Despite publicly embracing the social media craze that centered on a verse of one of her songs, gospel star Shirley Caesar is now looking to erase a particular take of the popular #UNameItChallenge.
On Thursday, Caesar filed a $5 million lawsuit against internet personality DJ Suede for, as reported by CBS 46, unauthorized use of “Hold My Mule,” the song that inspired the viral challenge. According to Caesar, an award-winning musician and pastor, Suede interpolated the segment of “Hold My Mule” into a full-length song, which she feels stood in the way of an authorized remix featuring rapper Snoop Dogg gaining traction and by connection, becoming profitable.
Atlanta judge Glenda Hatchett, formerly of syndicated television program Judge Hatchett, concurred that Suede’s song hindered proceeds that were meant to be raised by the Snoop Lion collaboration for charities to feed the hungry.
“DJ Suede and his management were in conversations with [Caesar’s] lawyer [to release the song],” she explained to CBS 46. “They didn’t reach an agreement, [but] they put it out anyway.”
Shirley’s lawyer, James Walker, made it clear that the initial run of #UNameItChallenge videos, which piece together clips a 2010 live performance of “Hold My Mule” with other celebrity appearances, was not the issue, and that Caesar was still very much a fan of it.
“Unknown to us, [another] video [was made],” Walker relayed in a statement.
In Suede’s music video, a family gathering on Thanksgiving involving alcohol beverages and lewd dancing are interspersed with a rap verse by the remixer. According to Caesar, the images of alcohol throughout the clip “violate the brand, image and name of a Christian pastor,” and has additionally caused damage to her overall public persona.
Furthermore, by selling the track on iTunes and releasing an “official” video for it, Caesar says that Suede, who resides in Gwinnett County, a subset of Georgia, illegally made money for a song that wasn’t his to begin with. Walker also remarked that the Snoop version, which is pretty “clean” compared to most of the two-plus-decade long rapper’s discography, was purposely done in such a way to maintain the well-regarded, pristine image of his client.
“Snoop did his clean version to send the message that ‘this is Shirley Caesar,’ [and] need to honor her,'” he said.
Caesar, 78, has long since shared her support of the #UNameItChallenge, going as far as to sell aprons with printed lyrics of its notable verse (“I’ve got greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes…”) on her official website. Sitting down with The Willie Moore Jr. Show, as noted by the Inquisitr in mid-November, she gleefully shared how she first learned of the trend.
“I was out in the middle of the ocean [on a cruise], and one of the members from my church showed it to me,” she remarked. “It [was] so strange, [because] I’ve been doing [“Hold My Mule”] for years.”
She then followed that up with a live version of the final lyrics of the song.
In her defense, however, she also told TMZ how she wasn’t a fan of people dancing provocatively to a song that was mainly recorded for Christian audiences.
“I like, what I would call, the original one,” Caesar expressed, “because it was taken from a live recording session that I did at my church.”
“However,” she continued, “[as] a gospel singer, a born-again believer [in Jesus Christ], and a pastor. I don’t want anything to bring a [negative] reflection on what I stand for.”
As of early Friday evening, DJ Suede’s version of the #UNameItChallenge was still accessible on YouTube and still available for purchase on iTunes. He has yet to publicly respond to Caesar’s suit.
[Featured Image by Pool/Getty Images]