Former Destiny’s Childsinger LaTavia Roberson has enjoyed her time away from the limelight. Back in 2000, during the midst of a whirlwind promotional tour for their sophomore album ‘The Writing’s on the Wall,’ Roberson and LeToya Luckett attempted to sever their management agreement with Mathew Knowles. They claimed Beyonce’s father favored his daughter and that he was keeping too much of the group’s profits.
Roberson and Luckett were then ousted from the group, replaced in their “Say My Name” music video with Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin who lip-synched to their background vocals. The two founding members then sued father and daughter Knowles, as well as group member Kelly Rowland. Both parties slung dirt during a back-and-forth media blitz, but the lawsuits ended up being settled out of court and Roberson and Luckett were said to have made a pretty penny. A non-disclosure agreement prohibits them from discussing the settlement.
Despite claims from Rowland and Knowles that Roberson and Luckett couldn’t sing, the two formed a new group called Anjel-right around the same time that Destiny’s Child kicked Franklin out of the group and became a tri0. Signed to a production deal with Jagged Edge, the group’s failure to launch caused them to disband. Luckett embarked on a solo music career and Roberson decided to retreat and do some soul searching.
After nearly three years of being out of the entertainment industry, Roberson has decided to get back in the game, exploring ventures in theater, fashion, television and of course, music. But there’s one thing she definitely wants people to be clear about: “I don’t feel pressured to do it! I haven’t decided to do the music or anything else just because LeToya is doing it now. But I’m just ready to do it because now it’s time,” Roberson told me.
I caught up with Roberson recently in Atlanta, where she lives, and she spoke candidly in an exclusive interview about her past, present and what her future holds.
Life after Destiny’s Child: “My transition took a long time. My mindset after everything happened was just, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this happened.’ I was really like in a daze. I knew what was going on, but I had no idea, and I didn’t know what was going to happen with my life and what direction I was going in. I wished that I wasn’t unemployed, but I felt it was something that I had to do for myself to better myself at the time. Dealing with all of the lawsuits and all of those proceedings, it took almost two years for us to get through all of this. That was really a headache, and I was glad when that part was over. That’s when I finally started living a little and getting out to see what the real world had to offer.”
Regrets about leaving the group: “Yes, the only thing… I don’t regret doing what I did, because I would do it again…but where I am right now, I wouldn’t have been afraid to go to Beyonce knowing that we had been best friends for like 10 years. I wouldn’t have been afraid to go to her and let her know that I had some concerns. I wouldn’t have been afraid to go to Mathew regardless of how I thought he was going to respond and regardless of how much I felt like I wasn’t going to have a voice. I would have gone to them without fear this time. But I don’t regret doing it. I’m older now and I see things could have been worked out. It was just being inexperienced and needing some growth.”
On if she got jealous of Destiny’s Child’s success following the breakup: “Oh no! It’s never bothered me. I have all of the Destiny’s Child albums. I mean, ‘Destiny Fulfilled’ is my s-t for real! I got all of Beyonce’s albums. I know how corny this sounds, and I know it sounds cheesy because of where Beyonce is right now. But we were very, very close, and I always looked up to Beyonce. I’ve been a huge fan of hers. I saw her in Atlanta when she was doing ‘Fighting Temptations’-and you know how long ago that was-but we embraced each other, and it really felt good. It felt good to see her! But I know that for both of us, it was kind of overwhelming because it had been so long. But I’ve never been envious. I just saw the ‘Déjà Vu’ video, and I was like, ‘Damnit girl, do your thing!’ I have no reason to be envious. I’ll be out when the time is right.”
On her breakup with Brandon Casey of Jagged Edge: “It’s not anything bad. We’re still very good friends. I have all the love in the world for him! It’s been three years. We see each other often, and we’re still friends. I would still like to work with him musically because Brandon and [his twin] Brian Casey are extremely wonderful writers. In the industry, they are very underrated. I’ve been in the studio recently and heard a lot of their stuff. I’m amazed at how much they’ve grown in their writing and their production.”
