Miley Cyrus has been accused of cultural appropriation on more than a few occasions, but a current lawsuit is suggesting far more than appropriation took place on her 2013 hit single ‘We Can’t Stop’.
Michael May, who had a Jamaican hit single in 1988 under the name Flourgon, said his ‘We Run Things’ has been misappropriated for Miley’s hit single, claiming half the song is stolen. We checked: it’s not.
More specifically he zeroes in on the phrase ““We run things, things no run we,” which Miley changed to, “We run things, things don’t run we.”
He claims his 1988 hit has been “a favorite for lovers of reggae music worldwide” for three decades now, and Miley’s million-seller “owes the basis of its chart-topping popularity to and its highly-lucrative success to plaintiff May’s protected, unique, creative and original content.”
We checked: it doesn’t.
The lawsuit was filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan and is attempting to halt sales and further public performances of the song, with lawyers describing the suit as a $300 million case.
We’ve put both tracks side-by-side, and — the blatant lifting of Lesley Gore’s excellent 1963 emo classic ‘I’ll Cry If I Want To’ aside — it doesn’t seem like Miley has too strong a case to answer.
Funnily enough,’We Can’t Stop’ was kept from hitting #1 back in 2013 by ‘Blurred Lines’, itself very much the recent precedent for these musically-dubious, legally-murky copyright claims.