MTV News' Chris Connelly caught up with the former members of Destiny's Child, LaTavia and LeToya, on March 20 in Los Angeles. Here's some of their conversation about the split.
Chris Connelly: How do you feel? Good, strange? What's going on in your minds?
LeToya: Strange is a good word. It's a real good word. It's like leaving camp, a real good summer camp. It's just a real weird feeling, to be with somebody since you were like nine or ten, and then be separated so suddenly.
LaTavia: Like at the drop of a hat.
CC: Has it really been since [you were] nine or ten that you've been working together?
LaTavia: I met Beyoncé in 1990, when I was eight years old, at auditions for a local group in Houston. They wanted it to be all different races, they just wanted it to be a big group. And there were a lot of girls -- I mean a lot of girls -- but out of 65 girls, Beyoncé and I made it. I met Kelly in elementary school a year later, and Beyoncé and LeToya were in middle school.
LeToya: No, elementary school, then middle school.
CC: How old were you when all four of you got together?
LeToya: I was eleven.
LaTavia: I was ten, Beyoncé was ten, and Kelly was eleven.
LeToya: You could tell it was a really good chemistry. We were like sisters immediately. Of course, it was harder for me, 'cause I just stepped in the group like that, but they had bonded for like three years before that. But as soon as I got in, it was like magic. We were all like [clasps hands].
CC: You know how successful this record is. You can see people respond to it. What happened? Why are we here? When were you in the sense that something was amiss in the group?
LaTavia: It wasn't something that happened suddenly, like at the spur of the moment. It was something that had been going on. It was things that we were noticing...
LeToya: It was conflicts that were going on. The departure was like [snaps fingers].
LaTavia: Right. There were things that were going on that we would look at, and we would talk about it and be like, "That's not right." We'd be like, "This shouldn't be this way. We should not feel that there is a conflict in interest," you know, as far as management goes. It was not a dispute between Beyoncé and Kelly, and you know, I'm really glad you ask me that. I want to clear it up to everyone out there who doesn't know that LeToya and I never quit the group.
LeToya: Never quit.
LaTavia: Never quit.
LeToya: Never left, never said anything about quitting.
LaTavia: We simply wanted to disaffirm our personal management with our manager, and because of it, this happened.
CC: Just to clarify for people who haven't really been keeping up, the four of you were managed by one person -- the group was managed by one person, Beyoncé's father. When did you two begin to think, you know, "Maybe we should be looking for our own management?"
LeToya: We had noticed like a couple years back, but it started to get really bad toward the last three months of us being in the group. Well, two years.
CC: You felt as if she was being favored...
LaTavia: In some ways, but that wasn't really the big thing.
LeToya: 'Cause Beyoncé, she has a great voice. She's very talented, so everything that came her way she deserved. But as a manager, it's some things that you are supposed to do for your client that just wasn't going on.
CC: What were the things that should have been happening?
LeToya: I know we can't get into it or anything, but it was like this film over the group, the last year. It's like "What's going on?" We really couldn't put or finger on why we felt like that, but we just knew something was wrong with that picture, and it was a bad, almost sickening feeling. We were stressed, and this is supposed to be fun.
LaTavia: My problem was with management. I didn't have any problems with Beyoncé and Kelly. The problems that I had, they didn't have anything to do with them. My problem was with management.
LeToya: It got to the point where we could not talk to each other and stuff like that. It was like, everyone was kind of scared.
LaTavia: It was so emotional. We know that's Beyoncé's father... that's why we got legal advice about it, and we got a paper written up to disaffirm our personal management contract. The paper said that we are not by any means quitting the group. We were ready, willing, and able to fulfill our duties to Destiny's Child and Columbia Records. That is a quote from the letter. It had nothing to do with Beyoncé and Kelly.... And [after that paper was filed], then we started hearing things like, "Why weren't you at this show?" and "What happened to this show?"
LeToya: "Where were you guys?"
LaTavia: "Hey, I just heard Destiny's Child just shot a 'Say My Name' video."
LeToya: "And we just came from it. Where were you?"
LaTavia: I was in a car when I got that news, and I was, like, dumbfounded. I was like, we were told that things were going to be put on hold until everything got settled. Next thing we know, "Why weren't you at this show?" "They shot a video." "Oh my God, there are two new girls in the group."
CC: What was that like, when you heard they had shot a video without you?
LeToya: I was like, "Oh no, you're playing, shut up."
LaTavia: But someone was saying, like, "Yeah, they were in red and white," and we had heard about a treatment for them in a red and white room, and I was like "You're not lying." Because I was sitting in the passenger side of the car, and I'm, like, listening to the music -- "Wait, what, you're in L.A.? What, Destiny's Child just did a video?" I was like, "Hold up, it's not true." Then we got another call and I heard it again. Then I turned on BET and they were like, "And now the premiere of Destiny's Child's new video, 'Say My Name.'" That's how we heard about it.
LeToya: But you still didn't know. I remember laying in my bed one morning and the first thing I hear was a DJ in Houston, and she was like, "I got some breaking news today, there's a problem with Destiny's Child, and I'm gonna give you the scoop later," and I was like, "No," because it was such a kick in the face. I mean, that's our song. We worked hard in that studio.
LaTavia: We're singing on that song, so we're looking at the TV...
LeToya: ...and there's girls mimicking to your vocals.
LaTavia: What's that?
LeToya: I'm not saying we sang the whole song, because Beyoncé sang the majority of it, but we're still on the backgrounds, and those girls are not background singers. So I mean, I don't get it. When I look at it, I'm like, "What are you doing?"
LaTavia: Whenever it comes on we just stop and go, "Why? Are you serious?"
LeToya: Last time I checked, those were our voices. But hey, you know, you've got to face reality, and we have faced reality. Now whenever we see it, we're like, "Hey, do your thing, girl."
CC: Could either of you done this without each other? Could either one of you done this by yourself?
LaTavia: Not at all. I mean, it would have been possible, but...
CC: What has LeToya meant to you in all of this?
LaTavia: LeToya was my person that I was like, "I gotta talk to somebody about this, I got to cry to somebody about this. I gotta talk to somebody that, when I say this, is gonna get crunk, and get me crunk and feel it." LeToya's my sister, and right now, she's my everything of what I want to do in the future. I don't want to do it without LeToya, and I don't think that I can do it without LeToya, and we've grown very close over the years. I have to say that at first, LeToya and I weren't like this... but I had just met LeToya. I really, really didn't know her... but over the years, I got to know her, and I started loving her more and more and more. Her personality, who she is, and, you know, everything.
LeToya: I have to say the same thing.