EXCLUSIVE: En Vogue’s Dawn Robinson Reveals Group Made ‘2 Cents A Record’ In Earlier Days, Explains Why She Refuses To Reunite With The Ladies: The Jealousy Is Still There
In an exclusive interview with theJasmineBRAND.com, Dawn Robinson revealed her truth about what took place with En Vogue and why she ultimately left the group. Dawn Robinson has been apart of the entertainment industry for decades. Many were first introduced to the singer/songwriter when she came onto the scene as a founding member of the R&B group En Vogue. In addition to talking about the highs and lows of her career, Dawn Robinson also shared with theJasmineBRAND that she’s been following COVID-19 guidelines even though she doesn’t agree with all the regulations. She said,
“We’re being careful as much as possible and wearing masks which is stupid to me because you can still… I’ve been next to people and I actually can smell their breath through the mask. So to me, that’s not a foolproof situation.”
En Vogue originally formed in Oakland, California in 1989 and went on to become one of the world’s best-selling girl groups. Dawn shared with theJasmineBRAND that the group was named after Vogue Magazine. She also revealed that when her career first started, she wasn’t looking to join a group.
“I was looking to sing but I wasn’t necessarily looking for a group. That was a shock to me,
and it was actually a good thing because you build camaraderie. You build sisterhood you build all of that stuff and being out there on my own would have been a little bit more scary because you know everybody’s focus is on you. And then this way we had harmonies together our voices were just magic and it was a beautiful coming together.”
According to Dawn, in the group’s earlier stages, they weren’t getting paid properly. However, a conversation they had with MC Hammer inspired En Vogue to seek more money.
“On the Hammer tour we were talking MC Hammer, Cindy [Herron] actually was talking to MC Hammer, and told him that we weren’t making money. That’s when everything changed.
MC Hammer was like ‘Okay you guys are the biggest things on the charts right now and you’re making two cents a record, there’s something wrong with this picture.’”
“He paid for us to go to his attorney and he paid for the whole day. ‘Sit there and ask questions take your contracts and you guys ask questions.’ Because to him it didn’t make any sense that we were the biggest things on the charts but we were making such little money. That blew him away.”
Unfortunately, things between the ladies of En Vogue weren’t all good as drama unfolded between them once Dawn left the singing group in 1997. Dawn shared that because she didn’t have the funds to keep a PR representative on her team, she wasn’t able to fight against the lies her former group members allegedly told the press about her.
“Maxine [Jones] admitted this. She’s like ‘Dawn we told the press you were being a diva. That you left En Vogue because you were being a demon.’ I was like ‘Um, when I left En Vogue I did another group so if I was being a diva why would I do another group? If I was a diva I’d be on my own.’”
Grammy-nominated Dawn shared that she wasn’t as nervous as her former group members to show off her sex-appeal in music videos and performances.
“I think I was a little more willing to do that. I wasn’t nervous to show my body. Not overtly. We were never like TNA all day long. But I was never afraid to say ‘You know what, yeah I have breasts and I’m gonna show a little bit of cleavage and my legs. I’m going to show a little bit more skin.’”
“It’s like you turn on the light. That’s why Beyoncé calls herself Sasha Fierce because you become not the person that you are when the lights are not on, you gotta turn up.”
According to Dawn, Beyoncé’s father and former manager, Mathew Knowles, pulled inspiration from En Vogue to create Destiny’s Child. The pair met after an awards show once Dawn had already left En Vogue. During their interaction, Mathew Knowles told her,
“‘My daughter’s group, we saw En Vogue and I liken them after you.’ I said ‘that is an honor.’” He said ‘Yeah I liken them after you.’ He said ‘Execpt I looked at what you guys did
wrong and took your blueprint and I and I did it better.’”
Mathew Knowles isn’t the only creative visionary in the industry that Dawn has met. The ‘Giving Him Something He Can Feel’ singer shared with theJasmineBRAND how nervous En Vogue was when they first met the legendary Diana Ross.
“She was sitting at the awards show backstage by herself. There was no team around her, no managers, no kids.”
“And we were like ‘You guys we gotta go talk to her. No, you talk to her. Go! We can’t. Oh my gosh.’ We finally walked over and we were like ‘Miss Ross you are amazing…’ she’s like ‘Diana.’ We said ‘Diana you are amazing and we love you.’”
Dawn and the other ladies of En Vogue have reunited and broken up more than once and it doesn’t look like they will be trying another go around anytime soon. When speaking on the current status of the dismantled group Dawn revealed that it’s God’s plan for her to be solo.
“It’s not meant to [work out]. I keep trying to go back to a group situation and God keeps saying ‘You’re supposed to be solo.’”
