Former Pretty Ricky Member Sues For Back Pay, Physical Intimidation

MTV News has obtained a federal complaint filed on behalf of former Pretty Ricky member Pleasure by his attorneys Robert Meloni and Steve Schwartz. In the complaint, the R&B singer (born Marcus Cooper), alleges a number of wrongdoings against Joseph “Blue” Smith and Bluestar Entertainment, the company Pretty Ricky is signed to in a deal with Atlantic Records. The group’s management and booking company, International Artist Agency, is also named in the suit. According to Pleasure, Smith deceived the singer by first acting as a surrogate father to him and also serving in roles that were conflicts of interest for Pleasure and the group, including acting as a personal manager, business manager, booking agent, record exec and music publisher. The suit alleges that Smith “exploited conflict of interests in the competing roles he occupied in Cooper’s life.” International Artist Agency, headed by Stephen Brush, is alleged to have abetted a number of Smith’s practices, according to the complaint. Pleasure, according to the information filed earlier this week, is seeking a release from his contract with Bluestar and back pay owed to him. The suit claims that the former Pretty Ricky star has not been properly compensated for his contributions to the group, whose two albums have both been certified gold (500,000 Units sold). The suit also alleges that Smith used physical intimidation. According to the complaint, when Pleasure began to distance himself from the group and sought out the friendship of others, in one instance, Smith attacked a friend of the singer’s as a means of coercion. Pleasure first raised eyebrows earlier this year on the red carpet at the BET Hip Hop Awards, when he announced he was leaving the successful act. The group’s only singer told the media he would be pursuing a solo career instead. Source: MTV


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