Nicci Gilbert has opened up about why she decided to file a lawsuit against Starz due to similarities between their hit show P-Valley and her 2011 musical stage play Soul Kittens Cabaret. Gilbert filed a civil suit, seeking actual and statutory damages, along with a jury trial.

Soul Kittens Cabaret, which was released on DVD, starred Faith Evans, Syleena Johnson, Fantasia Barrino, Monifah, and Angie Stone. Some of those ladies went on to appear in Gilbert’s TV One reality show R&B Divas. The show was inspired by the play.

In an interview with The Jasmine Brand, Gilbert spoke on pitching her play as a spin-off for Lionsgate back in 2014. She explained, “It wasn’t a play that was pitched, it was a spin-off. Pretty much the same thing that the other show is. It was a spin-off idea called ‘Curtains.'” The show used the same script and synopsis as Soul Kittens Cabaret. Gilbert noted that this was similar to what the creator of P-Valley had done.


Gilbert spoke on how she concluded P-Valley was a lot like her project, saying,”Long story short, I remember getting phone calls like, ‘hey, congratulations,’ and then my husband’s like, ‘you gotta check this out.’ And then, you know, I watched and…that was that.”

On the background of the play, she said, “The story is about a TaTa Burlesque, who owns this burlesque cabaret risque venue in the city, it’s been around forever. There’s the spirit of previous dancers there as well. A new girl comes from out of town–middle of nowhere–she comes in and auditions for him and they embrace her but it’s a bunch of stuff that goes on.”

She continued, “Obviously, I was really proud of the fact that this was the first time–this is 2004, remember–that a gender-fluid character that was so loveable and so open and so real, which is what everybody loves about the current situation. I was really proud of being someone who wrote a character that people hadn’t seen like that.”

She added, “…The club is being taken over by an antagonist because they want to build a casino. A lot of the exchanges were just spot on for me. I was like, ‘oh, wow.’ The story is that the girl comes in and, ultimately, they save the club. There are a lot of other little nuances such as the girl being super shy and not really in that space and the lead dancer who’s been there for a while who’s like, ‘when I leave here, I’m going to open up a women’s center.'”