LOS ANGELES – The widow of a musician and producer who worked with Tupac Shakur is seeking royalties she alleges the company formed by the late rapper’s mother is refusing to pay under a contract.
Plaintiff Capucine Jackson, the widow of Johnny Lee Jackson, is seeking at least $500,000 in her breach-of-contract against Amaru Entertainment Inc. A representative for Amaru could not be immediately reached for comment on the suit brought Friday.
Shakur, then 25, died Sept. 13, 1996, six days after being shot in a drive-by incident in Las Vegas. Amaru Entertainment was founded in 1997 by the singer’s mother, Afeni Shakur, who herself died in 2016 at age 69.
Johnny Jackson, also known as Johnny J, worked with Shakur on many of his well-known recordings, including “How Do U Want It,” “Hit ‘Em Up” and “All Eyez On Me,” the suit states. He signed a producer agreement with Amaru in May 2001 that dealt with all of the master recordings on which he worked with the rapper and outlined his royalty rights, the suit states.
After Johnny Jackson died in October 2008, Capucine Jackson reached out to performing rights organizations to confirm that she was listed as a beneficiary of her husband’s royalty rights and that she was receiving everything she was entitled to get, the suit states.
In 2019, Capucine Jackson completed all the required steps to receive all monies from SoundExchange after learning of the possibility of collecting royalties from the company. SoundExchange is a nonprofit performing rights organization that collects digital performance royalties from digital radio companies when they license and use master recordings, then distributes the royalties to artists and copyright owners who obtain letters of direction from the featured artists or their representatives.
“However, SoundExchange is the only platform that has withheld royalties owed to plaintiff, and that is completely due to the bad faith conduct of Amaru,” according to the suit, which states that both Amaru and Capucine Jackson are entitled to a percentage of royalties from Shakur’s work through SoundExchange.
Capucine Jackson’s former attorney reached out to Amaru in June 2020, but Amaru “kept telling plaintiff’s attorney that they were looking into it and continued to ignore her requests for a letter of direction,” the suit alleges.