The family of a deceased rapper from New Orleans, whose voice is sampled on the track, has claimed that Beyonc swiped the copyright material. The estate of Messy Mya who was an LGBTQ and YouTube bounce music star is suing the celebrated hitmaker for using excerpts of the performer without permission.
According to the late artist's sister, Angel Barre, Mya's 'voice, performance and words from his copyrighted' works were used to set the tone, mood, setting and location of the video. Mya's line, "I like that" can be heard in 'Formation' and appears to be taken from his 2010 video 'A 27 piece, huh?'
The lawsuit also touches on live performances of the song which was featured prominently in Beyonce's 2016 Formation World Tour Concerts.
The Barre's family is suing for $20 million in back royalties as well as songwriting credit for Mya who was shot dead in 2010. He was only 22.
A representative for Beyonce, could not be reached for comment. Beyonce has been criticized in the past for her work. In early 2016, she came under fire for appearing in traditional Indian garb as part of her collaboration with Coldplay's 'Hit for the weekend' music video.
In 2011, her video 'countdown' was seen to be borrowing heavily from the work of Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.
Despite all the criticism, Beyonce's career is doing well, and with her husband, Jay Z, have a net worth of around $1 billion.