It’s now been a year since Beyoncé dropped the video for “Formation,” the lead single off her black love opus, Lemonade. The entire album has many notable samples, including nods to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Isaac Hayes, Soulja Boy, and Outkast. But the opening for “Formation” came from someone without the same recognition—that would be Anthony Barré a.k.a Messy Mya, the late New Orleans bounce artist and YouTube celebrity. Messy Mya’s reference to “what happened at the New Wil’ins” is paired with images of a post-Katrina New Orleans in the “Formation” video.

It’s powerful stuff, and could very well help Beyoncé nab a couple (more) Grammys this year. But it appears that the sample and a couple of others might not have been obtained through the proper channels. TMZ reports that the family of Barré, who was murdered in 2010, have filed suit against Beyoncé for using quotes from his viral videos. That includes Messy Mya’s catchphrase “I like that,” which was served as his seal of approval. Barré’s estate claims they tried repeatedly to get in touch with Beyoncé over the samples, but never heard back. They’re now suing for $20,000,000 in back royalties and other damages.

Advertisement