Bishop T. D. Jakes, the senior pastor of The Potter’s House, is seeking legal action against the rapper for “stealing” his voice. Jay Wayne Jenkins, better known by his stage name Young Jeezy, sampled a portion of the Bishop’s sermon Don’t Let the Chatter Stop You in a song he remixed which includes fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar. Jakes is not pleased with the rapper’s decision to include his voice and is looking to the law to support his theory of theft.
The remix opens with a 24 second sampling of Jakes’ saying, “I’m under attack, but I’m still on fire. I’ve got some chatter, I’ve got some threat, I’ve got some liabilities but I’m still on fire. It’s not amazing that I’m on fire. I’ve been to hell and back, but I’m still on fire.” Jakes’ team made it clear that the rapper did not have permission to use his voice in the remixed version of the song Holy Ghost in a post on Facebook which reads:
SPECIAL NOTICE: The ‘Holy Ghost’ remix by Jeezy featuring Kendrick Lamar was produced without the knowledge or consent of T.D. Jakes, TDJ Enterprises, Dexterity Music or its associated companies. We are taking the necessary legal actions to stop the unauthorized use of T.D. Jakes’ intellectual property.
Young Jeezy is heard on the song rapping about a Rolls Royce that he has chosen to rename “Holy Ghost.” Bishop Jakes, who has been deemed “America’s pastor” by his many supporters, does not want to be associated with anything of the sort. On the hook of the song Jeezy’s rap mentions alcohol and women, among other “things” that he does in the back of his “Holy Ghost.”
Rapper Kendrick Lamar adds to the fury with his verse which starts, “I swear to the Lord as my shepherd…” Lamar goes on to spit, in his genius play-on-words style, about copping a Lexus and having sex with Alexis. He then raps about finding inner peace inside of heaven, diamond pieces in hell, culminating with the question, “Will I burn?” The fans love it but Jakes is not pleased with either of the rappers’ lyrics.
Bishop Jakes is internationally known and well-loved by many people, in the church and outside of the church. He has written numerous books, produced movies, received Grammy and Dove Award nominations for his choir’s Gospel album, as well as received 13 honorary degrees and doctorates among other achievements. The famed Bishop pastors a 30,000 member church, holds conferences and speaks on a variety of platforms around the world in efforts of helping mankind reach a place of wholeness.
The Bishop has been recognized around the world for his ability to teach and reach others. However, experts in the legal field believe the recent claim made against Young Jeezy might be a difficult feat for the Bishop. Jonathan Kirsch, a Los Angeles lawyer, said “This sounds like a strong fair use case” because the law actually permits limited use of copyrighted material without permission.
The lawyer referenced a ruling from 1994 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of 2 Live Crew, a rap group from Miami, when they used the hit song by Roy Orbison, Oh, Pretty Woman. In a unanimous decision the court agreed the rap group was within their rights to use some of the song because it was considered fair use. To copy a small portion of another’s work in order to establish a point, in most cases, is legal. Kirsch added:
The notion of taking a cultural artifact, like a sermon, and using a small portion to make a comment on the role of religion in people’s consciousness is very similar.
Fans may love the collaboration of Young Jeezy and Kendrick Lamar on the Holy Ghost remix but Bishop Jakes has a different opinion. The renowned pastor of The Potter’s House mega church in Dallas, Texas is seeking legal action to stop the unauthorized use of his intellectual property. The remixed version of song was released online, but not on the version that appears on Young Jeezy’s latest album Seen It All. Legal experts believe this may be a case the Bishop cannot win due to “fair use.”
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)