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Cardi B takes to the stand in mixtape artwork trial

By | Published on Thursday 20 October 2022

Cardi B

There were fiery exchanges when Cardi B took to the stand yesterday in the ongoing court case over the artwork to her 2016 mixtape ‘Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1’.

The rapper – real name Belcalis Almánzar – is fighting a lawsuit filed by Kevin Brophy. A photo of his distinctive tattoo was Photoshopped onto the cover of the 2016 mixtape, so that it appeared on the back of a man who was positioned to look like he was performing oral sex on the rapper.

Brophy says that the unauthorised use of the tattoo image means people assume it is him who appears in the photo, and – given the explicit nature of the artwork – that has resulted in him facing frequent “uncomfortable comments, questions, and ridicule from community members and family”. In his lawsuit he claims that Almánzar and her team infringed his so called publicity rights.

On Tuesday, Brophy told the court that the mixtape artwork had left him “distressed” and “ashamed”, and “anxious” that his two children will one day see the image. Meanwhile, his lawyer, A Barry Cappello, said that Almánzar had repeatedly ignored cease and desist demands from his client, who had requested that she stop using the image that contained his tattoo.

But in court yesterday, Almánzar argued that Brophy wasn’t interested in stopping the use of the artwork, he just saw an easy pay day. According to Billboard, she said: “This is not about taking anything down – y’all have been harassing me for $5 million”. And that’s significantly more than she made from the mixtape, she added. Like, over 20 times more.

She also echoed comments made by her lawyer the previous day to the effect that she was not hands on involved in creating the artwork or releasing the mixtape, and also that there is no evidence that people actually connected Brophy to the image until he started talking about it.

After all, she explained, the man on to which Brophy’s tattoo was Photoshopped is black and has hair. Brophy, meanwhile, is white with a shaved head. “It’s not Mr Brophy”, she declared, according to Law360, before adding: “It don’t look like Mr Brophy”.

The back and forth between Cappello and Almánzar was certainly eventful, with the judge dismissing the jury twice in order to calm things down. And at one point he threatened to declare a mistrial, telling Cappello that he’d “totally crossed the line” after he dubbed Almánzar’s responses to his questions as “canned testimony”.

But Cappello did ultimately complete his questioning of the rapper, meaning the case now continues.