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Former singer Nicci Gilbert wants the producers of P-Valley to pay up!
Gilbert strongly believes that the hit STARZ drama ripped off themes and characters from her 2011 musical Soul Kittens Cabaret. Now she’s officially taking producers from the hit TV show to court. According to The Jasmine Brand, Gilbert, who you may know from the former 90’s girls group Brownstone, has slammed STARZ with a massive lawsuit, and she’s seeking “statutory damages” in addition to a jury trial.
The playwright told the publication that she had originally pitched her musical stage play as a spin-off series to Lionsgate in 2014, well before P-Valley was on the air. Gilbert claimed that some of the characters on the show share similarities to the characters in her play, including one named TaTa Burlesque, a transgender club owner.
“I would see all these stories. There was a woman who did my hair–I believe her name was Lawanda–everybody in Detroit probably knows her. She was transgender. It was my first example of, like, a transgender person,” she explained, noting how the characters were heavily inspired by people in her hometown of Detroit.
“The story is about a TaTa Burlesque, who owns this burlesque cabaret risque venue in the city, it’s been around forever,” Gilbert continued. “There’s the spirit of previous dancers there as well. A new girl comes from out of town–middle of nowhere–she comes in and auditions for him and they embrace her but it’s a bunch of stuff that goes on.”
Now, if you’re a fan of P-Valley, you might be familiar with the show’s central character, Uncle Clifford, the non-binary club owner of The Pynk, a strip club in the Mississippi Delta. Ring any bells? Gilbert said she took so much pride in developing all of the storylines in her play, which is why she says she was totally taken aback when she discovered some eerie similarities in P-Valley.
“Obviously, I was really proud of the fact that this was the first time–this is 2004, remember–that a gender-fluid character that was so loveable and so open and so real, which is what everybody loves about the current situation. I was really proud of being someone who wrote a character that people hadn’t seen like that. There are a lot of other little nuances, such as the girl being super shy and not really in that space and the lead dancer who’s been there for a while who’s like, ‘when I leave here, I’m going to open up a women’s center.’”
Gilbert didn’t give any additional information about the status of the lawsuit, but the star, who is the mastermind behind TV One’s reality show R&B Divas, said she knew she had to stand up for herself and her ideas.
“I knew how important it was to fight for what you believe in as a creator. As a woman of color, so often we’re beat down into being, ‘just don’t say nothing, everybody’s going to think you’re a horrible person.’”
“The reason I decided to go forward…I realized that young women have to not be afraid, creatives have to not be afraid. It’s the court’s decision…but I truly believe that I deserve to be heard.”
Currently, P-Valley fans are eagerly awaiting season two of the hit show, but some are wondering if the ongoing lawsuit will affect the forthcoming season. This is a lot! Do you think there are some show-stealing shenanigans going on with P-Valley? Tell us down below.