The on-again, off-again, on-again 90’s R&B girl group En Vogue is officially on the outs again!
The female quartet – made up of Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones and Dawn Robinson – has had many incarnations since making their debut in July 1989.
Now, after a public spat on Twitter and Facebook, it appears as though there may now be two facets of En Vogue – one with Robinson, Jones and two new members; and another with Ellis, Herron and regular fill-in singer Rhona Bennett.
Though the group had been performing concert dates with the original four members, behind the scenes in-fighting has yet again got the best of them. On July 24, Robinson took to her official Twitter page @DawnRobinson_ to announce that the group was splitting in half, with her and Jones moving forward with two new singers.
READ THE TWEET:
Ellis and Herron then took to Facebook to address the issue, opting to take the high road in the explanation they posted.
READ THE FACEBOOK MESSAGE:
Here is a timeline of when problems began with En Vogue and replacement members emerged:
> In 1997, Robinson left En Vogue to pursue her solo career. The trio of Jones, Herron and Ellis released the CD, “EV3” that same year.
> In 2000, En Vogue released ‘Masterpiece Theater’ on Elektra Records before ultimately being dropped by the label.
> In 2001, Jones departed the group to spend time with her family and was replaced by a singer named Amanda Cole. The new En Vogue trio – Herron, Ellis and Cole – then released a holiday CD called ‘The Gift of Christmas.’
> In 2002, Cole vacated the group and was replaced by Bennett in the En Vogue trio. Bennett was fresh off “The Jamie Foxx Show,” where she joined the cast as a recurring character in 2000.
> Also in 2002, Robinson – having been ousted from the R&B collective Lucy Pearl by its founder Raphael Saadiq – released her solo self-titled opus that went unnoticed.
> In 2004, the Herron, Ellis and Bennett trio of En Vogue released an independent CD called ‘Soul Flower.’ Jones returned to the group around this time to fill-in for Herron who needed to take maternity leave while the group was on a European tour.
> In 2005, the original four members reunited to record Stevie Wonder’s song, ‘So What the Fuss’ for Wonder’s “A Time to Love” CD. They also performed the song with him on the “Oprah Show.” Later that year, En Vogue performed “Whatta Man” on VH-1’s “Hip Hop Honors” as part of the tribute to honorees Salt-N-Pepa. Robinson never returned to the group full-time during this time and Bennett continued to perform concert dates with the other three original members.
> In 2008, I wrote a story for AOL Black Voices about En Vogue reuniting with the original foursome for the Plymouth Jazz Festival in Tobago. It was the first time the originating members had sung together since 2005. “We’re blessed to be together right now,” Robinson said then. When I asked about Bennett and her working with the group moving forward, Herron answered: “Rhona is also still with the group. She will be working with us as we need her. It’s all about balancing everything. We have to work our shows into our family life. But balance is the key.”
After their reunion in Tobago, En Vogue would go on to do regular concert dates with the originating members, in addition to high profile performances on the BET Awards (2008), the Trumpet Awards (2009) and at Essence Magazine’s Evening of Excellence during the Congressional Black Caucus (2010). At some point during this time, in-fighting and creative differences began to pose challenges yet again.
Things grew especially tense in 2011 when En Vogue was offered a reality series by the same production company that produced “K-Ci & JoJo…Come Clean” for TV One. I reported on the Tom Joyner Morning Show back then that the deal fell apart because apparently Robinson wouldn’t sign the contract without a stipulation that guaranteed if she participated in the group series, she would receive a spin-off for her and her husband.
Regardless, the original members continued to perform together on the road. Now, the return of Bennett on dates when Robinson or Jones are not unavailable appear to have ignited the group’s latest beef. After years of fighting, splits, substitutions and reunions, it may just be time for this group to permanently call it quits!