Can We Talk About…? The Girl-Group Gospel According to Destiny’s Child

Amid rumors of a reunion, we look back at DC's tangled herstory—and remember why they were so much more than Beyoncé's launching pad.

Can We Talk About…? is a weekly series whose love life is boring it to tears.

Word on the interwebs is that the hardest-working human being (at least as far as we know) in show business is planning a Destiny’s Child reunion to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the incarnation of the group we know and love. Beyoncé, don’t tease.

Plans reportedly include a world tour and new music, though of course no one from the DC3 camp has deigned to respond to the rumor mill. But, like, how amazing would that be?

We’ve never (and don’t even consider mentioning Fifth Harmony) had a girl group live up to Destiny’s Child since they disbanded in 2006 to allow Beyoncé to attain her true Super Saiyan form. Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams were the complete package: vocals, choreo, bops, fashion (though that was sometimes questionable).

Aside from being the launching pad for one of the greatest pop stars of this and any century, DC3 also embodies the traditional girl-group archetype originated by The Supremes. Aside from launching one of the greatest pop stars of the 20th (and any) century, The Supremes were the most successful American group of the ’60s—second only to The Beatles in popularity.

Diana Ross was pushed (or depending on who’s telling the story, pushed her way) to the front to the chagrin of her bandmates Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, the latter of whom was unceremoniously replaced by another singer, Cindy Birdsong. Their story was also the inspiration for the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, which was made into a film in 2006 starring…

Destiny’s Child is, in a way, the ultimate girl group, because while Ballard tragically died a few years after getting kicked out of the Supremes and the group continued without Ross, DC weathered its lineup changes, remained on relatively good terms, and attained greater success.

A quartet when they released their seminal sophomore album, The Writing’s on the Wall, on July 27, 1999, Destiny’s Child ended up replacing two members, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson, unbeknownst to them. In December 1999, Luckett and Roberson tried to break with their manager, a.k.a. Beyoncé’s daddy, Matthew Knowles, claiming that he was keeping too much of their money while favoring Beyoncé and Kelly. By February 2000, Luckett and Roberson learned they had been unceremoniously replaced when the video for “Say My Name” premiered with newbies Farrah Franklin and Michelle Williams instead of them.

That song would turn out to be Destiny’s Child’s breakthrough, hitting No. 1 on the charts and snagging Record and Song of the Year Grammy nominations. But while their star was climbing, the group endured further shake-ups when Franklin left (or was fired—again, depending on who’s telling the story) just five months after joining.

Destiny’s Child soldiered on as a trio and the rest is herstory. DC’s next album, Survivor, their first as a trio, sold more than 12 million copies worldwide and solidified them as the greatest girl group of the 21st century.

After splitting up more than a decade ago, DC3 has reunited on various occasions, notably during Beyoncé’s legendary Super Bowl performance in 2013 and during Beyoncé’s somehow more legendary Coachella performance last year.

Bey even seems to be on good terms with LeToya and LaTavia. Farrah not so much. Because when you’re Beyoncé, you have literally zero fucks left.

After all, there can be only one Supreme.

Lester Fabian Brathwaite is an LA-based writer, editor, bon vivant, and all-around sassbag. He's formerly Senior Editor of Out Magazine and is currently hungry. Insta: @lefabrat