Grammy-nominated gospel singer Vickie Winans is suing a Sandy Springs company, claiming the promoter refused to pay her for appearing recently at what she thought would be a benefit concert for underprivileged people in Cobb County.
Winans, a member of a prominent family of gospel singers, also claims Atlanta Gospel Fest Inc. defamed her as a “no-show” for the concert and demanded that she leave stage when she finally appeared at Cobb Galleria Center on Aug. 2 to perform, according to the suit filed a week ago in Fulton County Superior Court.
Efforts were being made to reach Riki Brooks, the company’s chief executive officer, for comment. Brooks is also listed as a defendant, in addition to Chief Financial Officer Lee Anthony Collins.
Winans is seeking at least $75,000 in damages and other costs.
The Stellar Award singer, who normally receives $15,000 to $20,000 for festivals, said she and Atlanta Gospel Fest signed an agreement in March for her to perform at the Cobb Galleria event earlier this month. The agreement called for a $7,500 performance fee, a first-class round-trip ticket and hotel accommodations, according to the suit.
The agreement said Winans would be reimbursed for her airfare and hotel stay when she arrived.
Winans was appearing as part of the two-day annual Atlanta Gospel Fest Music and Healthcare Festival, Aug. 1 and 2 at the Cobb Galleria. Gospel singer J Moss also appeared.
According to the suit, Winans said that when she arrived Aug. 2 she tried to settle her compensation before the concert but was never contacted by Atlanta Gospel. She said she finally reached Brooks, the CEO, and was told she was no longer a part of the show.
Winans said she walked over to the Cobb Galleria from her hotel anyway, and a YouTube video shows the artist going onstage at the ticketed event and addressing the crowd.
In explaining her delay, she said she was “waiting for the rest of the business to be handled” and was not dressed for the concert because “nobody came to pick me up.” She also said, “I don’t want my name out here wrong” and proceeded to prepare for her concert with music track.
Another voice interrupts Winans in the video to inform her that she would not be singing. Members of the audience soon heard yelling, “Let her sing!”
In the video, Winans vows she will sing: “I take care of my business. I handle my business, and I’m not going to let the devil win.”
Winans then hands out what she called $115 bracelets from a bag, causing members of the audience to rush to the stage.
The suit says promoters demanded that she leave and said “we have called police.” Winans also said her bag of gifts was “snatched” and her microphone was “shut off.”
The artist also said she was threatened and had to move to another hotel room “for safety.”
According to an online rundown of the event, Winans was also set to receive an “Iconic Gospel Music Award.”