The family of New Orleans bounce legend Messy Mya is taking legal action after the artist was sampled on Beyonce’s 2016 single “Formation.” The family has launched a $20 million lawsuit against the singer and her affiliates for using Mya’s likeness on the prolific track and throughout her “Formation” world tour.
Nola reports Mya’s sister Angel Barre (the reported sole heir to his estate) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday (Feb. 7) seeking $20 million in damages for “willful copyright infringement, false endorsement, unfair trade practices and unjust enrichments.” Beyonce, her management company Parkwood Entertainment, Sony, and “Formation” director Melina Matsoukas were named in the suit. Mya is heard on the visual layout of “Formation.” The samples were borrowed from the viral videos, “Booking the Hoes from New Wildlings” and “A 27 Piece Huh?”
Barre’s attorneys claim Mya’s vocals have also been used during Beyonce’s live shows without the family’s consent. She reportedly reached out to the singer’s management in Oct. 2016 to secure proper licensing but failed. “When Angel Barre first heard Beyonce’s “Formation,” she was really excited, thrilled, in fact,” Glenda McKinley, a representative for Mya’s estate said. “It was overwhelming to hear his voice on one of the biggest stages ever.”
Mya was shot and killed in 2010 after leaving a baby shower for his unborn son. Before his death, he built a cult following on social media for his standout look and imitations of residents from New Orleans. Mya is survived by two children who weren’t named in the lawsuit.