On February 6, 2016, Beyoncé stopped the world, per the usual, when she released the video for “Formation,” which was to be the lead single to the album Lemonade (yet another project we didn’t see coming). The song garnered critical praise, award nominations and a lot of love. But a little over a year later, it’s getting hit with a lawsuit. How, Sway?
According to Vulture, the estate of late YouTube personality Messy Mya is actually suing the singer over a sample of his vocals from some of his popular videos that were heard in “Formation.” The estate alleges that Beyoncé used them without permission. While the official song doesn’t actually feature the late New Orleans native’s voice, the video does. You can hear him open the clip saying, “What happened at the New Wil’ins / B—h I’m back, by popular demand.” Those vocals came from his 2010 video “Booking the Hoes From New Wildin.” According to TMZ, vocals from his 2010 video “A 27 Piece Huh?” were also used, in particular, the part where he says,”Ooooooh yeah, baby. Oh yeah. Ohhhhh! Oh yes, I like that.”
While it’s unclear why the estate chose a year later to call this out, they say that they tried to reach out to ‘Yonce’s people on multiple occasions to set things straight but never received a response. So now, they are asking for $20 million in back royalties and according to TMZ, “other damages for using some of his final recorded words.”
Messy Mya, born Anthony M. Barré, was killed in 2010 in New Orleans. Known for his biting but hilarious videos and one of his catchphrases, “Now who gonna pop me?” Barré was reportedly gunned down after attending the baby shower of a girlfriend whom he was having a son with. He was 22 years old at the time.
“Formation” alone is nominated for record of the year, song of the year and best music video at Sunday night’s Grammys. A pregnant Beyoncé leads all nominees with nine nominations and is set to perform. As for this lawsuit, no comment as of yet from the singer’s reps.