ATLANTA (CN) – Nicki Minaj stole her former stylist’s wig designs, which helped the rapper’s stage persona, and used them to start her own wig line, the wig designer claims in court.
Terrence Davidson sued Onika Maraj, pka Nicki Minaj, and her company Pink Personality, in Federal Court.
Minaj, a former “American Idol” judge, became famous for her distinctive rapping style and fashion statements, including extravagant wigs. The New York Times suggested that some consider her “the most influential female rapper of all time.” She has won many awards and sold more than 5 million albums worldwide.
Davidson, of Georgia, started working as Minaj’s hair stylist in January 2010, and designed all of her wigs for events and media appearances until early 2013, according to the lawsuit.
Davidson claims “his wig designs aided greatly in developing the appearance that ‘Nicki Minaj’ is now widely known for. Indeed, Nicki Minaj is arguably known just as well for her wigs as she is her music.”
Davidson says he created fresh, unique wigs that Minaj wore during concerts, TV appearances, video shootings and special events such as Victoria’s Secret annual show.
The complaint illustrates some of the wigs Davidson designed for the rapper, featuring original patterns and split shades, among them the pink that has become associated with Minaj.
As Minaj and her hair styles rose in popularity, she discussed business ventures with Davidson, including a wig line and a reality TV show featuring them.
“By the end of 2011, many promising business ventures were on the table for Mr. Davidson and Maraj to pursue together,” the complaint states. “Nevertheless, beginning in 2012, Maraj and her agents became mum about the business ventures and took active steps to isolate Mr. Davidson and preclude him from the notoriety he deserved for his wig designs.”
Davidson claims Minaj’s representatives lied to a New York Times reporter who had tried to interview him for an article about his wigs, and never passed along the request for an interview.
He claims Minaj walked away from all their business plans, and never answered his questions about them.
To top it off, Davidson claims, Minaj took a number of his popular wig designs, without his consent, and used them to start her own wig line.
Minaj offered Davidson’s designs for sale on her website, and used some of them to design bottle tops for her fragrance line, according to the lawsuit.
Davidson says he gave up another offer for a reality TV show to appear in the one Minaj had asked him to join.
He seeks an injunction and $30 million in damages for interference with prospective business relations, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion, misappropriation, and violations of Georgia law.
Davidson is represented by Chestnut Firm attorneys Andrae Reneau of Atlanta and Christopher Chestnut of Gainesville, Fla.
“On its face you might think, what this guy is suing over wigs,” Chestnut told CNN on Friday. “But we really have to consider this in context. Hair is a multibillion-dollar industry, but moreover these are not your grandma’s wigs. These are eclectic. They are decadent, and they are creative. This is about a brand that Terrence has built.”
Minaj’s representatives could not be reached for comment.
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