Cardi B won a lawsuit against a man who said he was ‘humiliated’ after she used his tiger tattoo on a raunchy mixtape cover

Cardi B is seen departing the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse on October 21, 2022 in Santa Ana, California. A jury ruled in Cardi B’s favor after she was sued for copyright infringement for allegedly using an image of a man’s tattoo on a mixtape cover. 

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

A federal jury took Cardi B’s side Friday afternoon in a lawsuit that saw the rapper fighting to defend her mixtape cover art from the man who allegedly inspired it.

Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, appeared at a Santa Ana, California, courthouse to stand trial against Kevin Michael Brophy, who accused her of misappropriating his likeness, the Associated Press reported.

Brophy sued the Grammy-winning rapper for copyright infringement in 2017 after a tattoo of a tiger snapping at a snake surrounded by roses, which covers Brophy’s back, was edited onto the back of a model on the cover of her debut mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1. On the cover, the tattooed model can be seen giving the rapper oral sex in a limousine.

After winning the trial, Cardi B shared her gratitude on Twitter: “IM BEYOND GRATEFUL,” she wrote.



Brophy, who sought $5 million in damages, argued the image of his tattoo used on the album — which was pulled from the internet — “devalued” the art, which took months to complete, Courthouse News reported. Brophy designed the artwork with tattoo artist Tim Hendricks.

“This was my Michelangelo,” Brophy said during his testimony. “People would come up to me: ‘I can’t believe you own that piece, can I see it?’ When you get one little tattoo, that’s one thing. This was a journey. It took a lot of pride. I want to protect this as much as I can.”

He continued: “It just felt devalued. It felt like my Michelangelo was stolen off the wall.”

Brophy also argued he was “humiliated” as a family man with young children.


Cardi B argued that she had nothing to do with the album art and that Brophy’s life and career have not suffered as a result of her using a piece of his tattoo for her work. She also previously argued the album art was transformative and fell under fair use, the AP reported.

At one point in the three-day trial, Cardi B and Brophy’s lawyer, A. Barry Cappello, got into a heated exchange during cross-examination.

“He hasn’t gotten fired, he hasn’t gotten divorced. How has he suffered? Please, tell me how he has suffered?” Cardi B asked on the stand.

Cardi B’s lawyers also argued Brophy’s tattoo concept was fairly commonplace and that the public had not associated Brophy’s tattoo with Cardi B’s artwork until he filed his lawsuit.

“No one looked at that artwork and thought, ‘Oh my God, Mike Brophy, what is he doing with Cardi B?'” Cardi B’s lawyer, Peter Anderson, said during his closing argument.

After the trial, Brophy and Cardi B spoke and shook hands.

“They were gracious winners,” Cappello said in a statement to Insider. “Mr. Brophy is a stand up human being. If this chapter can close it may be best for the Brophy family’s ability to put this behind them. That’s all that is important.”

A lawyer for Cardi B did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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