Beyoncé is being sued for $20 million by the estate of a late internet personality who’s sampled in her song and video “Formation.”
The estate of Anthony Barré, also known as Messy Mya, alleges that Beyoncé used a sample of Mya in the popular single and its video without permission.
Barré can be heard as Mya in the video at the beginning, saying, “What happened at the New Wil’ins? B—-, I’m back by popular demand.”
The “New Wil’ins” quote comes from the below video by Barré, whose videos as Messy Mya have hundreds of thousands of views.
Barré is later heard in “Formation” saying, “Oh yeah, baby, oh yeah I, ohhhhh, oh, yes, I like that,” from another video of his as Messy Mya. He’s sampled along with Big Freedia, a well-known artist in the New Orleans bounce scene. Barré and Freedia are both from New Orleans, which is used as a backdrop in the “Formation” video.
Barré was shot and killed in 2010 at the age of 22.
Interestingly, the sampling of Barré/Messy Mya is not heard in a digitally purchased version of “Formation” from Beyoncé’s album “Lemonade.” Both the song and the album are nominated in Sunday’s 2017 Grammy Awards.
“The Estate of Anthony Barré alleges that Beyonce Knowles Carter, Parkwood Entertainment, LLC, Sony Music Entertainment, and others produced, distributed, publicly performed, used, and otherwise exploited the voice, words, and performance of the late Anthony Barré, also known as Messy Mya, without authorization in the extremely popular ‘Formation’ recording,” the estate’s lawyers wrote in a statement, according to MTV. “Barré was a well-known performance comedian, music artist, and MC in New Orleans. He is very closely associated with the bounce music phenomenon in New Orleans. There are more than a hundred videos documenting his performance, statements, comedic routines, etc.”
If Beyoncé and Sony did indeed use the Messy Mya samples without permission, it would be odd given Mya’s popularity online and how frequently pop musicians have been sued for copyright infringement in recent years.
Barré’s estate is seeking $20 million in royalties from sales of “Formation” and other damages, according to MTV.
A representative for Sony Music, Beyoncé’s label, did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
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