ATLANTA - A former wig designer for rapper Nicki Minaj sued the performer Friday, accusing her of walking away from business plans, then making money by selling wigs based on his designs without permission.
The lawsuit filed by Terrence Davidson accuses Onika Maraj, who uses the stage name "Nicki Minaj," and Pink Personality LLC of breaking implied contracts, reneging on discussions to launch a reality TV show and a wig line, and misappropriating his wig designs. An attorney for Davidson, Christopher Chestnut, said the designer has suffered at least $30 million in losses.
"She lied, cheated, she stole from him," Chestnut said. "That's a misappropriation of his intellectual property."
A representative for Minaj did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.
“It has catapulted Nicki Minaj to a level of stardom and fame that is unparalleled," Chestnut said.
Davidson, who lives in Georgia, said in the lawsuit that he started working as Minaj's hair stylist in early 2010. He created multiple wigs for the rapper, known for her flamboyant hairpieces, that she wore to a preshow for MTV's Video Music Awards, during media appearances in London and for the music video "SuperBass."
"The exact wig, the design that Terrence designed, there are now thousands of them and he's entitled to profits for that," Chestnut said.
Davidson said he turned down a contract for a reality TV show at the urging of a Minaj representative. At the time, Davidson said he was discussing doing a joint reality TV show with Minaj and launching a line of wigs with the music star. But months passed, and Davidson said Minaj and her team shut him out. He stopped working as her stylist in early 2013.
He says Minaj took his wig designs without his consent and used them to start her own wig line.
Davidson who is still working in southwest Atlanta said he turned down big opportunities based on promises from Minaj.
“I trusted her. I felt what we were going to do we were going to do together regardless,” Davidson said.
Channel 2 received an email from Minaj's agency that said, "Recently today, a news story broke involving my client and her business subsidiary with a previous "glam" partner. My client is deciding to withhold comments until she draws up an official press release combatting all said accusations."
Minaj and her company have 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.