By Samantha Hunter
It seems so strange to ponder now, but I have to admit that there was a time when I feared my beloved ‘80s boy group New Edition would never get it together for a proper reunion. And as the old saying goes, wishing doesn’t make it so, but in this case my wish came true! Not only did Ronnie DeVoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Mike Bevins, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill get back together, but their story of talent, trials and tribulations and ultimately triumph is set to premiere on BET tonight (January 24). Completing the long-awaited biopic, The New Edition Story was a miracle in and of itself. For all the drama NE has been through since they debuted in 1984, to make it to this point with an insanely compelling story to tell is amazing for a couple guys from Boston. As we prep for the movie and all the shenanigans that will certainly go down on Twitter tonight, I can’t help but think of all the reasons someone needs to make a biopic about one of the hottest female groups of the ‘90s, En Vogue.
Will all four original members, Cindy Herron, Dawn Robinson, Terry Ellis, and Maxine Jones be down for a reunion to make sure the story represents everyone fairly? Impossible you say? We’re never gonna get it you say? Well, you might be right about that. According to an interview that Maxine did with Centric in 2014, hell would have to freeze over before she would even consider burying hatchets, rebuilding bridges, letting bygones be bygones. “There’s no way.” Jones was quoted as saying. “I can’t work alongside those chicks and they tried to see to it that I ended up with zero, with nothing, and totally devastated. No. I will not stand alongside those girls and get on stage with them, no.”
We haven’t seen these women share a stage in quite some time. The group hasn’t been whole since Dawn left the foursome in 1997. Her departure was all kinds of awkward and problematic. The group was just coming off the success of their huge single “Don’t Let Go (Love),” which was featured on the soundtrack for the film Set It Off. The platinum selling song reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and inspired the group to work on their third album. Dawn wasn’t all that interested in another group album as she prepped her solo move. Contract negotiation slated and homegirl was out, leaving behind an opportunity to pad their already ridiculous stats. At the time of their split En Vogue had sold over 6 million albums in the US. Won countless awards and been on two successful tours. Sounds like a hard thing to walk away from, but she did it and pretty much took the group’s mojo with her. While she struggled to find her footing as a solo act, En Vogue stumbled mightily as they tried to find traction as a trio.
Eventually Maxine decided to make her exit after airing out some of her own gripes about the business side of things. Cindy and Terry are currently trying to make it work with a new member,Rhona Bennett, but things are just not the same. At this point all we’re asking as diehards is for the story of this influential group to be told on a screen (big or small) somewhere. Yes, of course we want the tea that comes with the drama that broke them up in the first place. I think we deserve to know those details so we can put all the rumors and innuendo to rest. Just put it all out there. We know that after all the bad blood that exist between the group this is a difficult ask. But we know that it’s not impossible, don’t we? Look, if ‘90s girl group SWV (Sisters With Voices) could get back together in 2012, get themselves a reality show, SWV Reunited, and record not one but two new albums together (I Missed Us and Still), then En Vogue can get back together.
Check this out, if Faith Evans can go on TV to give props to her one-time arch rival Lil’ Kim, as she did during last year’s VH1 Hip Hop Honors show, then anything is truly possible.
I do understand that squashing a 20-year beef over mutual love for the late Notorious B.I.G. is totally different than a longstanding business conflict that allegedly messed up someone’s coins. But Faith and Kim chose to join forces and get that paper on the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour last year, so I’m certain that En Vogue can reconcile and reap the lucrative benefits of a reunion.
We all saw how working together (even if it was four out of five members) made the N.W.A. biopic, Straight Outta Compton one of the best movies of 2015. It was pretty much a win for all involved, despite some strife from Eazy E’s family and former manager, the late Jerry Heller. There’s so much that happened behind the scenes between these women that needs to be told.
There’s a lot to be gained here all around. A successful film project could open doors to a reunion tour that would give fans like myself a slice of nostalgia that we’ve been craving since things got messy when Dawn’s departure shook up the harmony. I would even be here for a reality TV show documenting their road to reconciliation. They could call the show, Still Holding On. One of my favorite En Vogue memories is that playful clip in the video for “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” when Jones says, “I give to the needy, and not the greedy.” Well peep this En Vogue – WE NEED YOU. WE WANT YOU. WE MISS YOU.