As we’ve reported, gospel great Shirley Caesar is not thrilled about her 2010 sermon that became the genesis , so to speak, for the “U Name it Challenge.” It had been reported that she was taking legal action against certain parties for unauthorized use of her sermon and song.
Caesar, who is not only a gospel singer, but a preacher as well, says the video was posted by DJ Suede (Keenan Webb), in November, after the so-called #UNameItChallenge went viral.
Scroll down to see the version of the song DJ Suede posted on his Facebook page, which Caesar’s attorney’s have requested be taken down. Meanwhile, Caesar’s legal team is alleging the video is responsible for more than $5 million in losses.
Caesar’s attorney – according to theJasmineBrand – also says the song jeopardized a deal Caesar, was working on with Snoop Dogg. The proceeds from that deal would have gone to help the hungry.
The singer’s attorney adds the initial remix of the video was a hit with Caesar and her family. but the situation changed when Suede made a second video that they were unaware of that was a full-fledged production which was sold on iTunes. This version is the one at the center of the injunction filed against DJ Suede, Jullian Boothe and Empire Distribution.
But even with that as a basis for suing, Caesar’s team issued a statement about NOT suing. Some say it was because of backlash to (false) reports of legal action being filed. In any event, via a posting on Facebook, here’s what Caesar’s lawyer, James L. Walker Jr., has to say:
NO LAWSUIT: Hello Family, I just got a call from someone asking me about a lawsuit; please be clear, there has been no lawsuit filed. I asked my attorney to issue a statement and this is all we will say on it at this time:
Pastor Shirley Caesar has been totally surprised by the response to her old “Hold My Mule” song remixed. She eventually appreciated the fun many had in creating and sharing videos under the #UNameItChallenge with her remixed song. In fact, she has raised money for charity via UnameitShirley.com in support of the viral challenge. In addition, she will be giving out toys and food for thousands of people with our Toys For Tots program after church next Sunday and all are invited to come and support.
Unfortunately, similar to you, we as a team, were laughing and enjoying the video challenge, until we recently discovered that DJ Suede, Empire Records and another party, took the original popular song and phrase and illegally released a different record on I-Tunes without our written permission. They even did a video highlighting alcohol and negative imagery- and sold many downloads. We asked them repeatedly to remove these negative materials as we never saw the video or heard the song prior to them selling it –and, it was not a parody, but the song was created commercially for sale and profits. When they refused to remove the commercial song from the Internet and the video, to protect Pastor’s legacy and what Shirley Caesar stands for, we had to take legal action, secure a temporary injunction and order DJ Suede to remove the video, as well as cease and desist sales. We want to make it clear Pastor Caesar does not endorse the imagery or abuse of alcohol endorsed in the video by having her voice everywhere on the track. Please also note, we have not filed any lawsuits or sued anyone even though it is my right. But, it is our hope and prayer that DJ Suede and Empire will do the right thing, and respect Pastor Caesar’s legacy, image and name and follow the Court injunction ordering them to remove this video and the I-Tunes song, a clear violation of copyright and trademark laws.
We look forward to the good work that will come of the #UNameitChallenge and want people to continue enjoying the song for the holidays and years to come. Remember, No Weapon Formed Against You Shall Prosper!!!
Enjoy your Christmas and continue to serve others.
God Bless & Thank You All,
James L. Walker, Jr., Esq.
Counsel For Pastor Shirley Caesar