Written by Ty Cole
At 10 PM ET last night, you like many other 90s-2000s fans were tuned in to BET Presents: The Encore, which features 9 R&B veteran divas set to live in one house for 30 days to create an album. The cast includes Shamari DeVoe, Irish Grinstead, LeMisha Grinstead, Nivea Nash, Felisha King, Fallon King, Pamela Long, Aubrey O’ Day, and Kiely Williams, who have signed on to the one-of-a-kind music experiment to become the next big musical sensation as a supergroup.
The show is executive produced by Kingdom Reign Entertainment with Carlos King, Scott Jeffress, Alicia Martino, Brent Nisbett and Scott Shatsky serving as Executive Producers.
MusicXclusives correspondent Ty Cole spoke to Williams from 3LW and Long from Total on appearing on the show and the main ingredient that makes a girl group successful.
Kiely: Confidence. If everyone in the group keeps their eyes focused on what they need to do to improve. If you think of this as a band, where everyone understands their role instead of comparing yourself to each other. Girl groups fail because they are focused on looking left and right and not focused on looking at their personal growth.
We see in the series that Long is not with the BS and continues to take the higher road in situations, even praying with Fallon and Felisha in the first episode after a small rift the twins were involved in. When asked who she feels needs “extra” spiritual guidance, she chooses herself, sharing how she needed to “look at herself,” realizing that she needed more “healing” and had to deal with issues she thought she was passed.
Also in the interview, Williams shares that she speaks with all the cast members, but does not keep in contact with Aubrey, who we see has a small rift at the end of last night’s episode.
When asked if they would return to their respective girl groups, Long shares to “never say never” while Williams shares she “doesn’t see it” when it comes to returning to 3LW but doesn’t rule out the possibility of The Cheetah Girls reuniting in the future. Williams adds that she and The Cheetah Girls are good with each other, however, it comes down to “interpersonal feelings, professionalism, and egos” which may hinder the reunion of the “Playas Gon Play” girl group.
‘Power’ star Naturi Naughton left the group in 2002 due to an incident that occurred between ‘Power’ star Naturi Naughton, ‘The Real’ host Adrienne Bailon, and Williams that has many different versions of the story that we’ve heard throughout the years. Naughton spoke about the incident in a TV One: Uncensored episode, keeping the story that a plate of KFC food was thrown at her in the back of the limo by Williams.
Williams had responded to the episode in a video clip, calling Naughton a “liar” and claiming that she inserted “new lies” into her story. Williams had shared at the time that she was a mom while Naughton is on television, posing the question “Why do you need this?”
Bailon and Naughton have since made up on an episode of The Real back in 2017 when the two women rehashed the past with Bailon apologizing in the end. The group had continued with a new member, Jessica Benson, before having their third album Point Of No Return shelved and disbanding in 2007.
Do we want a 3LW reunion or a Cheetah Girls reunion? Would you like to see Total comeback in the future? Maybe a VERZUZ battle?