Hip Hop Court
On Monday, January 24th, Cardi B potentially scored a culture-shifting win after a jury awarded her a $1.25 million judgment in a defamation lawsuit against celebrity gossip blogger LaTasha Kebe, professionally known as Tasha K.
Three years ago, Cardi B federally sued YouTuber Tasha K for defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress after the celebrity blogger publicly spread rumors that the Bronx rapper had herpes, did cocaine, and worked as a prostitute.
The shit show of a trial was two weeks of the usually bombastic Tasha K stuttering on the stand, her lawyers being scolded by the judge, and she and her husband throwing each other under the bus.
The jury's $1.25 million judgment is broken down as: $1 million for pain and suffering and $250k for medical expenses.
On January 25, Tuesday, Cardi B and Tasha K returned to court to determine punitive damages and attorney fees. The Georgia federal court jury ended up awarding Cardi B every penny she requested - $1, 338,753.47 with an additional $1.5 million in punitive damages
In total Tasha K's lies cost her approx. $3.8 million.
CULTURE SHIFT II?
While some view Cardi's victory as nothing more than an isolated incident between a rapper and an overzealous YouTuber, others see yesterday's win as a precedent case for entertainment law.
It is still too early to determine which side is correct, but this would not be the first time Cardi B shifted the culture of celebrity blogging.
Before Cardi B, rap beefs were won on the mic or charts; after Cardi B, they were won in the blogs. Cardi's rise in Hip Hop coincided with the increased popularity of YouTubers like Tasha K and DJ Akademiks, along with the practice of influencers using messy bloggers to take down their competition (an approach I still believe is going on).
Cardi B identified this shift early and capitalized off it by recognizing the value of cultivating relationships with 100 small bloggers, who desperately want celebrity access, over a few big blogs who have relationships with 100 other celebs. This was a major key to her success, in my opinion.
She and other celebrities who built relationships with bloggers on Youtube and IG gave these smaller blogs the power and influence that once was only reserved for major blog sites like Rap Radar or TMuthafcknZ.
Well, Cardi B giveth and she taketh away.
So, while I credit Cardi B as the female rapper who removed the gatekeepers and showed that a blog is never too small to get exclusives and influence the culture, this victory against Tasha K exposed that they are also never too small to be sued.
NEVER TOO SMALL TO SUE
I know many of you will say that Tasha K was not small, but she actually is in the grand scheme of things. Tasha K is not known outside of the urban blogging world, and she only hit a million followers because of her Cardi B reporting. In fact, this lawsuit is why her name will be known outside of that bubble.
Cardi B could have easily ignored her, but she CHOSE to make an example out of her ass.
So YouTubers/IG bloggers who mimicked Tasha K's reckless way of reporting on celebrity gossip and fooled themselves into believing they were too small for A-Listers to sue; now know they are not.
Now we wait to see if they change or risk being the next blogger stuck tripping over their words while on the stand, having to admit that they lied to their viewers, their sources do not exist, and that you cannot wipe your ass with a cease and desist.
WHO GOT NEXT?
Which small blogger do you think will be next to be sued?
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