King estate seeks royal cut for apparel vendors

Since the beginning of Barack Obama’s campaign to become the president of the United States, there have been comparisons between Obama and the great civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Images of Obama and King were shown everywhere during his campaign on t-shirts, hats, posters and other products. Vendors across the country sold paraphernalia sporting the inspirational leaders together in various designs.

But now, after millions of dollars were made, the King estate is looking for their cut of the checks. At first glimpse, most would think there was nothing wrong with vendors and artists comparing the two black leaders and providing supporters with paraphernalia to show their support for Obama.

President-elect Obama is worthy of the comparison. He has reignited a fire for change in the American people.

Most would believe there is nothing wrong with a positive image. The designs simply tell the story of where blacks began and where they are about to go. But legally there is something wrong. These vendors did not go through the proper channels to use King’s image. The King estate has the right to request payment. The money would even be used to fund the King Center.

Vendors who took part in selling the paraphernalia should pay what is owed to the King estate. In fact, if it wasn’t for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the opportunity to take part in these ventures would not be possible.

A’sia Horne-Smith for the editorial board.