The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is suing MBK Entertainment, the label owned by her longtime manager Jeff Robinson. According to legal documents, filed in Los Angeles on Thursday and obtained by The Blast, H.E.R. is suing for declaratory relief and violation of the business and professions code and is seeking release from her contract with MBK.
H.E.R., whose real name is Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, signed with Robinson in 2011, when she was 14 years old. The recording contract made H.E.R. 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.”
She alleges that MBK has “significantly limited” her “employment rights” and that she “has not been free to provide her recording services except as permitted or dictated by MBK.” She also claims that MBK “has exclusively owned the right to exploit her name and likeness for her recordings,” and that Robinson fired the law firm that represented her and used his own lawyers to represent Wilson in contract negotiations.
H.E.R. says the contract should have been up on May 18, 2019 since she signed it in 2011. California has a seven-year contract maximum and H.E.R. is a resident of the state, so she should be free from her previous contract with MBK.
“Wilson’s seven years have run,” the lawsuit states. “MBK’s attempts to thwart this important and fundamental California public policy should not be condoned.”
H.E.R.’s albums have all been released under MBK and distributed by RCA Records. It is unclear whether the dispute extends to her management contract with Robinson, who previously managed Alicia Keys.