Home Crime Shaft Raphael: Cardi B’s Ex-Manager Testifies In Album Cover Tattoo Trial

Shaft Raphael: Cardi B’s Ex-Manager Testifies In Album Cover Tattoo Trial

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Shaft Raphael: Cardi B’s Ex-Manager Testifies In Album Cover Tattoo Trial

Inside ‘Shaft Raphael’ Cardi B’s former manager testified Thursday that he stands by the mixtape cover that features a portion of a tattoo inked on the back of the man who’s suing her, saying he believes it’s protected by the First Amendment.

Shaft Raphael: Cardi B’s Ex-Manager Testifies In Album Cover Tattoo Trial

“The First Amendment allows you to transform and edit and create your own artwork,” Klenord “Shaft” Raphael said.

He also disputed inferences from plaintiff Mike Brophy’s lawyer that he distributed Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1, at no cost in 2016 as a marketing tool to eventually make money.

“It wasn’t about the money. … It’s to get Cardi B in every single household, her music in every single household,” Raphael said. “This girl had a voice. She had something to say. And my job was first to make sure the world knew she had this talent.”

Raphael grew emotional as he described Cardi’s meteoric rise to fame, telling the jury of four men and four women, “Ladies and gentlemen, I can’t do it. I had help. Every single rap girl takes 10 years.”

But Cardi?

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“She made it in 3 years. Incredible. I didn’t do it. I’m just the manager. I cleared the path, and she’s number 1,” Raphael said. He recalled helping secure her $10,000 an episode for 12 episodes of the realty show Love & Hip Hop after fans questioning why she wasn’t in an episode made her the top trending topic on Twitter.

“Unheard of,” Shaft said, adding that Meek Mill’s lawyer said he’d never seen the pay Cardi secured with no experience.

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“From that point on, she was America’s darling,” Raphael said.

Raphael has sat at the back defense table for all testimony the representative of his company KSR Group LLC, which is a defendant in the lawsuit along with Cardi and her company, Washpoppin Co. Brophy, a married father of two who lives in Costa Mesa, California, is seeking $5 million, accusing Cardi and the companies of misappropriating his likeness. Released in 2016, the cover of Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1, was created using a photo of Cardi posing with a male model who everyone agrees is not Brophy.

Graphic designer Timm Gooden found on the Internet a photo of a tattoo that turned out to be Brophy’s, and superimposed the upper portion, including a tiger and serpent, onto the model’s back. But as Gooden testified to on Thursday, he didn’t include everything: Brophy’s back has waves, rose petals and the phrase “Born to Lose” on his neck while the man on the mixtape cover doesn’t. Raphael also repeatedly testified Thursday that the man clearly is not Brophy, telling Cardi’s lawyer Jonathan Segal that the reason he never removed the tattoo from the mixtape cover or asked Atlantic Records to do so, is because, despite Brophy’s claims, he doesn’t see a problem with the cover.

“It wasn’t Mr. Brophy,” Raphael said. “He’s not Black. He doesn’t have hair.”

This is a developing story.

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