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Beyoncé hit with copyright lawsuit over ‘Break My Soul’

Members of Da Showstoppaz accused the star of illegally using their 2002 song 'Release a Wiggle' on her hit track that features a Big Freedia sample

By Charisma Madarang

Beyoncé on stage at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, June 2023
Beyoncé on stage in Tottenham earlier this year (Photo: Raph_PR/Wikimedia Commons)

A New Orleans group is suing Beyoncé over her smash hit ‘Break My Soul’ — accusing her of copyright infringement stemming from her use of a sample from Big Freedia, who they claim illegally used lyrics from their 2002 song ‘Release a Wiggle.’

According to a complaint filed in Louisiana federal court on Wednesday, members of Da Showstoppaz — Tessa Avie, Keva Bourgeois, Henri Braggs, and Brian Clark — alleged that the Cowboy Carter artist specifically sampled Big Freedia’s 2014 track “Explode,” which illegally used “copyrighted lyrics, melody, and musical arrangement” from their 2002 song.

“Defendants used Plaintiffs’ words, melody, and musical arrangement from their copyrighted works to create an album as homage to ‘uncle Johnny’ who exposed the music and culture of the LGBTQ community of greater New Orleans, of which three members are strongly affiliated with themselves, all displayed in its full force — the tone, actual words, melody, musical arrangement of bounce music,” the suit claims.

Along with Beyoncé and Big Freedia, Sony Music, Jay-Z, and others have been named as defendants.

The filing further alleges that while “Mrs. Carter, Big Freedia, Parkwood, Sony, and others have received many accolades and substantial profits from ‘Explode’ and ‘Break My Soul’ and the ‘Renaissance’ album, the ‘Renaissance World Tour,’ and the ‘Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,’ Da Showstoppaz’s have received nothing — no acknowledgment, no credit, no remuneration of any kind.”

A rep for Beyoncé did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.

‘Break My Soul’ was the first single released from the star’s Renaissance album and topped the Billboard Hot 100. It has been prominently featured during her stadium-shaking Renaissance tour and accompanying documentary.

Da Showstoppaz are asking to be credited and for compensation rights on ‘Break My Soul’ and ‘Explode,’ as well as royalties for future licenses on the tracks.

From Rolling Stone.