Kendrick Lamar’s "Alright" at Center of $100,000 Settlement Over Teacher’s Use of Video in Classroom

The suit was filed in 2022 and alleges that an eighth grade teacher's use of the classic track caused emotional distress for one student.

Kendrick performing on stage, wearing a loose-fitting jumpsuit and a baseball cap, holding a microphone close to her mouth
Image via Getty/Christopher Polk/Billboard
Kendrick performing on stage, wearing a loose-fitting jumpsuit and a baseball cap, holding a microphone close to her mouth

A classic Kendrick Lamar track from the To Pimp a Butterfly era is at the center of a baffling story out of Connecticut.

As reported by CT Insider’s Eric Bedner on Wednesday, a $100,000 settlement has been approved by council members in Vernon in connection with a 2022 lawsuit over an eighth grade teacher’s use of "Alright" in the classroom. Next up, per the report, the settlement is expected to be made final by the Board of Education at the top of the week.

As for what happened, the suit stems from the teacher in question having played a documentary titled Hip Hop: Songs That Shook America for students in 2020. It’s unclear if this is the same doc, but a docuseries by the almost identical name of Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America, notably executive produced by Questlove and Black Thought, among others, was released in 2019. Ye’s "Jesus Walks," OutKast’s "Elevators," and Queen Latifah’s "Ladies First" were among the tracks also featured in the series.

The 2022 lawsuit alleges that the eighth grade social studies teacher was aware that one student in the Vernon Center Middle School class, whose father was a police officer, had previously been diagnosed with a learning disability. The use of "Alright" in the classroom, the suit specifically asserts, caused emotional distress for the student. The suit also made additional related claims including PTSD, shock, ostracization stemming from the student’s father’s status as a cop, and more. 

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From there, the suit claims that the parents of the student had to pay tuition fees to relocate the child to a different school.

Complex has reached out to a Town of Vernon rep for comment. This story may be updated.

"Alright," originally released in 2015, quickly became an inspiring singalong often heard at protests against police brutality in the U.S. The following year, the track won two Grammys, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. The track's unforgettable black-and-white video, directed by Colin Tilley and The Little Homies, will soon top 175 million views on YouTube.

Next for Kendrick is a recently announced event at the Kia Forum in Inglewood billed as The Pop Out with "Kendrick and friends." The show is notably Kendrick’s first since his and Drake’s headlines-dominating beef, which appears to have drawn to a close after a series of chart-topping diss tracks from both artists.

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