What happened to Anjel: “We started recording, but at the end of the day the timing wasn’t right. We went our separate ways. People wanted to explore different opportunities and we let bygones be bygones and went our separate ways.”
Connection to rapper Paul Wall: “I met Paul Wall at my mother’s twin’s wedding. He went to my aunt’s church and he’d helped her family out with a lot of stuff. This was like 10 years ago. He just kind of fell into our family. People always ask, ‘Well, how is he your cousin, and he’s white?’ Hey, cause he is our family! If I needed anything Paul was always there. He is so dependable. He is our family, a part of our family.”
Why she left entertainment for three years: “Over the last few years, I had to step up and move back to Houston to help my family. My grandmother had two strokes, the first in March of 2003. It paralyzed her and she can’t walk and can’t talk. My grandfather has Alzheimer’s, and I just stepped up to help my mom. She’s their homecare provider, and I helped her maintain the household. It hasn’t been easy…I’m going to cry…but its been a very humbling situation for me. It’s made me realize that being out in the spotlight is cool, but there’s so much more to life. You never know what’s going to happen and you can’t take your family for granted. I’m doing my part so that I can be at peace with myself. So when the Lord is ready to take my grandparents, I won’t be selfish. I’ll be happy, and I’ll rejoice. It’s been a part of my growth for me to see how precious things have been. I’m so rich, despite not working in the business right now; I’m so rich in so many other ways because of the experience and being able to spend that time with my family.”
Why she passed on replacing Kandi Burruss in Xscape: “I was back at home in Houston, and it was during that two-year period of taking care of my family. I wasn’t trying to sing at the time at all. Mentally it would not have been good for me. I know all of them in Xscape, so it wasn’t personal or anything like that. But it was a time in my life where I thought being in the public eye wouldn’t be good for me at all.”
On Letoya Luckett’s solo comeback: “I’m glad that she came out the way that she did. I’m glad she sounds the way that she does, because there were a lot of things out there about us not being able to sing. She sounds good and looks good. I really couldn’t be happier for her. It’s not about proving anyone wrong, because it’s not about that. But I’m so happy for her, and I hope God continues to bless her journey. We talk every couple of weeks.”
On the reality series she’s been shooting: “I like to have memories. Everything that I’ve gone through…it’s been a struggle. I really have a serious story to tell. Not just what happened to my grandparents, but there have been so many other challenging things that have happened in my life. I want my fans to know, I am a real person. I’ve screwed up. I’ve made mistakes. But I’ve come back. But I’m becoming a woman now! There are struggles that I still have to this day. I just want people to be able to connect with me, and maybe they’ll be able to understand why I’ve been off the scene for so long, because I guarantee you, its nothing like anybody thinks!”
Like her former Destiny’s Child cohorts, Roberson said she wants to flex her business muscles. “I’m trying to be my own entrepreneur,” she said. The singer aims to develop a shoe and accessory line and has goals of launching a lingerie line as well. Roberson also plans to spend some time in Los Angeles so that she can further explore her acting chops. She also is in talks about starring in a few theater projects, neither of which she can discuss right now. “They’re all just projects where I can be creative,” she added.
As far as music is concerned, Roberson is itching to get back in the game. Her plans are to begin working in the studio on some material this fall, and of course her “cousin” is among those with whom she plans to collaborate. “I hope to work with Paul Wall. We had talked about me being featured on one of his songs before,” she said. Roberson’s also interested in working with Lil’ Jon (“So I can record some crunk music”), Timbaland (“I love what he’s done with Nelly Furtado”), Kelis (“I’m just feeling ‘Bossy,’ and I love that track”) and T.I. (“Love him, yes, all day!”).
[tags]LaTavia Roberson, LeToya Luckett, Destiny’s Child, Beyonce[/tags]