Lawyer: Cardi B ‘humiliated’ man by using his likeness for racy image on mixtape

A woman frames her chin with her hands in front of a backdrop
Cardi B at the Diamond Ball benefit gala in New York on Sept. 12, 2019.
(Charles Sykes / Invision / Associated Press)

A self-described family man with a distinctive back tattoo felt “humiliated: after Cardi B allegedly misused his likeness for her sexually suggestive mixtape cover art, his lawyer said during opening arguments in a lawsuit against the singer Tuesday.

Kevin Michael Brophy is suing the Grammy-winning musician in a $5-million copyright infringement suit in federal court in Santa Ana. His attorneys say Brophy’s life was disrupted and he suffered distress because of the 2016 artwork.

Brophy’s lawyer A. Barry Cappello said photo-editing software was used to put the back tattoo, which has appeared in tattoo magazines, onto the male model used in the mixtape cover. The image shows a tattooed man from behind with his head between the rapper’s legs. The man’s face cannot be seen.

Cardi B faces 15 days of community service after pleading guilty to assault and reckless endangerment charges springing from a 2018 fight in a strip club.

Sept. 16, 2022


Cardi B, who is expected to testify during the trial, is fighting the allegations and said an artist used only a “small portion” of the tattoos without her knowledge. She had previously said the cover art — created by Timm Gooden — was transformative fair use of Brophy’s likeness.

“Their life has been disrupted,” Cappello told the jury as Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Almánzar, watched from the defense table. He said the image disturbed Brophy along with his wife, Lindsay Michelle Brophy, who he says initially questioned her husband if it was him in the cover art. The couple has two young children.

Brody has said he once considered his back tattoo, featuring a tiger battling a serpent, to be a “Michelangelo piece” that has since become “raunchy and disgusting.”

Rapper Cardi B talked with Zane Lowe about her new single, ‘Hot S—,’ and what it was like working with Ye.

July 1, 2022

Defense filings have pointed out that the model who posed for the photos was Black, while Brophy is white.

Cardi B’s lawyer Peter Anderson said Brophy and the mixtape image are unrelated. He noted the model did not have tattoos on his neck, which Brophy does.

“Brophy’s face wasn’t on the mixtape,” Anderson said during his opening statement. “She was already popular. It has nothing to do with Brophy.”


But Brophy contested in court that everyone who knows him believed he was on the mixtape cover. He said the image was something he would never approve.

Brophy said he sent a cease-and-desist letter to Cardi B’s representatives to remove the tattoo, but he never received a response.

“For me, it was something I took a lot of pride in,” Brophy said about his tattoo. “Now, that image feels devalued. I feel robbed. I feel completely disregarded. There’s a lot of things I would like to be spending time on. But the only way to get this removed was to come here to this courtroom.”

Rapper Cardi B reacted to the criticism around her ranking on Rolling Stone’s ‘200 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums’ list.

July 6, 2022

Cappello said Gooden was paid $50 to create a design but was then told to find another tattoo after he turned in an initial draft. He said Gooden searched for “back tattoos” on the internet before he found an image and pasted it on the cover.

Last month, Cardi B pleaded guilty to assault and reckless endangerment in a criminal case stemming from a pair of brawls at New York City strip clubs and was ordered to perform 15 days of community service. Earlier this year, the rapper was awarded $1.25 million in a defamation suit against a celebrity news blogger who posted videos falsely stating she used cocaine, had contracted herpes and engaged in prostitution.