Weeks after we’ve all enjoyed our beans, greens, potatoes and tomatoes, Pastor Shirley Caesar is coming for her coins.
Caesar’s lawyers are dragging DJ Suede into court for the unauthorized use of her sermon and song. DJ Suede is the man responsible for remixing Shirley Caesar’s 2010 “Hold My Mule” sermon and turning it into the #UNameItChallenge which became wildly popular in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. According to Caesar’s legal team, Suede’s video is worth more than $5 million in losses, so they’re coming to collect.
Shirley Caesar isn’t upset that the song went viral on social media. She even made a few bucks by selling merchandise of her own. The issue is with DJ Suede placing the song for sale on iTunes and uploading an official music video on Youtube and Facebook, where it currently has over 100k views and generates advertising dollars. According to her attorneys, the abundance of alcohol “violate the brand, image and name of a Christian pastor.” When asked to remove the video, DJ Suede refused.
“DJ Suede and his management were in conversations with her lawyer. They didn’t reach an agreement and they put it out anyway,” said Glenda Hatchett, former juvenile court judge — now a high-profile Atlanta-area attorney working on the case.
Caesar’s lead attorney, James Walker, says that DJ Suede’s video also jeopardized a deal she was working on with Snoop Dogg in which proceeds would have gone to help the hungry. Snoop respectfully shot a viral video of his own, which Caesar approved of.
“Snoop did his clean version to send the message that ‘this is Shirley Caesar’, We need to honor her,'” Walker said.
It sounds like Shirley Caesar has this case in the bag. There’s no way you can get away with sampling someone’s voice and profiting on it without their permission. The rules don’t change just because you went viral on Instagram.