‘99 Problems but My ABCs Ain’t One’: Jay-Z Sues Over Children’s Book
When the children’s alphabet book “A B to Jay-Z” was released by a small Australian online retailer more than two years ago, the company said it sold out within days. But it also drew criticism on social media as a particularly cringe-worthy example of cultural appropriation.
The book, the creation of a company calling itself the Little Homie, featured likenesses of hip-hop artists in the hope of inspiring, as the retailer put it, “the next generation of hood rats.” And it borrowed from famous lyrics, including one of Jay-Z’s: “If you’re having alphabet problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but my ABCs ain’t one.”
The Little Homie says this was all in celebration of hip-hop. Jay-Z, who has spoken out about black identity and equality, says it was theft.
Jay-Z has now sued the company, alleging trademark and copyright infringement. The use of his name, likeness and references to “99 problems” in the book and other Little Homie products is “a deliberate and knowing attempt to trade off the reputation and good will” of the rapper, and uses his intellectual property “for their own commercial gain,” according to his complaint.
Since 2017, the artist’s lawyers have sent several cease-and-desist letters to the Little Homie, according to the complaint. It also alleges that the company had made a “false and misleading representation” that Jay-Z had approved and was affiliated with the book.
The Little Homie said on Thursday it had done nothing wrong and intended to fight the case. “We are unbelievably disappointed to find ourselves caught in a legal battle with someone whose music we love and adore,” Jessica Chiha, the company’s owner, said in a statement…….read more
Source: NY Times