Donald Glover, otherwise known by his alter-ego Childish Gambino, has avoided what could prove to be an expensive lawsuit. It turns out that fans who have a great ear for music not only suggested artist Jase Harley’s 2016 song “American Pharaoh” sounds like Gambino’s “This is America” they flat out accused him of stealing it. Donald Glover’s producer says the song is actually three years old and predates Harley’s “American Pharoah”
Unlike the legal battle between Marvin Gaye’s estate and the Pharrell and Robin Thicke hit “Blurred Lines” (the estate won on the premise that they had “lifted elements” from Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up”) it appears Harley is giving Glover a free pass and won’t challenge the claims.
While there is a saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery there is also a lot of money to be made by winning a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Luckily for Glover, it appears Harley has no intention of suing but instead is complimented that Glover was inspired by his song “American Pharoah.” Again, Glover’s producer says that isn’t the case and there wasn’t any copyright infringement because their song was first.
Harley posted about the controversy on his official Instagram.
“jaseharleyI feel extremely humbled to be recognized and labeled as one or the original inspirations for one of the most important pieces of music and visual art of our time.
“I appreciate all the love and support! But PLEASE DON’T let this controversy dilute the message me and @childishgambino are trying to convey. We are speaking about injustices we’ve encountered and he’s helped to provide a platform for all our voices to be heard.
“Let’s not discredit him for that! The focus should be on affecting change in our communities and building equality. This is bigger than me and him and bigger than music. Let’s not lose focus ?? #noonewinswhenthefamilyfeuds #futurists”
Social media is buzzing about the news and not many people agree that Glover shouldn’t be held accountable for the song.
There was a similar controversy when Beyonce’s “Formation” came out and she was accused of stealing samples and even video footage. The family of deceased artist Messy Mya has filed suit against Beyonce for 20 million.
Fans are speaking up and sharing varied opinions. Some say that it was imitation, flattery and that Harley should be thankful Childish Gambino found his music good enough to inspire his own song. Others say that Glover straight up stole the song and should pay Jase Harley. Still, some believe that Glover’s song came first.
What do you think? Have you listened to both songs? Do you believe they are similar?