Following an appearance by Donald Glover (who performs musically as Childish Gambino) on the BET Awards Sunday night, fans suggested that he “stole” his No. 1 single “This is America” from NYC rapper Jase Harley’s song “American Pharaoh.”
The controversy began on Reddit and spread through Twitter and Instagram.
Glover’s creative partner and “This Is America” music video producer Fam Rothstein denied the plagiarism claim on Twitter, writing that the “song is 3 years old, and we have Pro Tools files to prove it.”
Several hours later, Rothstein’s tweet was deleted.
So, do they have the ProTools files that pre-date Harley’s 2016 “American Pharoah,” or nah?
Someone wrote to Harley on Instagram, “People are saying Donald Glover bit your song ‘American Pharoah’ with ‘This Is America.’ What do you think?” Harley responded, “I always felt my song inspired it lol from the first time I heard it.”
Harley added, “It’s cool tho…. Glad they liked my song. It’s all love.” He also wrote that “a shout out would be cool,” that it’s “dope [he] could’ve had some influence on the record,” and that “all artist get inspired by others.”
Later, Harley addressed the issue on IG, writing: “I 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,” he wrote.
He then asked that “this controversy” not “dilute the message me and [Glover] are trying to convey.” He continued, “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!”
Read Harley’s full statement below.
View this post on Instagram
I feel extremely humbled to be recognized and labeled as one of 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
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