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‘Sounds Like the Typical White Excuse for Taking Everything’: Taylor Swift Claims She Never Heard of 3LW In Response to Copyright Lawsuit, Folks React

Twitter fans are not letting up on Taylor Swift after claiming she never heard of the R&B singing trio, 3LW. The group, which consisted of Adrienne Bailon, Naturi Naughton, and Kiely Williams, are the vocalists on, “Playas Gon’ Play.”

Songwriters Nathan Butler and Sean Hall, who wrote the track, filed a lawsuit against Swift for using lyrics from their song for her 2014 hit “Shake It Off.” According to The Guardian, the pop star has now hit back with a motion stating that she’s never heard of 3LW or their chart-topping song.

Sounds Like the Typical White Excuse for Taking Everything': Taylor Swift Claims She Never Heard of 3LW In Response to Copyright Lawsuit, Folks React
3LW Members Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams and Naturi Naughton (L) and Taylor Swift (R). Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

“The lyrics to ‘Shake it Off’ were written entirely by me,” Swift stated in court docs. “Until learning about Plaintiffs’ claim in 2017, I had never heard the song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ and had never heard of that song or the group 3LW.”

The 32-year-old claims the lyrics were inspired by personal “experiences in my life and, in particular, unrelenting public scrutiny of my personal life, ‘clickbait’ reporting, public manipulation, and other forms of negative personal criticism which I learned I just needed to shake off and focus on my music.”

The singer and guitarist said the lyrics also drew from “commonly used phrases and comments heard” throughout her life. She added, “With ‘Shake It Off,’ I wanted to provide a comedic, empowering approach to helping people feel better about negative criticism through music, dance, and the personal independence enabling one to just shake off the negative criticism.”

In response to the new motion, Butler and Hall directly addressed Swift’s remarks. They allege, “This is defendants’ fourth attempt to make these claims go away, so defendants’ labeling them as baseless rings hollow at this point.”

Their statement continued, “The law does not believe in pure coincidences, especially where, as here, the two works are so strikingly similar that Ms. Taylor’s denial of access makes no difference to the outcome. Plaintiffs are confident that there are abundant factual issues for their claims to reach the jury, as it is not up to the court to weigh in on credibility issues or crown the winner in the battle of the experts.”

“Playas Gon’ Play” peaked at No. 56 on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop songs and No. 81 on their Hot 100 chart. Butler and Hall originally filed the lawsuit over similarities in the lyrics such as “playas gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” in Swift’s “Shake it Off.” The case was dismissed in 2018 and revived in 2021 on appeal, The Guardian reports. In December, her request for summary judgment was denied by a judge, who wrote there were “significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure” to present in front of a jury at trial.

3LW released “Playas Gon’ Play” in April 2000. Their self-titled debut album was released in December the same month Swift would have celebrated her 10th birthday. Fans have difficulty believing she was unaware of the famous singing trio or their music.

One person tweeted, “Playas Gon Play” is AAVE/Ebonics and a part of Black American culture. A White woman, such as Taylor Swift, could NEVER trademark that saying. That’s what’s not clicking for a lot of her racist fans. It’s time to clean up the ignorance behind our culture again. #3LW.”

Another said, “Lmfao Taylor Swift getting sued for using a 3LW song then saying she’s never heard of it. Sounds like the typical white excuse for taking everything.”

A handful revisited other iconic moments in pop culture, including when Mariah Carey said, “I don’t know her,” when asked about Jennifer Lopez in the early 2000s. One referred to the nostalgic “Cheetah Girls” films, which starred Bailon and Williams of 3LW.

A third person tweeted, “Taylor Swift saying she doesn’t know who 3LW are and never heard the song playas gonna play is giving Mariah Carey vibes.”

A fourth said, “Not Taylor Swift saying she didn’t know who 3LW were until 2017. Girl please. If you knew the ‘Cheetah Girls’ you knew 3LW.”

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