Australian web store, The Little Homie, may just have faced their 100th problem after being hit with a lawsuit from Jay Z.
The Little Homie is an Australian web store that sells hip-hop themed products, playing off artists and their lyrics. One of their products includes a book titled, ‘A B to Jay-Z’, sparking a response from the artist himself.
The lawsuit comes after multiple cease and desist letters were sent to the web store regarding their re-purposing of his lyrics. “If you’re having alphabet problems I feel bad for your son, I got 99 problems but my ABCs ain’t one.” reads the line. However after failing to respond accordingly, Hov opted to sue the store instead over trademark and copyright infringement.
Glancing over the nature of the web store, the products do not only seem to be a problem for Jay Z, but for hip-hop as a culture. According to the New York Times, the retailer says the book is set to “inspire the next generation of hood rats”. As per Collins Dictionary, hood rat is US derogatory slang and refers to a young promiscuous woman from an impoverished neighbourhood. Not exactly sure why company owner, Jessica Chiha, is looking to inspire a generation of ‘hood rats’.
Ms Chiha, who says she will be fighting the lawsuit, has been facing backlash since the creation of the product. Multiple Twitter users have expressed their discontent with the product and her actions.
“We are unbelievably disappointed to find ourselves caught in a legal battle with someone whose music we love and adore,” said Jessica Chiha.
The company owner has been seen referring to herself as J-Pain and her husband as Baby Daddy on her social media accounts, as pointed out by Twitter users. Her ‘Baby Daddy’ has also been accused of attending a blackface party.
Here is the authors husband and their friends. This is why we need to take all measures to protect our culture. This shit RIGHT HERE pic.twitter.com/CnRYKrvJwk
— ☿ s͎a͎v͎i͎o͎r͎s͎e͎l͎f͎ ⚓️? (@sweetfacedinero) July 4, 2017
A Case Of Cultural Appropriation
Taking a look at their website, most of their child models appear to be white, while the products feed off hip-hop – a culture predominantly created by black artists. And with no royalties and benefits going to the artists that are used in their books, ‘The Little Homie’ is clearly benefiting off using a foreign culture with no residuals.
Twitter users also dug through their Instagram account to find some questionable content that the company had posted.
So many problematic posts on the Insta account for the book ??♀️? pic.twitter.com/r7oFKmfbkm
— Jennifer (@jlglass17) July 4, 2017
It does seem kind of hard to defend against cultural appropriation claims after posting an image of a Caucasian child next to African American Vernicular Language.
Jay Z has remained one of hip-hop’s leading philanthropists, with ‘Black Excellence’ seeping into his music videos, as seen in ‘Moonlight’. And while he fights his case against ‘The Little Homie’, we’ll continue to make our case for cultural appropriation.
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