In yet another suit since the Mexican-American banda superstar Jenni Rivera died in a 2012 plane crash, now there's further dispute over who owns—and who even wrote—her posthumous 2013 autobiography, Unbreakable: My Story, My Way.
In January, Rivera's former manager, Laura Lucio, filed suit against Rivera's family for $5 million, saying that she and Rivera had been coauthoring an autobiography called Mi Vida Loca at the time of Rivera's death. She accused the Rivera family of later finding the Mi Vida Loca files on Jenni's computer and publishing them without her consent or compensation, claiming she had written 95% of the book and was owed 40% of the profits.
Now, Rivera's family is countersuing, according to The Hollywood Reporter, saying it is basically a copyright infringement claim, and that Laura Lucio is fronting by "claiming ownership over Rivera's writings and interviews:
Rivera's family says that Lucio's collaboration was subject to a written agreement signed in 2007 that assigned copyright to Rivera. The complaint states, "Defendant even falsely listed herself as the author of these copyrighted works, created by Jenni Rivera and/or owned by Jenni Rivera Enterprises, in a registration of a manuscript titled 'Jenni Rivera, Mi Vida Loca [My Crazy Life] as told to Laura Lucio; with the Writer's Guild of America's Intellectual Property Registry."
All the legalese and drama does not detract from the fact that Unbreakable seems like a pretty interesting book, whoever the hell wrote it. In it, Rivera chronicles her struggle as a California-raised child of undocumented immigrants to become one of the most successful Latino artists of all time. This graf really gets me:
I wasn't making much money with my music. It was difficult to get my songs on the radio because I refused to fit into the mold of the typical Latina singer. I should have been younger, thinner, softer, quieter, dumber. In the Latino community, female singers were supposed to be beautiful and superskinny, and their music was supposed to be silly. Latina singers were meant to be looked at and not really heard. But I wasn't eye candy. I was considered overweight. I was considered not to have vocal talent. And I was singing strong, ballsy corridos (folk tales, often involving drug dealers). I probably intimidated the men. No other women were singing corridos. It was like a woman rapping. Women weren't thought to be tough enough, or real enough, to be singing about the gritty world of drug dealers. The people in the industry tried to make me change. If you want to make it in this genre, they said, you have to do this or that. A lot of women had to do sexual favors to get played on the radio. Fuck that. I wouldn't do it. I wanted to make it based on my talent or not at all.
Since the singer's untimely death at 43, three lawsuits have been filed in her name, including those involving the book. Her husband, Esteban Loaiza, filed a wrongful death suit against the company which owned the plane that crashed, while the families of those who died along with Rivera—her publicist, hairstylist, and make-up artist among them—have sued Rivera's company for wrongful death. Rivera's family is currently trying to settle the latter suit.
Image of Jenni Rivera's family via Getty.