In the late 90’s, there was no escaping the R&B girl group Destiny’s Child. What was originally a quartet starring Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett soon became a trio after LaTavia and Letoya were cut from the group over management issues and then ultimately replaced with Michelle Williams.
Almost fourteen years later, no one could forget the messiness of it all. We caught up with original DC member LaTavia as she embarks on her return into the spotlight with her new gig on TV One’s reality series R&B Divas: Atlanta. In our candid chat, the singer discusses her split with the group, her battle with alcoholism and how she was able to overcome it all, still standing.
— Terry Carter Jr.
Did you have any hesitation about joining R&B Divas?
At first I kind of did because you see some reality shows and you’re like ‘is that really real? Would I want to portray myself like that?’ But there had been interest from the show prior to me joining and then it came back around again. It was a brave new experience but, it was such a fun ride. When you’re around women who have experienced the music industry the way that we have, it made the process for me more special. At the core, it was just a real desire to show the world that African American women can get along and support each other. There’s a genuine spirit of sisterhood. Bringing six women together with six respectable careers, baby, let me tell you it definitely makes for some good TV.
I know you can’t give too much away, but do you feel like you fit in with the rest of the divas? Which of the ladies did you bond with the most?
Kameelah [Williams] and I have been friends for years and I met everyone on the show before joining. I feel like I fit in but I’m a different type of diva. Everyone else has record deals and musical aspirations where I’m trying to be more like a behind the scenes diva. Doing more songwriting and publishing. I’m kind of a rebel. Deciding whether or not I should even get back into the crazy music industry. It was different for me.
A lot of people have criticized reality shows for glamorizing negative behavior among African American women. Do you agree or disagree with those criticisms?
I disagree with that because we definitely, this season, we really tried to promote sisterhood. We’re all grown women and we all have our own opinions and different perceptions about everything but you don’t have to put yourself in a negative light like that. And I absolutely love each and every one of the women. I share a different kind of bond with all of them in my own right.
What was the most challenging part about shooting a reality show?
The hardest thing was just scheduling. With me being a new mommy and the sleepless nights with a newborn and then having to work and be prepared to be on set certain days and some days you might have to do more than one scene.
You recently gave birth to your baby girl Lyric last year, how has life been adjusting to motherhood?
Thank God that I have my heavenly father. (Laughs) There are sleepless nights because she’s starting to teeth but motherhood for me has been wonderful. The overall experience is humbling and I’m very thankful.
You also revealed that you are working on a book which you will be sharing some details about your time with Destiny’s Child as one of the original members. What made you want to write this book?
Even back when I was younger in the group, I was said that I wanted to write a book. I just wanted to be very transparent. I wanted to express myself. People always say ‘tell all’ which always sounds so scandalous when I think about it, but I like to call my book my love letter because I wanted tell the things that I’ve been going through in my life and I felt like it was time. I thought I was finished but I became pregnant and I had to continue writing because my story was not over.
What type of impact did the Destiny’s Child break up have on you both personally and professionally?
The first year after everything happened was hard. I wasn’t able to be around my sisters anymore. We were together from eight until almost nineteen years old and thats a long time to be with somebody. It seemed messy in public, but really it was all about management. It didn’t have anything to do with us. The divide for me had nothing to do with [Beyoncé and Kelly] it was solely about management issues. I will forever be thankful for the group because it was one of the best parts of my life. I got to see the world by the time I was eighteen and I got to spend it with my childhood best friend. I believe in God and destiny so I have to say being replaced was one of the best things to happen to me. That path lead me to being the woman I am today perfectly.
If you could go back, would you do anything differently as far as the way you dealt with that situation so publicly?
The only thing that I can say that I would have done differently is that I would have been more vocal with my sisters privately because it was just a strict deal with management, but I truly believe that God has a way of making things happen and I believe that it happened exactly the way that it was supposed to.
It seems like all of the women have moved on from that. What was that moment of reconciliation like for you with Beyoncé and Kelly?
I saw Beyoncé [in 2003] and we hugged and we told each other we love each other and I’ve spoken to Kelly. We’re all grown women. Two of us are mothers, Kelly is engaged. LeToya was at my baby shower. We were children when that happened. I have the utmost respect for all the girls and their careers.
In the ***Flawless video from Beyoncé‘s new album, there’s a clip of you girls performing on Star Search under the name Girls Tyme. You guys actually lost. Do you remember that moment and what did you take from that experience?
Oh yes, we were crushed! We went straight back stage and we cried like babies for hours. We were like ‘how did we lose?’ But we got back up and we got back into the rehearsal space and we just started grinding harder.
How did you feel when Bey gave you a shout out at the Billboard Awards when she won her Millennium award in 2011? That was such a huge moment for all of us who were original DC fans.
I loved the performance. I was sitting at my mother’s house in the chair in the living room and when she said it, I got a little teary eyed and I was like ‘I love you too girl!’ It was awesome.
If there was a movie done about the story of Destiny’s Child, who would you want to play you?
Oh my gosh. I just would want whoever it is to actually capture me. The raw me and who I truly am. As long as I am portrayed right, I wouldn’t mind who it is.
If the opportunity presented itself, would you be open to sharing the stage with Beyoncé, Kelly and LeToya again? For a reunion of sorts..
It has been in the brewing pot. I’ve been hearing people say things and I’ve been seeing people post pictures of us together but at this point, I believe anything is possible.
Photo Credit: Getty
You have been very open about your battle with alcoholism, how has your road to sobriety been so far?
I was at a point in my life where I was trying to suppress some things but I’m at a good space in my life now. All I can say is, we all go through things. I just love the fact that when I look in the mirror now, I love who I see looking back at me.
What advice would you give to women out there trying to overcome that addiction?
I don’t mean to sound preachy, but the way that I was able to cope with it was maintaining my relationship with God. That’s really the best advice that I could give.
Besides R&B Divas and your upcoming book, what else can we be expecting from you in the near future?
[More] television and films. I’m working on a creole cook book with my mom. I’m also working on a infant line because when my baby was born she was tiny and I had such a hard time finding clothes for her. I’m definitely getting back into songwriting and production. Also promoting breast cancer awareness because my mother is actually a survivor of it.
To keep up with LaTavia, you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @IamLaTavia.
Photo Credit: Instagram