Beyoncé Knowles is being sued for copyright infringement by the estate of murdered YouTube star Messy Mya — whose real name is Anthony Barre. Knowles notably sampled Barre’s verbal stylings on her hit single Formation.
Barre was killed in 2010, and now his sister, Angel, alleges that Knowles used her brother’s voice and performance without permission or acknowledging the contribution, The Advocate reports. The federal suit claims that Knowles lifted portions from two of Barre’s popular YouTube videos, including A 27 Piece Huh (below) and Booking The Hoes From New Wildin, for Formation — the lead single off of her Grammy-nominated visual album Lemonade.
Barre is also suing for infringements she alleges were committed during Knowles’ Formation World Tour, and is asking for more than $20 million in damages as well as royalties, according to The Advocate — in addition to credit for Barre’s contributions. Sony Music, Knowles’ record label, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Anthony ‘Messy Mya’ Barre was a New Orleans-based rapper and comedian whose YouTube channel featured the charismatic 22-year-old joking about goings-on around town. He was killed in 2010 while departing from the baby shower of his unborn son, reports i-D, and news of his death broke online with a picture of the crime scene circulating widely on Twitter.