Pastor Shirley Caesar has issued a statement via her attorney after reportedly filing a $5 million lawsuit against DJ Suede, the originator of the popular #UNameItChallenge.
The statement reads:
Pastor Shirley Caesar has been totally surprised by the response to her old “Hold My Mule” song remixed. She eventually appreciated the fun many had in creating and sharing videos under the #UNameItChallenge with her remixed song. In fact, she has raised money for charity via UnameitShirley.com in support of the viral challenge. In addition, she will be giving out toys and food for thousands of people with our Toys For Tots program after church next Sunday and all are invited to come and support.
Unfortunately, similar to you, we as a team, were laughing and enjoying the video challenge, until we recently discovered that DJ Suede, Empire Records and another party, took the original popular song and phrase and illegally released a different record on I-Tunes without our written permission. They even did a video highlighting alcohol and negative imagery- and sold many downloads. We asked them repeatedly to remove these negative materials as we never saw the video or heard the song prior to them selling it –and, it was not a parody, but the song was created commercially for sale and profits. When they refused to remove the commercial song from the Internet and the video, to protect Pastor’s legacy and what Shirley Caesar stands for, we had to take legal action, secure a temporary injunction and order DJ Suede to remove the video, as well as cease and desist sales.
We want to make it clear Pastor Caesar does not endorse the imagery or abuse of alcohol endorsed in the video by having her voice everywhere on the track. Please also note, we have not filed any lawsuits or sued anyone even though it is my right. But, it is our hope and prayer that DJ Suede and Empire will do the right thing, and respect Pastor Caesar’s legacy, image and name and follow the Court injunction ordering them to remove this video and the I-Tunes song, a clear violation of copyright and trademark laws.
We look forward to the good work that will come of the #UNameitChallenge and want people to continue enjoying the song for the holidays and years to come.
For Shirley Caesar