Sunday, January 29, 2017

The New Edition Story: 10 Facts I Learned About the R&B Group


 I watched all three parts of The New Edition Story this weekend and WOW! Ah-mazinggg! 

I have to give props to the amazing cast, directors, and New Edition themselves (Ralph, RonnieBobbyRicky, Mike and Johnny) who put together the film. 
(Left to right) Luke James as Johnny Gill, Elijah Kelley as Ricky Bell, Keith Powers as Ronnie DeVoe, Algee Smith as Ralph Tresvant, Woody McClain as Bobby Brown, and Bryshere Gray as Michael Bivens 

Everything was so on point! From recreating NE's cover art on their albums, to the stage set on tour, to their clothes in interviews, and the exact details of their clothes: hats, shoes, color of ties, plus their dancing, singing and mannerisms ... THEY DID THAT ISH!



It was great that the co-producers of the film were New Edition, and they kept the story true to how they lived it.

NE was formed in 1978, and they reached their height of success in the early '80s, before I was even born (in '85). Of course I became hit to their music in the '90s... "Candy Girl" was always the ish. 

As a kid, I always knew Bobby Brown was the bad boy who married Whitney, and amid onstage brawls and super big egos, I knew the group broke up A LOT. They were on and off throughout the years like a Chris Brown relationship. 

While watching the NE miniseries, I learned so many things about the group:

#10 Michael Bivens was a G! Michael (played by Bryshere Gray), got into it a lot with Bobby, and he wasn't no punk. Mike was often very vocal about group decisions, always asked a lot of questions as a kid, never seemed scared, and he did one very smart thing: he learned the business side of the music industry. After getting played by the group's second manager, Gary Evans (played by Michael Rapaport), Mike fired him. He also later started managing other groups. Which brings me to #9...

#9 Mike founded and managed multiple groups, including Boyz II Men! (their name is actually one of NE's songs). The group would joke that Mike was the least talented, but peep this: his net worth is the biggest of them all now:

#8 It was Bobby Brown's idea to start the group. He asked Ricky and Mike to join him onstage at a local talent show. The boys decided to add a fourth member and then asked Ralph to join the group. Bobby also seemed like a sneaky little kid from the jump... crossing his fingers behind his back when telling the other boys they would sing in the group as well. He was a trip!

#7 Shortly after, Ronnie DeVoe joined the group as the fifth member before NE really popped off. Ronnie's Uncle, Brook Payne (played by Wood Harris), was a choreographer and the group's first manager. He was the glue that kept the group together at times. Brook was also responsible for giving the group their name. 



#6 I never knew how Bobby actually got kicked out of the group (and later replaced by Johnny Gill). In the film, the group's manager, Gary, had the rest of the group vote whether Bobby would still be apart of NE or not, after all of his onstage antics and drug troubles. The rest of the members, Ralph, Ronnie, Ricky and Mike, voted to kick Bobby out of the group which then led Bobby to getting a solo deal with their same record label, MCA. And, Mike, being the business man he is, asked Johnny to join the group. Johnny was no stranger to the guys as he was a longtime friend to the group members, as shown in the film. And, that was a smart move, because brother man can BLOW!

#5 I never knew Ronnie was married to Shamari Fears! How did I not know this!? Shamari is one third of the R&B group Blaque (remember them? "... boom like an 808, be makin' circles like a figure eight ... that was my jam!) The two wed in 2006 and their wedding was shown in the third installment of the film. Their wedding also played a major part in reuniting NE as Ronnie pushed all the beef to the side and invited every member from NE to be in his wedding party. True brotherhood (or maybe he had no other friends? Lol).

#4 Ralph 
Tresvant was offered a solo deal from the jump! Who knew! The group was founded by Maurice Starr (who also discovered New Kids on the Block) at a local talent show in their hometown in Roxbury, Mass. He offered the boys a $500 bonus advance after they signed their contracts (ha! ONLY 500! Tuh-huh ... that was some BS from the jump). As shown in the movie, after Maurice heard Ralph's unique vocal abilities as a kid, he offered him a solo deal before the group was even signed. Ralph, being the loyal young friend he was, told Maurice he'll take the deal ONLY if he signs them as a group. Ralph, who in the beginning was getting pushed as the group's lead singer (something he didn't want), could've deaded NE wayyy back then if he wanted to. The other group members at times also seemed like they were jealous of Ralph. 

#3 Umm, so Bobby once said his ex wife, the legendary Whitney Houston, first brought drugs into their relationship. Even Whitney's brother has said in the past, don't blame Bobby for Whitney's drug habit and said he was the one who introduced drugs to Whitney in the '80s, not Bobby. Well, this NE biopic paints a different picture. Throughout the miniseries, we see how Bobby started messing with random girls, and doing cocaine. He got locked up for driving without a license and registration, he was acting out onstage and often times trying to steal the show. Before Bobby could bring the group down, they all voted to have him removed from NE. Anywho, if this is all true like they say, then Bobby was doing drugs before he even got with Whitney. 

#2 I never knew Ricky Bell was addicted to drugs too! Later on in the film, we see Ricky swallowing pills with brown liquor. His drug addiction got worse as the group slipped into more financial troubles. Ricky (played by Elijah Kelley) told his wife that there was no money left. He later on joined a support group and it looks like he eventually got himself together. 

#1 NE was broke for years and still living in the projects after the worldwide success of their debut album Candy Girl and their follow-up tour. The group even had the #1 song on the Billboard charts (they beat out Michael Jackson at that time!) In one scene, after NE's tour wrapped up, their tour bus literally dropped them back off to the Orchard Park projects where they all lived with their momma's. AND, to make matters worse, the group only saw $1.87 check after all their hard work from Candy Girl. 

DAYUMMM! They got played, HARD!

Man, if we haven't learned from TLC and almost every former Bad Boy artist ... READ YA DAMN CONTRACT BEFORE YOU SIGN IT! 

NE struggled with their finances for a hot minute before they ever truly got paid correctly for their success. Such a shame. 

BET's New Edition mini-series was watched by 4.2 million making it BET's most watched premiere in five years

Johnny Gill also said on TMZ Live recently that the group is supposedly getting in the studio to follow up 2004's One LoveHe said NE is open to discussing a Las Vegas residency, though it hasn't happened yet. And, he said there's more than just an album on the way.

Ayy!
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