Sometimes You Gotta Pay to Slay
Last year, Beyonce’s Lemonade sold over a million copies, making it her sixth album to reach such a feat in her career. She has a cash wave rolling in that’s big enough to “surfboard” on. So, it’s nothing new to hear of people coming out of the woodworks with open palms.
Currently, the case on Bey’s platinum-plate is a $20 million copyright lawsuit over her single “Formation.” If you have seen the video for the song, you may remember that spoken word soundbite at the beginning (and peppered throughout) as belonging to a member of New Orleans bounce royalty, the late Messy Mya.
Now Messy Mya’s sister, Angel Barre, is suing Sony Music and Beyonce’s company for the use of Messy Mya’s copyrighted likeness in the video without authorization or compensation.
Who Is Messy Mya?
Messy Mya, born Anthony Barre, was a NOLA bounce staple that became a YouTube sensation up until his untimely murder in 2010.
In November of 2010, Barre was shot dead leaving a baby shower for his unborn son: A fate that tragically affects many young members of Messy Mya’s New Orleans fan base.
Messy Mya gained local fame from his sharp-tonged YouTube videos, but it wasn’t until 2016’s “Formation” that he received national attention.
The Estate Files Suit
Messy Mya’s estate, which includes all copyrights to his YouTube Videos, was taken up by his sister, Angel Barre.
Barre and her lawyers claim that Beyonce used her brother’s “voice, performance and words from his copyrighted works to create the tone, mood, setting and location of the New Orleans-themed ‘Formation’ video and audio recordings” without proper authorization.
Where it Gets Complicated
Bits of Messy Mya’s voice, straight from his YouTube, are sampled within the first seconds of the “Formation” video. Its heard THREE more times throughout the song, and in the final closing, during the last seconds of the track.
Unlike Big Freedia, who’s voice was credited as a feature on the track and barely says anything, Messy Mya’s credit is no where to be found.
It should be noted that Messy Mya’s vocal samples are only included on the music video version of the song; they do not exist on the actual album recording.
Hear Messy Mya’s original video that Beyonce allegedly ripped-off next.