Despite the tribute nature of Outkast’s “Rosa Parks” single, the song’s namesake has come forward to lodge a formal complaint about the use of her name to help promote both the song and the album it’s included on, “Aquemini.”
Rosa Parks, the woman who helped spawn the civil rights movement by refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, has hired an attorney to negotiate with Outkast and BMG, the group’s parent label.
According to Richard Manson, president of the Millennium Entertainment Group that represents Parks, the 86-year-old activist feels that she’s been exploited by the use of her name, and is seeking to halt sales of the record, claiming that her Rights of Publicity have been violated.
“[Outkast] did not confer with Mrs. Parks about using her name or likeness in the song in question,” Manson said, “and she views this as the same kind of conduct that she faced 40 years ago, an abuse of people.”
Manson said that a lawsuit
has yet to be filed in the matters, but that the papers were presently being conferred over and drawn-up. He added that representatives for BMG and Parks had been in contact with regard to the matter for the last three months, and that only recently had BMG broken off talks.
Rights of Publicity guarantee that one person cannot use another person’s name, image or likeness for commercial gain without that person’s consent — unless its usage is deemed to serve some overriding public benefit.
Representatives for Outkast had not returned phone calls seeking comment on the matter by press time.