The family of Civil
Rights activist Rosa Parks released a statement about the defamation of character
lawsuit against Outkast.
The lawsuit came
about when the Atlanta duo used Parks’ trademarked name on their hit record
"Rosa Parks," taken from their 1998 multi-platinum album, Aquemini.
our aunt would appreciate the fact that (Outkast’s) artistic gesture was designed
to keep her legacy alive and fresh in the mind of this generation and generations
to come,” the family said in a statement. “These lawsuits are only
about money and they [Park’s attorney Gregory Reed and her caregiver Elaine
Steele] are trying to acquire it from Outkast."
Gregory Reed denied
the family’s allegations and said that Outkast was not even a focus of
the lawsuit. The company that released their music, BMG was the actual target.
“Why is it
that we have them speaking now as opposed to earlier when she filed it?”
Reed said to AllHipHop.com. “I don’t blame the family, I just think
there is lack of understanding and they don’t know what the facts are.”
Reed said that
Parks hired his office to protect her name and said the notion of Outkast being
sued was the handy work of the label that distributes their music, BMG.
been hiding behind Outkast," Reed alleged. "We know the language is
not about Ms. Parks, it’s about musicians and emcee’s who are inferior
for sampling and not using live instrumentation, to ‘get to the back of the
Reed also defended
Elaine Steele, pointing out that the Parks and Steele had been life-long friends.
The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, to educate young
people throughout the country,” Reed pointed out. “The company needed
a marketing device in order to help their artist to sell a certain amount of
units. BMG, not Outkast. Outkast had sold only 10-13 million albums [worldwide]
prior to this record. When they put Ms. Parks’ song on, there was a worldwide
marketing campaign and when they did that, Outkast jumped to 70 million records
sold. Their music is great, they really didn’t need that. It gave them
leverage with Ms. Parks name and it also gave them their first Grammy.”
Reed alleged that BMG sought to profit off the use of Parks’ name in a
defamatory manner, by associating her name with objectionable language in Outkast’s
nothing against Outkast, or the Hip-Hop generation. She has issue with people
would market her with language she doesn’t approve of. Ms. Parks doesn’t
want her name associated with the words bulldogs and hoes. Why would anyone
associate the mother of the Civil Rights movement with this language? The company
that marketed this record is the world’s largest German company and they
are not sensitive to the African-American legacy or culture.”
Reed has mobilized
some of the most noted African-American lawyers in the country to fight the
German conglomerate when the trial starts January 10th. In addition to Reed,
Johnny Cochran, Willie Gary, Richard Manson and Stephanie Hammonds will defend
“We are geared
up to deal with this German machinery, in order to protect the legacy of Ms.
Parks and African-Americans," Reed said. "There is a bigger picture,
this isn’t just about Ms. Parks, its about protecting Malcolm X, Martin
Luther King, it’s protecting that whole movement that connects the older
generation to this younger generation. They have different standards and means
to bastardize our race.”
Parks, 91, helped
spurn the Civil Rights Movement when she refused to relinquish her city bus
seat to a white man in December 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama.
A subsequent boycott
by African-American’s led to the eventual court-appointed desegregation
of public transportation across the country.
medical records said Parks suffers from dementia and will not be able to answer
questions relating to her lawsuit against the multi-platinum group.
Last week, a judge
presiding over the case asked Dennis Archer, former mayor of Detroit and former
Michigan Supreme Court justice, to handle the paperwork pertaining to the lawsuit.