo acting “aggressively” toward Rodriguez after the latter confronted the singer about Davis and William’s firings.
Lizzo called the allegations “unbelievable” and “too outrageous not to be addressed” in an August 3 statement. “These sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional,” she continued. “As an artist, I have always been very passionate about what I do. I take my music and my performances seriously because at the end of the day, I only want to put out the best art that represents me and my fans.”
She went on to state there is nothing she takes more seriously “than the respect we deserve as women in the world,” adding, “I know what it feels like to be body shamed on a daily basis and would absolutely never criticize or terminate an employee because of their weight. I’m hurt but I will not let the good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this. I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult time.”
In the days that followed, lawyer Ron Zambrano told Us that more of Lizzo’s former employees are expected to speak up and take part in the lawsuit.