As one case has reached a verdict, Cardi B (born Becalis Almanzar) finds herself back in court this week for another trial. This time, Almanzar’s team is defending her against plaintiff Kevin Brophy Jr. who claims an image of his back tattoo was used for the 2016 cover of Cardi’s Gangsta Bi**h Music Vol. 1 (see below). Brophy says the mixtape art has caused him embarrassment and “goes against what he stands for.”
The cover art shows Cardi sitting in the back of a limousine drinking a Corona, while an unidentified man kneels in front of her appearing to perform cunnilingus.
According to Rolling Stone, both parties’ attorneys opened their statements agreeing that the image used on the cover art is indeed some of Brophy’s back tattoos. The legal teams also explained how the usage of the image came about. The graphic artist who designed the mixtape cover for Cardi replaced the model on the cover’s tattoos with part of Brophy’s.
The designer used a tiger and serpent he found online, which actually was Brophy’s ink.
“It felt like my Michelangelo was stolen off the wall and just literally ripped off and robbed and just put wherever these people wanted to put it,” Brophy expressed in court. “It looks like I’m giving oral sex to somebody that’s not my wife, somebody that’s not my partner, and an image that I never signed off on, ever.”
He added, “Being a father of two and a devoted husband and a man of faith as well, this goes against everything that I stand for, and I would never ever sign off on something like this.”
Peter J. Anderson, the Bronx rapper’s attorney, argued that Brophy’s stance is invalid. Anderson pointed out that the man on the cover art is actually a Black man whose hair is visible in the photo. The plaintiff is a white man who sports a shaved head.
In support of Anderson’s argument, additionally, the model on the cover doesn’t have all of Brophy’s tattoos — there’s a missing neck design. Cardi’s team argued that it’s unlikely that anyone would have seen the mixtape cover and immediately assumed it was Brophy with Cardi B.
“They have not identified any person, any member of the public, any friend who said that,” Anderson argued.
Claiming that the father of two is the one bringing attention to his tattoos, Anderson added, “That’s a self-inflicted wound. He caused that by identifying himself when no one else had identified him as being the person in the image.”
Cardi B’s lawyer argued that the graphic artist’s cover art design technically makes the model’s edited back tattoos a “new image.” Brophy’s attorney, A. Barry Cappello, argued that the “Bodak Yellow” rapper should have never used the body art at all — although it may have been without Cardi’s knowledge.
“This was his likeness,” Cappello said. “It’s the personal property, it’s the personal identity of a private citizen, not another celebrity. This is a private person. Unless you ask for it or you pay for it, you can’t take it under the laws of the land… You can’t take somebody else’s image and do something offensive with it, hold it in a false light.”
Cardi B is expected to testify sometime during the four-day trial. On Tuesday (Oct. 18), Cardi reportedly sat silently in court as her team presented their case, RS reports. District Judge Cormac J. Carney stated that the trial should continue this week.
Take a look at the model’s original back tattoo and edited version on Cardi B’s Gangst Bi**h Music Vol. 1 above. Thoughts?