Attorneys for Toni Braxton, the Grammy Award-winning recording artist, announced today that Ms. Braxton successfully settled her lawsuit against her former manager, Barry Hankerson, and her former label, Blackground Records, LLC. Under the terms of the settlement, Ms. Braxton will no longer have recording obligations to Mr. Hankerson or to Blackground Records and is free to pursue agreements with other labels. “This settlement allows Ms. Braxton immediately to start new projects of her choice,” said Peter L. Haviland, her trial lawyer. “She wanted to end her relationship with Blackground and Barry Hankerson, and she has. Money has never been what motivates her. Integrity — artistic and personal — does.” “My freedom from Barry Hankerson is priceless, and means everything to me,” said Toni Braxton. In her suit, which was filed in January 2007, Ms. Braxton alleged that Mr. Hankerson was operating under a conflict of interest when he advised her to leave Arista Records in 2003. Ms. Braxton went on to sign a multi-record deal with Blackground Records, under which she recorded only one album. Mr. Hankerson had sought to keep Braxton at Blackground by sending her an advance in December of 2006 for the recording of a second Blackground album. Braxton refused, and chose to return the advance rather than stay with Blackground. Her suit sought cancellation of any remaining contractual obligations to Mr. Hankerson or to Blackground. The settlement agreement terminates those contracts.
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