Over two decades ago, Jay-Z hired New York City-based photographer Jonathan Mannion to shoot the cover for his debut album, Reasonable Doubt. Fast-forward 25 years, and Jay Z is suing Mannion for exploitation stemming from images from that same photo shoot.
According to a report via TMZ on Tuesday (June 15), Jay Z is suing Jonathan Mannion and his company, Jonathan Mannion Photography, LLC, over claims that Mannion is utilizing Jay Z’s name and image without his permission. Jay has also accused the famed photographer of having the rapper’s name all over his website and selling images of Hov for thousands of dollars.
Additionally, Jay-Z reportedly claims that he never gave Mannion permission to use his images. In fact, the outlet says that when Jay asked Mannion to stop using his photos, the photographer allegedly demanded tens of millions of dollars.
Jigga has also accused Mannion of making an “arrogant assumption that because he took those photographs, he can do with them as he pleases.”
When Mannion took the pictures of Jay Z in the mid-1990s, the lauded rapper says the photographer took hundreds of photos at the time. Back then, Jay’s label, Roc-A-Fella Records, used some of the images for Jay-Z’s first album and compensated Mannion for them.
Jay additionally claims that Mannion uses images of Jigga on the main page of his website where the hip-hop photog sells Jay-Z pictures and merchandise. However, Jay notes that he is very strict about the use of his “name, likeness, identity and persona,” which he did not give Mannion permission to use for himself.
Jay Z reportedly adds that it is “ironic that a photographer would treat the image of a formerly-unknown Black teenager, now wildly successful, as a piece of property to be squeezed for every dollar it can produce. It stops today.”
Jay-Z’s lawsuit against Jonathan Mannion is to immediately cease the selling of pictures of the rapper and to receive any profits that Mannion has made from the Brooklyn-bred rhymer’s likeness.