New Orleans Bounce Group Sues Beyoncé, Big Freedia For Copyright Infringement

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Beyoncé faces a new lawsuit over hit single, “Break My Soul.” Showstoppaz, a New Orleans-based group, claims Beyoncé infringed their 2002 song, “Release a Wiggle,” for her single, “Break My Soul” by legally sampling Big Freedia’s 2014 song, “Explode.”

Big Freedia, who is legally known as Freddie Ross, is also named in the lawsuit.

Band members Tessa Avie, Keva Bourgeois, Henri Braggs, and Brian Clark filed a complaint in Louisiana federal court on May 22. The now-defunct band alleges that Big Freedia illegally used key lyrics from their song to create “Explode.”

“While Mrs. Carter…and others have received many accolades and substantial profits…Da Showstoppaz has received nothing—no acknowledgment, no credit, no remuneration of any kind,” the group’s attorneys wrote in an email to Billboard. “Any reasonable person listening to ‘Release A Wiggle’ and ‘Explode’ would conclude that the songs are substantially similar.”

Copyright law doesn’t typically doesn’t protect “short, simple phrases,” which means a judge could easily dismiss the case. However, Da Showstoppaz’ lawyers are confident in their case, stating that the band has a copyright to their “distinctive lyrics.”

“The coined term and phrase ‘release a/yo wiggle’ has now become closely synonymous with Big Freedia, thereby contributing to Big Freedia’s fame,” however, Big Freedia did not compose or write the phrase, and Big Freedia never credited Da Showstoppaz as the source, the lawsuit says.

Also named in the suit are Sony Music, Parkwood Entertainment, and Beyoncé’s husband, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, who is credited as a writer on the song.

The plaintiffs claim they first learned about Big Freedia’s “Explode” through Beyoncé’s 2022 single. They claim they tried to contact Beyoncé’s camp but received no response.

“Break My Soul” was the lead single for Beyoncé’s 2022 album, Renaissance. The song, which also samples Robin S.’s “Show Me Love,” topped Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for two weeks.

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