South Carolina

Parents sue Kanye West for using video clip of 4-year-old girl preaching in SC

Kanye West performs during the Kanye West: The Saint Pablo Tour at Philips Arena in September 2016, in Atlanta.
Kanye West performs during the Kanye West: The Saint Pablo Tour at Philips Arena in September 2016, in Atlanta. Robb Cohen/Invision/AP

The parents of the 4-year-old girl whose preaching video went viral on Instagram are suing Kanye West for sampling the video in his “Ultralight Beam” song on the 2016 album The Life of Pablo.

In the January 2016 Instagram video of 4-year-old Natalie Green, she’s shown preaching over a woman in a car, saying “We don’t want no devils in this house.” Her adopted parents say West talked to the girl’s biological mother to get permission to use the video, but she did not have the authority to make the agreement and he should have talked to her legal parents, the suit argues.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in South Carolina, says the biological mother “verbally agreed to allow Defendant West to use the Green Samples in a song in his upcoming album in exchange for payment in an amount to be negotiated at a later date.”

West and Def Jam Records, which put out the album, never sent a contract to the girl’s biological mother or adopted parents, the lawsuit says, and never sent any money for using the samples in the beginning of the first track on the album.

In the first 28 seconds of the track, the girl can be heard saying, “We don’t want no devils in the house God. We want the lord, and that’s it,” according to the lawsuit. The girl, and her biological mother are in a car with her as she “prays over” her adopted mother during a trip to Atlanta “to seek good fortune for her trip,” the lawsuit says.

The girl’s biological mother shot the video, according to the court filing.

The lawsuit notes that the adopted parents have been negotiating with West and the record company over payment for the samples, but the deadline to file a lawsuit was coming up so they “were forced to file this suit to protect their rights.”

West recently settled a separate lawsuit over The Life of Pablo album, The Verge reports. A fan, Justin Baker-Rhett, sued West after the artist said the album would be available exclusively on the Tidal music streaming site, according to The Verge.

“A couple of weeks later, however, The Life of Pablo was available to stream on both Apple Music and Spotify. Baker-Rhett felt conned into purchasing a Tidal subscription, which cost $9.99 per month at the time,” the site reported.

West settled that suit for an undisclosed amount, The Verge said.

West, Def Jam Records and the other defendants have yet to respond to the lawsuit.

Rapper Kanye West met with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on October 11, 2018. He was wearing his MAGA hat and spoke about his support for the commander-in-chief.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.
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