H.E.R. files lawsuit against record label to secure release from contract

(Image credit: Getty Images)

H.E.R. has filed a lawsuit against her record label, MBK Entertainment, in the hopes of being released from her current contract.

As reported by The Blast, the guitarist – whose real name is Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson – filed the suit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court last Thursday (June 16), stating that she was essentially still an “exclusive employee” for MBK, beyond the seven-year rule written in the California Labor Code.

Under this rule, a contractual period of personal service employment “cannot be enforced against the employee beyond the term of seven years from the commencement of service”.

H.E.R. first signed with MBK Entertainment in May 2011 when she was 14 years old, and argues that the agreement should have expired in 2019. 

“Wilson’s seven years have run,” reads H.E.R.’s lawsuit. “MBK’s attempts to thwart this important and fundamental California public policy should not be condoned.”

The lawsuit also argues that “Wilson has not been free to provide her recording services except as permitted or dictated by MBK”, therefore missing out on potential work. As a result, in addition to a judge ruling that the contract is no longer binding, the guitarist is seeking monetary compensation for missed work, as well as costs pertaining to the lawsuit.

Since what she argues should have been the end of her contract in 2019, H.E.R.’s career has taken to the stratosphere. In the past few years alone, she scooped both an Oscar and five Grammys, performed America the Beautiful at last year’s Super Bowl, and launched her signature chrome glow Fender Stratocaster, to name a few of her illustrious achievements.

Upon the release of that signature model, H.E.R. became the first Black female artist to have a Fender signature guitar.

“I think it will inspire a lot of young black girls – and actually a lot of young girls in general – to pick up the guitar, which is something we don’t see enough of,” she said at the time.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at GuitarWorld.com from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.