What’s up with Fifth Harmony?????? What’s up with girl groups? What’s up with Camila Cabello? Who is she??? I don’t have the answers, but maybe Queen Latifah does. During a TCA panel with Lee Daniels on Wednesday for his recently premiered Fox series Star, a show about the struggles of a young girl group and also ~race~, Latifah was asked for her thoughts on the state of girl groups.
Latifah got asked to expound on the “singular generational nature of girl groups and their relevance today.”
“No,” Latifah responded.
Latifah is a queen, though, so of course she added more. After prefacing that she’s not an expert on the topic of girl groups (on Star, she plays a salon owner / maternal figure for the girls), she said, “Unfortunately, a lot of people who have a lot of money, and who make things happen, are followers and not really leaders,” she said. “And so they often want, if someone else has it, they want the next ‘that’ and the next ‘that,’ when there are a lot of original groups that could be different and successful and sustainable.”
In other words, executives and artists drive themselves crazy in vain to create the next Destiny’s Child, TLC or Spice Girls. “Because you’re so busy chasing Destiny’s Child, which you’re never going to get, you get the lower versions of that and it seems a little cornier, cheaper,” said Latifah. “So it all kind of blows up at some point and nobody wants it and nobody’s paying attention to it.”
Daniels, meanwhile, continued to describe his show’s racial themes in precarious terms at the panel. Asked to respond to criticism of him stating that he created Star partly so that white people could “feel good about being white,” Daniels repeated a message about healing and added, “I’m not going to let racism define me. That’s all I can say.”
He also threw in a point about the series also addressing classism, which is the new buzzword everywhere. “We talked about race, it’s a volatile subject in this country. But it’s also about class-ism, too,” said Daniels, referring to Naomi Campbell’s role as a rich mom. “They’re very privileged African Americans. And it ain’t drug money. So it’s exciting to tell that side of the story.”