Latavia Roberson, who wasÂ an original Destiny Child group memberÂ still believes Matthew Knowles was a big reason why the group broke upÂ back in 1998. She spoke recently with the UK tabloid “The Mirror” to discuss her feelings and things she still regrets after all these years. Excerpts from the interview inside.
LaTavia on Mathewâ€™s management style: â€œWe used to call him Joe Jackson. Itâ€™s not like he beat us or anything, but he was very strict. Beyonce was the only one brave enough to stand up to him. We worked really hard. It was rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Thatâ€™s what our days consisted of. Looking back, working that hard did cost us our childhood. But at the time we were just focused on living out our dreams.â€
LaTavia on pay inequities among group members: â€œThings seemed unfair. Beyonce and Kelly had cars. Iâ€™m not saying paychecks were any different, but Mathew used to say a lot of crazy things like, ‘Yâ€™all should be glad Iâ€™m giving you money’â€
LaTavia on Mathewâ€™s treatment of Kelly Rowland: â€œHe was very hard on her. He bawled at her after a gig in Atlanta in 1997. â€˜Where were you tonight Kelly? I watched you mess up 12 steps,â€ he said. Kelly was the sensitive one so she would go to her room and cry.â€
LaTavia on her relationship with Kelly today: â€œShe is an inspiration to anyone, and I am glad to call her my friend.â€
LaTavia on what she regrets the most: â€œMy one regret is that I should have spoken to Beyonce and Kelly before I sent the letter [requesting new management]. That is the one thing I would have done different. I would have gone to my sisters and discussed it with them. After that, we didnâ€™t speak for many years.â€
In December 1999, Latoya Luckett and Latavia Roberson attempted to split with their manager Matthew Knowles, claiming that he kept a disproportionate share of the group’s profits and unfairly favored Knowles and Rowland. While they never intended to leave the group, when the video for “Say My Name” surfaced in February 2000, Roberson and Luckett found out that two new members were joining Knowles and Rowland. Prior to the video premiere, Knowles announced on TRL that original members Luckett and Roberson had left the group. The new members to theÂ group included Michelle Williams, a former backup singer to Monica, and Farrah Franklin, an aspiring singer-actress.
In March 2000, Roberson and Luckett took legal action suing both Mathew Knowles and their band mates for breach of partnership and fiduciary duties. Following the suit, both sides were disparaging each other in the media.Five months performing with Destiny’s Child, Franklin left the group after, according to the group, being asked to leave due to missed promotional appearances and concerts. According to Williams, Franklin could not handle stress.Franklin, however, disclosed that she left because of the negativity surrounding the strife and her inability to assert any control in the decision making.Her departure was seen as less controversial. Williams, on the other hand, shared that her inclusion into the group resulted to “battling insecurity”: “I was comparing myself to the other members, and the pressure was on me.”
Towards the end of 2000, Roberson and Luckett dropped the portion of their lawsuit aimed at Rowland and Knowles in exchange for a settlement, though they retained one against their manager. As part of the agreement, both sides were prohibited from attacking each other publicly.Roberson and Luckett formed another girl group Anjel but were unsuccessful in record sales and publicity. Although affected by the turmoil, Destiny’s Child’s success continued. The following years of their career were seen as the group’s most successful stretch,becoming a pop-cultural phenomenon.
Would Destiny Child be the same if the original members were still apart of the group?