Breakout R&B Girl Groups: Who Had The Star Power To Go Solo?

Every once in a while, a woman emerges in the music scene with such talent and bravado you can’t help but think a star is being born. The upcoming film Sparkle could do just that for American Idol‘s Jordin Sparks, who in the movie actually plays the breakout lead in a fictional 1960s R&B girl group.

It had us thinking about other recent girl groups and the breakout stars who went on to even bigger fame: Is it inevitable that one member rises to the top, goes solo and never looks back? Check out our roundup of recent R&B and hip-hop acts that have produced worship-worthy divas.

Have a group we missed? Praying for a reunion? Sing out in the comments section.

Sparkle hits theaters on August 17


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  • hamoboy

    TLC had it going on! T-Boz was an unusual lead singer, who lead from the bottom note, not from the top. Chili did her thing, never outshining the lead singer, but never being useless or making mistakes on stage (cough, Michelle Williams, cough). And Left-Eye, she is greatly missed! An amazing rapper, writer and decent enough singer.
    I loved how they sounded just the same live as in the studio, even with all their dance moves and crazy gimmicks.
    Another girl group you might have missed out on is Mis-Teeq. They were a british R&B trio that had hits in the early 2000s. The breakout performer there was the rapper, Alesha Dixon, who went on to win Strictly Come Dancing (dancing with the stars retread I suppose) and became a judge on the show. She’s had quite a few hits since, singing instead of rapping on all of them.

  • what?

    bills, bills, bills WAS on their second album. their first album has no, no, no (part 1) and (part 2). i sure am glad they got better at their song titles.

  • Jeremy

    Who cares? this is hardly relevant to gay news

  • JustSoda

    What exactly did these glorious girl groups do for the gay community? Most are probably so Church driven, they wouldn’t touch gay rights. Sorry, fake manufactored pop and r&b never appealed to me.

  • L.L


    Can we get some interesting stories on this site?

  • Gabriel

    @what?: Was about to say that!

  • Kevin Mendoza

    Why is this news again? because gay black men will fawn over every black female singer? Same said black gays who are extremely indifferent toward gay rights, and are the first to throw gays under the bus? Some of the most homophobic people I’ve known are gay black males. And that’s the truth. Their anger is misdirected. Instead of confronting homophobia in the black community (which is a huge thorn on their side) they’d rather use the gay community as a punching bag. Now that a majority of gays have noticed how bitter and homophobic said gay blacks can be, there’s a huge tension they’ve created, and then they get up in arms when people don’t wanna date them
    and I say this as a LATINO. A proud one. Latinos, even with their religious ties, are nowhere near as homophobic as black peeps or especially gay black peeps.

  • JP

    Do these women text sweet messages to Beenieman (after he sings about brutally murdering gays in numerous songs) like Nikki Minaj does? how about Rihanna, who is celebrated as some golden diva, but dates a man who beat her and who is proudly homophobic?
    guess it’s okay of them because they are minorities and it’s not PC to call out other minorities being homophobic to us.

  • jonasalden

    @Kevin Mendoza: I agree with most of what Kevin Mendoza says, and I’m Black. It is the “church-y” vein running through the Black community that accounts for the homophobia. Go to any Black church and check out the choir. Many of them are gay, which means they are part of the system that suppresses gays in the Black community. However, as for being the first to throw gays under the bus, the reason is complex I think. Many Black gay men don’t perceive the greater gay community (read: White gays) to have their interests at heart, based on the well-known dating bias AWAY FROM BLACK MEN among them (save for those who actually prefer Black men). Why that is, I can only guess (down-low AIDS fears, general racial bias, etc.), not just due to that said bitterness. And as for not confronting homophobia in the Black community? Spot on, Kevin Mendoza. But I’ll tell you something else I’ve experienced: criticism from other gay Black men for not dating Black men exclusively. But that’s another topic.

  • jonasalden

    @JP: I didn’t know Rihanna was (proudly)homophobic. I’m not disputing that at all, as she’s from the Caribbean, where it is strongly frowned upon. But more importantly, Minorities not wanting to call out other minorities is a compelling point that I can’t believe I’ve never thought about before. Hmmmm.

  • Arlington-Patrick

    Sadly, as a biracial man, I agree with some of these points. We, especially those of us gays of color, are in the fight of our lives every day, be it for being a sexual minority or racial, and that’s why its so important to get the support of more black artists sticking their necks out for us. The black community really disappoints me in that sense. These female singers may be talented but I do have a feeling of ‘what have they done for me? For their gay fans of color?’ I refuse to blindly support some artist just because they share the same color as me, even though they haven’t expressed support for other parts of me, in this most crucial time for our LGBT. And yeah, black gay peoples general nonchalant approach to homophobia is what has kept homophobia in our community from being far better than it could be. That may not be the diplomatic thing to say, but I lived it and see it, and clearly I’m not the only one

  • hamoboy

    Two words: Intersectionality and Privilege. Anybody wanting to talk about -isms needs to have a working knowledge of those two concepts.

  • dax

    this is a lame post. i dont think most people care about bubble hum pop artisy when lgbt issues are more important and so are economic issue

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