Songwriter Venus Dodson Said Sugar Hill Records Stole Her Life’s Work
The family behind the Bravo reality series “First Family of Hip Hop” has been accused in federal court of outright stealing an artist’s money.
Songwriter Venus Dodson sued Sugar Hill Records and Joseph Robinson – one of the sons of Sylvia Robinson – the co-founder of Sugar Hill Records, for improperly obtaining her income from a song she wrote back in the 1970s.
Dodson, who penned Al Goodman’s 1974 hit, “Girls,” said in court papers that Sugar Hill Records created fraudulent accounts in her name and had her checks sent to a P.O. box in the company’s New Jersey hometown after she moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands in the 1980s.
Dodson said she only found out about the alleged fraud when the IRS contacted her about back taxes on the money she never received.
“I’m hurt that this had to happen,” Dodson told BOSSIP. “Why would someone do this to somebody? It’s very painful that someone went out of their way and did so much to manipulate you and your artistic license.”
The artist said that the record company also sold her publishing to another company – a deal that they had no right to make.
Joseph Robinson has since died, but his brother, Leland, and his family are now running the label, as well as starring in their own Bravo reality show about their lives.
Dodson’s initial case was thrown out, but she filed an appeal, and a federal judge will hear oral arguments on the case in New York City this week.
We’ve reached out to the lawyer for Sugar Hill Records and Robinson’s estate, James Cinque, for comment. We also reached out to the family’s spokeswoman.
Dodson said she wants to be made whole, but she won’t ever recover the lost potential she said she would have had if she’d been fairly paid.
“With that kind of money, I could have done so much more,” she said. “They took so much more than money. They took opportunities.”