H.E.R. Files Lawsuit to Be Released from MBK Entertainment

The artist signed with manager Jeff Robinson's label at age 14

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jun 20, 2022

The Grammy and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter born Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson — a.k.a. H.E.R. — is suing record label MBK Entertainment for the rights to her catalogue.

In legal documents cited by The Blast, Wilson filed the lawsuit in the Superior Court of the State of California in Los Angeles County on Thursday (June 16). The artist is also seeking to be released from her contract with MBK, suing the label for violation of the business and professions code, as well as declaratory relief.

The court papers reportedly claim that Wilson was made 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 [2021's Back of My Mind]," alongside up to five additional periods of more than one year each, respectively.

The musician is arguing that her contract forces her to work "beyond seven years after May 19, 2011," violating California Labour Code 2855, which "prohibits the enforcement beyond seven years of a contract to render services of a special, unique, extraordinary or intellectual character."

Wilson signed to the label, owned by Jeff Robinson, in 2011. She was 14 years old at the time, and it was when she entered into the agreement that Robinson also became her manager. Since then, all of her work under the name H.E.R. has been released beneath the MBK logo and distributed by Sony Music's RCA Records.

It's yet to be determined if Wilson is also looking to terminate her management contract with Robinson, who has previously managed Alicia Keys. The singer-songwriter's case also reportedly states that, in her initial negotiations back in 2011, Robinson allegedly fired the first law firm that represented her, and had his own lawyers represent her in subsequent negotiations.

Wilson claims that those lawyers took five percent from each deal they negotiated despite not having a written fee agreement or conflict waiver signed by the plaintiff. The suit further claims that the legal team performed the services "as a favour" to Robinson, who was paid 20 percent commission for each deal.

The artist is requesting a "judicial declaration that the Agreement is voidable" for having violated the California Labour Code and is asking for "restitution and disgorgement of funds according to proof; for costs of suit incurred herein; and for such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper."

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