“It was messy. It was wrongful termination when they kicked me out so how are they going to have different attitudes later? Are they all of a sudden gonna have a ‘Come to Jesus moment’ as Oprah [Winfrey] calls it and treat me differently? No, there’s still – the jealousy is still there.”
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After leaving the En Vogue Dawn joined the group Lucy Pearl and in 2002 she released her first solo album Dawn. The songstress shared with theJasmineBRAND that she almost signed with Dr. Dre and his Aftermath record label once she went solo.
“I did sign to Dr. Dre vicariously through Interscope.”
“First of all his label was brand new, Aftermath was brand spanking new. He had just come out with the Aftermath album with a bunch of different artists on there…he was introducing those artists to the world through his new label.”
Dawn continued and shared that she decided against signing with Dr. Dre because she didn’t think he had all the kinks in his new label fully worked out. In addition to that, she had concerns that there could be a conflict of interest if Dr. Dre acted as both her producer and label.
It’s been decades since En Vogue initially formed. Since then the group has had multiple highs and lows and seen a few new faces as some of the original members left. Dawn revealed to theJasmineBRAND that she currently doesn’t speak to any of her former band members.
“When you get kicked out it’s like your boyfriend breaking up with you. You’re not going to be friends with him after that. Like it hurts okay, there’s a lot of pain there. So people forget about that part. They see the sisterhood and there was, I thought, but when they kicked me out I was like ‘What kind of sisters are you guys?’”
She added that despite her being the one who was kicked out, Terry Ellis is the real reason the group allegedly broke up.
“I didn’t deserve to be kicked out of something that I helped build. So it’s really hard for me to be friends with them. We never had a real – I thought me and Terry were the closest in age so I thought we were sisters more than anything. But Terry is the reason that the group broke up. So it’s like they blamed me instead of Terry. Instead of her taking ownership and accountability for what she did she just let it happen.”
Dawn also shared that even though she’s not friends with any of the En Vogue ladies they all are cordial with one another. Last year marked the 30-year reunion of En Vogue, however, there wasn’t a huge celebration for the group. According to Dawn, that wasn’t because of the coronavirus pandemic but instead because of her former band members wanting to bring in Rhona Bennett, who joined the group in 2003. She said,
“The virus didn’t stop it to me. What stopped it was – because we could have done a whole lot of virtual shows and virtual stuff for the fans. But Terry and Cindy want to bring Rhona in there and Rhona wasn’t there from the beginning so how can Rhona celebrate something she wasn’t there for?”
Dawn continued and shared that she doesn’t have any issues with Rhona Bennett but strongly feels that she shouldn’t be involved in a reunion celebration for the group that covers a time period before she was an En Vogue member.
Dawn revealed to us multiple issues she had towards En Vogue including the way she was scrutinized for her solo album while other members of the group didn’t receive that same criticism for their own solo projects. She said,
“They held me to the fire when it came to my solo album but they didn’t do that with Terry. So that was part of my problem with them. Yeah, Terry did her solo album first, I did my solo album second. But they kicked me out and kept Terry in the group. That’s f*cked up.”
In addition to her music career, Dawn Robinson was also a cast member on the reality tv series R&B Divas LA. Even though there was some drama that took place on the show, Dawn shared that she doesn’t have any regrets about her time on the series.
“Everything that I showed was real. That’s what I thought reality TV was going to be. That’s what I thought they wanted, my real story. The fact that I talked about having an abusive ex-husband. My fans hadn’t even known that I was married.”
“I was like ‘I’m telling my truth because I want somebody to grow and learn from this. Not because I want them to be like ‘Oh shade’ because my life is not shade.”
Even though her journey with En Vogue wasn’t always a positive one, Dawn wants the world to know that she’s no longer bitter about what took place and has healed.
“Before, you couldn’t talk to me about En Vogue without me, first of all, saying ‘Please don’t bring them up. Can we not even talk about them? Like why are we even talking about them? If you want to do business with Cindy, Terry, and Maxine you need to go and find them.’”
“And now it’s like, I can talk about how funny Terry was. I can talk about how much mother – Maxine was the mother of the group and she was like a hippie.”
Before our conversation with Dawn wrapped, she filled us in on her current projects and how she has been keeping herself busy lately. She has a book coming out soon and is getting back to her solo music career.
“I’m working on my autobiographical.”
She continued and said it’s not a tell-all book but it is a book of truth.
“All of the stuff that I talk about is true. Sometimes when you tell your truth it’s going to look like I’m talking about them in a negative way and it is not that at all. This is how I lived it, this is what I witnessed, this is what happened.”
Dawn also has a lipstick line coming out soon.
She’s not sure what it will be called but she recently secured the rights to “Diva by Dawn” and plans on incorporating the word ‘diva’ into her lipstick brand somehow.
What are your thoughts on everything Dawn Robinson had to say? Let us know in the comments.