Kiely Williams, a founding member of R&B trio 3LW, went to Instagram Live to break her silence regarding a copyright infringement lawsuit involving 3LW’s “Playas Gon’ Play” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
In a five-minute video posted on Friday morning (Aug. 12), Williams cleared the air about the current trial and how she nor group members Adrienne Bailon and Naturi Naughton are involved.
Williams emphasized that the lawsuit is between songwriters Sean Hall and Nate Butler, who allege Swift plagiarized lyrics from 3LW’s 2001 single, which they co-wrote together. (Hall also produced the song, which appeared on 3LW’s self-titled album.)
“It has nothing to do with me,” said Williams, who mentioned that the only reason she is addressing the situation is that fans, including the Swifties (the name of Swift’s fan base), are confused.
“We did not write ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ and I’m not defending Adrienne or Naturi, but it’s true. So don’t come on their page. Don’t say anything. Nobody’s suing [Taylor].”
The lawsuit, filed in 2017 by Hall and Butler, alleges that Swift’s 2014 hit “Shake It Off,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, borrows lines from “Playas Gon’ Play,” particularly in the chorus.
In Swift’s song, she sings, “‘cause the players gonna play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate.” Hall and Butler’s lawsuit points out the similarities between Taylor’s chorus and 3LW’s “playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate.”
Swift stated in a declaration this week that she had never heard of 3LW or their song “Playas Gon’ Play” until the lawsuit.
“I have never seen a ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ music video, never attended any concert where 3LW performed, and never attended any concert where the song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ was performed,” Swift wrote. “I do not own any 3LW albums or singles, or any recording of ‘Playas Gon’ Play.'”
Swift also noted that “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” were common phrases that she heard growing up.
“I recall hearing phrases about players play and haters hate stated together by other children while attending school in Wyomissing Hills, and in high school in Hendersonville,” Swift wrote.
“These phrases were akin to other commonly used sayings like ‘don’t hate the playa, hate the game,’ ‘take a chill pill,’ and ‘say it, don’t spray it.'”
But Williams isn’t concerned about Swift not knowing her group’s song, which peaked at No. 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 2001.
Instead, she urges Swift to “educate” her fans on “the difference between the artist and the writer” because she doesn’t want to be tied to the matter. Apparently, Williams has been “receiving increasing numbers of hate” from Swift’s fans due to the case.
“The point of all of this is to say and to educate you all since that’s not being done. We didn’t write the song. We’re not suing Taylor Swift. We aren’t even a thing,” said Williams. “I’m speaking for myself, but what’s right is right. [Adrienne and Naturi] didn’t write the song either. They don’t deserve any kind of flack for it and the whole bringing our actual names into it.”
Williams continued, “I really felt compelled just because it’s been escalating. I’ve been watching it and I’m like, ‘Oh, I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. I’m good.’ But like what? Okay. You’ve never heard of [the song]. Okay, that’s your defense. That’s fine. But please educate people on the fact that it has nothing to do with us.
When you say things like that, it’s inflammatory. Because now, once you bring the group’s name into it, it becomes like these money-grabbing bitches are just trying to take some of Taylor’s coins. Nope. I don’t want her coins.”
In her video statement, Williams also pointed out that these copyright lawsuits are “common in music rights” and will eventually be settled in court.
Williams also mentioned that she isn’t taking sides regarding the matter and “wish both parties the best of luck in their endeavors.”
She even said both “Shake It Off” and “Playas Gon’ Play” are great songs and all parties should be proud of their work — so there’s no bad blood from her.
According to NPR, the next hearing in this case is set for Sept. 19.
In 2021, Williams starred in BET Presents: The Encore, a reality series that followed the formation of an R&B supergroup.
The group, later named BluPrint, included Williams, Shamari Devoe, Fallon King, Felisha King-Harvey and Pamela Long, who were all part of successful girl groups from the ‘90s and 2000s. In August of that year, BluPrint released their self-titled debut EP.
The six-track project included songwriting and production from Fallon and Felisha, as well as from Kosine (Nicki Minaj, Tamar Braxton), Elijah Blake (Usher, Keyshia Cole), Bianca Atterberry, a.k.a Blush (Fantasia, Chris Brown), and more.
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