Good titles are hard to come by. Artist 50 Cent thought he had one all set to go for the film he’s making, however he was forced to change the name when he learned that the title chosen was previously claimed by an African author who doesn’t want to give it up.

According to the Guardian, Curtis Jackson a.k.a. 50 Cent spent much of last year filming a movie about a football player with cancer, which he intended to tile Things Fall Apart. It’s a great title, to be sure, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that someone else had previously used it for their own work.

Described as one of Africa’s greatest novelists, Chinua Achebe published a book in 1958 titled “Things Fall Apart.” Upon hearing that 50 Cent was titling his movie the same, Achebe contacted his legal team and had them put a stop to it. The writer also refused the million dollar offer 50 Cent put on the table in exchange for the rights to the title, taking it as an insult.

As a result of this, 50 Cent’s movie has been retitled to All Things Fall Apart.

It’s hard to know what to make of this. On one hand, if this novel is really the most-read book in modern African literature (as stated by Achebe’s lawyers), then it’s understandable that the author wouldn’t want to see the title recycled for some other story. On the other hand, the phrase “things fall apart,” is a reasonably common English phrase. Sure, there are a lot of phrases in the English language, however, coming up with workable titles for films, books, movies, songs, TV shows, etc, may prove to be extremely challenging in the coming decades if none of them were ever allowed to be re-used again. Then again, 50 Cent managed to find a way around it by adding the “All” part, which shifts the context of the title a little bit but sticks closely to the original idea.

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