H.E.R. filed a claim against the management company, M.B.K. Entertainment, which she signed with in 2011 at 14, is to be released from her contract. The singer, Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, claims that “M.B.K. has been dictating her career decisions beyond the allowed seven-year period under California Labor Code Section 2855, also known as the “Seven Year Statute.” The seven-year statute stems from the Free Artists from Industry Restrictions Act, which allows record labels to sue artists for damages and potential lost revenue if the artist chooses to leave after seven years but prior to delivering the contractually required number of albums.
“Wilson has not been free to provide her recording services except as permitted or dictated by M.B.K.,” the complaint from her attorney Allen Grodsky reads.
H.E.R. alleges that their contract lists the artist “as an “exclusive employee” for an “initial period” which “ended the later of 15 months after May 19, 2011, or 12 months after the commercial release in the United States of Wilson’s first album under the contract, and up to five additional Option Periods of more than one year each.” The documents state “each Option Period is keyed to a commercial release by M.B.K. of a record album.”
The Oscar-winning artist alleged that her manager fired the “law firm that first represented her due to him wanting “his lawyers to represent Wilson in the negotiation of subsequent contracts, including publishing and touring agreements.” Robinson’s legal team “took 5% of the deals they negotiated, but did not have a written fee agreement or a conflict waiver signed by Wilson, and said that they performed the services ‘as a favor’ to their client Robinson who was paid 20% commission for each of those deals.”
H.E.R. is seeking a “judicial declaration that the Agreement is voidable and may not be enforced against Plaintiff under California law to the extent it purports to require Plaintiff’s services after May 18, 2019,” along with “restitution and disgorgement of funds according to proof; for costs of suit,” and “further relief as the Court deems just and proper.”
– Excerpt from an article for Vibe by Mya Abraham. Read the full article here.
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