BET is forming the next big R&B girl group — with the help of members from platinum-selling ensembles like 702, Total, Danity Kane, 3LW, Blaque and Cherish.
The reality show “BET Presents The Encore” will premiere June 9 and includes eight former members from groups who had success in the ’90s and 2000s, as well as Grammy-nominated R&B singer Nivea.
In the 10-episode series, the singers live together for 30 days to record an album at a home studio, learn choreography and practice vocals.
The cast includes Pamela Long of Total, the Bad Boy Records trio who released grooves like “No One Else,” “Kissin’ You,” “Trippin’” and “Can’t You See” with Notorious B.I.G.; sisters Irish and LeMisha Grinstead from 702, another R&B trio who had hits with “Where My Girls At?” and “Get It Together”; Shamari DeVoe of Blaque, the proteges of TLC’s Left Eye who had success on the charts with “808” and “Bring It All to Me” with N’Sync; and Aubrey O’Day of Danity Kane, the group who formed in 2005 on Diddy’s “Making the Band 3” and saw their first two albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
“I felt that girl groups never got its just do ... and I, as a content creator, wanted to ... educate the masses on who I feel are the forgotten sisters of music,” executive producer Carlos King said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I wanted to pay homage to that industry and really give these women an opportunity to share their stories and their struggles.”
Other members include Kiely Williams, who was first in the trio 3LW, known for songs like “No More (Baby I’ma Do Right)” and “Playas Gon’ Play” but later reached multi-platinum status with Disney’s The Cheetah Girls; Nivea, the only Grammy nominee of the bunch who launched the Top 40 hits “Don’t Mess With My Man” and “Okay”; and twins Felisha and Fallon King of Cherish, the R&B quartet who had success with the bops “Do It to It” and “Killa.”
The King sisters, the youngest in the supergroup at age 33, have had the most recent success in music thanks to their songwriting and production skills. Felisha King is one of the co-writers of Justin Bieber’s “Peaches,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March. She has also co-written songs for Tamar Braxton, Mario and Sevyn Streeter. Fallon King co-wrote the double platinum hit “Easy” by DaniLeigh and Chris Brown, and together, they have written music for the Fox series “Empire” and “Star.”
But interest in the series grew last year after a clip of the previously shot pilot leaked, featuring 3LW’s Williams and Farrah Franklin, who had a six-month stint in Destiny’s Child after joining in 2000 along with Michelle Williams when the group underwent major changes. In a shady exchange, Franklin boasts about the millions of albums Destiny’s Child sold while Kiely Williams questions if Franklin even played a role in the group’s mega success.
“Gabrielle Union, Sunny Hostin (of “The View”) and Symone Sanders, who is now part of Vice President Kamala Harris’ team, they all tweeted about that clip and said, ‘Bring me this show now. We need this show,’” King said. “And that was the catalyst of me being like, ‘When you have something that’s hot, you got to strike when the iron is hot.’ And that’s what we did.”
BET caught wind of the chatter and greenlit a full season.
The music industry was once dominated by several girl groups, with ensembles like TLC and Destiny’s Child owning the pop and R&B charts and winning multiple Grammys in the ’90s and 2000s. Other female groups also had major success, including the Spice Girls, En Vogue, Salt-n-Pepa, SWV, Xscape, Brownstone, Dream, Changing Faces, Zhane, Jade, Kut Klose and Allure, among others.