The website reports that Cher is "being sued for allegedly telling her choreographer that there were too many black people on stage during her concerts." However, it adds that "the singer says the allegations are BS."
"According to a new lawsuit", TMZ writes, "Cher was auditioning dancers for her 'Dressed To Kill Tour' in 2014 when choreographer Kevin Wilson said he particularly liked 'a minority female dancer'.
"Wilson claims Cher responded, 'We have too much color onstage.' Wilson claims in the suit - filed by attorney Perry Wander - that Cher then told him to find a white, blonde dancer. Wilson further claims he was instructed 'not to cast anymore dark-skinned black dancers on the tour.'"
TMZ adds, "According to the lawsuit, after a show this past June in Louisville, a male dancer invited a female fan to his hotel room and allegedly got sexually aggressive. The suit claims that Cher tried to cover it up - keeping the male dancer in the show and firing the 3 whistle-blowers, including Wilson.
"The 3 claim they were told the reason for the firing was budget cuts, which they pooh-pooh because the tour was a huge success, grossing a reported $54.9 million and her Bob Mackie costumes cost $100,000 a pop. Wilson - who is black - is claiming racial discrimination and retaliation."
The online celeb' publication concludes that Cher's rep told them, "These are ridiculous allegations. They couldn't be further from the truth", whilst her lawyer labelled the alleged racial statement as "untrue and categorically denied. To attribute such a statement to Cher is absurd."
Meanwhile, Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash revealed to the 'Huffington Post' that his journey to quit smoking ("three or four packs a day of French cigarettes Gitanes") began after attending one of Cher's concerts during her 2008-2011 stint in Las Vegas:
"I kept going outside to smoke during the whole show, and the next morning I had pneumonia... So, I was in bed for a couple of weeks and I couldn't breathe, let alone smoke. And at the end of the two weeks, I had the... Gitanes on the nightstand and the lighter and I was all excited to get my first smoke in and I thought, 'Oh man, If I was thiking about quitting smoking... I'm over the hump.' So I haven't smoked since"
website, one of Cher's long-term dancers, Jamal Story, has jumped to Cher's defence today (20 September) regarding the racism lawsuit:
In fact, in every iteration of every Cher concert I have ever performed in, she insisted that I grow mine out. Before D2K, as was the case with our three-year stint at Caesar’s Palace, I had just come from a Broadway show whose period conventions (and headwear) made it necessary to start my tresses from next to nothing.
But she wanted them long anyway, unbothered by the degree to which my unruly hair kinked and curled on to itself through its torturous in-between stage. And on me, a very fair-skinned dancer otherwise difficult to distinguish as black under lighting, my hair always tells the story. In an afro, out and free, or in cornrows, it screams my heritage loud and proud.
So I am disheartened to know that racism is part of the charge leveled in a lawsuit at my boss. To read in various news outlets that the quality of the racism is so specific, that skin color is the platform, is baffling. First, there is my general irritation with the quite trite marginalization that happens when a darker brother or sister, or anyone else really, discounts me (and in this case, a caramel female counterpart still employed on the tour) in the conversation about blackness. But even if there is some shred of merit here, the lack of consideration for the three brown band members (of which there are only seven) still in Cher's camp befuddles me.
In fact, one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had dealing with the color quota represented on stage happened on Cher’s stage in Vegas years ago. A brunette out for her wedding was replaced by the cousin of another black dancer on the gig. Adding two of the plaintiffs (who were also there) brought the count of bona fide chocolate up to four, and then there were the two of us too light to figure in. Among the other six dancers were a Latino and a Tongan, both with enough pigment to type them out of a Mayflower Voyage film. We didn’t know whether to take a picture (because who would believe it) or accuse our boss of Blaxploitation. Because of course there were also the two black backup singers, the keyboardist and the drummer…
This doesn’t happen with a racist performer.
In fact, since my first gig with Cher twelve years ago, I have missed only 2 of her 568 full stage shows. Never in any of them have I experienced any form of racial or sexist prejudice.
It’s not her style. I was there every time she strutted around stage in a Native American feathered headdress singing about her Cherokee heritage. Early in a career older than all of her dancers, she was notorious for entering the back door of venues and restaurants that would not allow her colored staff through their front. She argued with her fans via Twitter that the Tea Party supports racist policies. She funds the Peace Village School in Kenya for black orphans. And the available dance captain promotion on this tour came to me, not the white guy.
You know, there was a budget for my hair. When I ran out of Mixed Chicks conditioner on the road, or couldn’t find a barber for a manicured fro, Cher reimbursed receipts for cornrows. It did not bother her any when I walked on stage wearing them, black pants and a white tank—a look that might have gotten me shot by police in Ferguson—to stand in her spotlight and present her a stool. This is the conversation we should be having instead, how my "Burlesque" costume with this hairstyle is life-threatening around those who would see a dangerous, uber-sexualized Negro thug.
Cher was simply happy that it was Jamal bringing her the stool.
During a delay in the tech rehearsal for the number “Dressed to Kill,” she sat waiting on the chandelier and smiled at me.
“I’m getting a weave,” I told her.
“Really??!!” she said, ecstatic.
I laughed uproariously. Although if she finds out about my hair cut I might need one… (don’t tell her ;-)
Within the last couple of hours, Cher has replied to Jamal using Twitter: "Jamal I LOVE YOU, and no thug brings a stool with such grace and humor! Your piece was beautifully written (no suprise) and brought tears. And what do we say... AMEN".