One of the flawed archetypes in New Edition are their leadership practices. Between the hits, infamous infighting has left fans with more questions than answers about modern music’s most polarizing ensemble. While BET’s New Edition biopic provided another lifeline for the long-lasting group it also brought to light underlying problems which put a halt on their comeback in 2017.
Since the start of the summer, rumors have swarmed around ownership of the group’s name and their previously canceled tour. While Johnny Gil and Ralph Tresvant have seemingly departed from the group, the remaining members now known as RBRM (Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike), took to the Breakfast Club Thursday (Aug. 23) to clear up the drama.
The artists, which happen to be the founding members of the group, were candid in comments about Gill and the actions that followed the release of the film. The group gained a new fanbase thanks to the Jesse Collins-directed film along with standout performances from Luke James, Algee Smith and Woody McClain. As their classic jams like “Can You Stand The Rain” returned to the charts, Brown was dealing with Nick Gordon’s trial for the death of his daughter Bobbi Kristina. The singer touched on this briefly while praising his group members.
“I played a major part in that not happening but at the same time, I’m thankful I was able to take my time with what I wanted to do and fortunately, we’re here now,” Brown said of the group dropping the ball on promoting themselves after the film’s release. “I wasn’t in the frame of mind to go on tour or to be performing. I had other things I had been doing and worrying about my family, my kids and my daughter. It just wasn’t the right time.”
The elephant in the room known as the trademark battle was also addressed. Mike Bivins touched on the matter, explaining how Gil and Tresvant reportedly trademarked the name without their consent. Documents online have suggested the two put in a trademark request as early as 2013 with constant back and forths in the process since then.
The current status sits as “cancellation pending” meaning the application was either abandoned or considered to be “genericide.”
“I think it was sitting out there and we were focused on other stuff that people didn’t realize it was as important as it was,” he said. “It was an oversight. Someone caught it and we found out about it later and now we’re dealing with it. I feel when Brooke [Payne] gave it to us on a piece of paper (Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike) that’s it. The truth is in the moment. We’re not going to argue about the name, we built the name and Johnny walked into the name. I know we’re going to get back together because we always do.”
Bvins went on to explain how they’ve tried to preserve the legacy of the group which has lasted over 30 years. As of late, the band has bickered with each other on social media, with Brown cropping out Tresvant in a #TBT photo and Tresvant shading the members in a birthday post.
“We’ve seen this play [out] before and we’re going to figure it out now. It wasn’t meant to be now but it has to happen,” Bivins added. “If we don’t do it, then it leaves our legacy with an empty chapter. That run is more than just getting on stage. It’s a financial run that leads to a legacy run that leads to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, it might lead to nights four, five and six. When cats receive the bigger picture, that’s when things will start to happen.”
Following the interview, Gill posted a statement of his own resting his qualms on inactive members of the group making executive decisions.
In the end, this has built more curiosity for Brown’s upcoming biopic. The group has also released official dates for the new tour as RBRM. Kicking off in September, the group will open the tour in California and close out in Florida right before Thanksgiving.
Check out the interview above.
READ MORE: Crew Love: How ‘The New Edition Story’ Made A Band Of Brothers