Grammy-award winning gospel music veteran and preacher Shirley Caesar has sued Atlanta-based DJ Keenan Webb, more commonly known as DJ Suede, for the unauthorized use of her sermon and song in "U Name it Challenge."
The 78-year-old gospel artist has filed an injunction against the DJ, Empire Distribution and Julian Boothe, alleging at least $5 million in losses due to their failure to take down the video rendition of a portion of her sermon and song in 2010, featuring an explicit portrayal of alcohol in it. The DJ posted the video in November.
Atty. James Walker, Caesar's lawyer, said that former juvenile court judge Glenda Hatchett had decided that the video and its images of alcohol "violate the brand, image and name of a Christian pastor."
Hatchett, now an attorney working with Walker's office on the case, said that the song risked a deal that Caesar was working on with famous rapper Snoop Dogg, the proceeds of which would have gone to charity.
Caesar's 2010 sermon and song named the gospel artist's blessings, namely "the greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes" that would be on her dinner table. Last month, that part of the song became a viral Thanksgiving-themed "U Name it Challenge."
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In Snoop Dogg's version of the "U Name it Holiday Anthem," the rapper made use of Caesar's famous line, including spiritual undertones while describing his holiday feast. Recently, however, Caesar's song has become a viral sensation, with several people creating dances to her song posted on YouTube. Caesar admitted that she was dismayed by the manner in which her song is now being used.
"I'm really excited about everything that's going on. When you look and see all the gyrations and especially the women. I can even put up with the dancing, but all of the shaking and the twerking and all of that," she said in an interview with TMZ.
"I just want everybody to know that I'm a gospel singer, I'm a born-again believer, I'm a pastor, and I don't ever want anything to bring a negative reflection on what I stand for," said the singer.