Rapper and former American Idol judge Nicki Minaj was sued this past Friday over the alleged theft of intellectual property. Terrence Davidson, who had designed many of Minaj’s trademark wigs as her hairdresser since early 2010, claims that Minaj had walked away from business plans with him instead choosing to market the wigs he had designed for the rapper as part of her own line of wigs. Aiming for a hefty $30 million in compensation, Davidson has filed a federal lawsuit against his former client and business partner, seeking to attain recompense for his stolen intellectual property and lost profits from Minaj’s sales of his unique wig designs.
Considering Nicki Minaj owes much of her unique image to her decidedly wacky hairpieces, which were worn for the rapper’s music video for her song “Super Bass”, at media appearances, and for an MTV Video Music Awards pre show, it comes as little surprise that Christopher Chestnut, an attorney for Davidson, claims that a $30 million compensation for losses is fair game. Adding to Davidson’s disgruntlement, the celebrity hair stylist had been in discussion with Minaj regarding a joint reality television show that would couple their launch of a high end line of wigs. Before the program was planned further however, Minaj and her associates had cut contact with Davidson, releasing his wig designs for public sale without his permission. Davidson also states that prior to his business plans with Minaj, he had been discouraged from accepting a deal for his own reality television program, with the wig designer having been told that the television show would create tension between himself and his pop star client. Online sales of Davidson’s popular wig designs led to the dispute between the hair stylist and his former client.
Davidson, the self-proclaimed “Wig Master”, has a lineup of celebrity clients including supermodel Tyra Banks and Grammy Award winners Jennifer Hudson and Patti Labelle. An accomplished designer and hair stylist living in Georgia with an impressive resume, Davidson’s sales have seen some damage since Minaj’s release of her wig line, prompting him to sue his former associate, with which he had stopped working with in early 2013 due to “creative differences”. Stepping down from his position as the pop star’s hair stylist, Davidson had (prior to the lawsuit, in early 2013) respectfully stated “It has been an amazing experience offering me a chance to express my creativity and exhibit my love for the art form of wig design.”
With some of the more extravagant wig models selling for over $100, reaching as high as $420 on Aliexpress and the value of the celebrated hairstylist’s work, the $30 million lawsuit Davidson has slapped onto Minaj quickly becomes understandable.
Being sued over her theft of intellectual property no doubt comes as a nasty shock for the award-winning Minaj, though the star and her team have yet to release a public statement regarding the lawsuit. Morality compromised, Minaj’s name is taking a bit of a beating at the hands of social media, but the oncoming $30 million loss isn’t likely to be a major setback for the pop superstar.
By Christopher White