Family Of Rosa Parks Issues Statement Supporting Outkast, Lawyer Responds To Allegations

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.

"We believe

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.

“BMG has

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

bus.’”

Reed also defended

Elaine Steele, pointing out that the Parks and Steele had been life-long friends.

“They founded

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

song.

“She has

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

Parks.

“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.

Recently unsealed

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.

Related Stories