Grind Pretty Fest’s Y2K theme just got that much more nostalgic as the publication announces its first ever Music Honoree Award recipients, Blaque (Shamari Devoe, Brandi Williams, and the late, Natina Reed). The 90’s girl group and platinum recording artists will perform at Grind Pretty (GP) Fest on Saturday, April 22nd.
We can’t wait for their voices to have our hearts boomin’ like an 808, but in the meantime, GP is gonna bring it all back to the beginning of the inspiring journey that has led up to this special musical moment.
Known to all of America as Blaque, and as Blaque Ivory to those outside of the U.S., the RnB sounds of this trio began believing in life and achieving a quest for unity in everything during the mid-nineties; They’ve accumulated a diverse list of accomplishments, both individually and jointly, since their inception, but always seem to find their way back to Blaque.
Natina Reed and Shamari Devoe, known as Shamari Fears at the time, met in the city of Atlanta while in elementary school. The New York native and Detroit native developed a love for music that planted them in separate girl groups.
Later, after Reed separated from the original members of her group, she and Devoe joined forces. Shamari met the third addition to the group, Brandi Williams, at a talent show she had attended in previous years.
Reed met Ronald Lopes, the brother of TLC’s Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes, and landed the group an opportunity to perform for the rapper. Lopes signed the trio to Left Eye Productions and also helped the group earn a major deal with Columbia Records.
Their cameo in the 1997 music video for Lil Kim’s “Not Tonight” remix preceded the release of the artists’ self-titled album, “Blaque”. The 1999 project included hit songs like “808”, “Bring It All To Me”, and “I Do”.
After performing as an opening act for NSYNC and TLC’s summer tours that year, the women quite literally challenged the acting world to bring it on.
The trio played the role of The Clovers in the 2000’s hit movie “Bring It On”, and added a fourth member to the group, Isis, played by Gabrielle Union. Blaque also sang “As If” and the “Bring It All To Me” remix on the film’s soundtrack.
In 2002, the trio lost their beloved mentor, Left-eye, to a car accident in Honduras.
In between the years 2002 and 2023, the members of Blaque explored new things including contributing the single “I’m Good” to the soundtrack album for the dance film “Honey”, solo careers, reality tv, and marriage.
In 2012, shortly after their journey to make new music began, Natina Reed passed away at the age of 31. Reed lives on through her son, Tren Brown.
During a 2019 interview on Sister Circle, when asked what they missed most about Reed, Devoe and WIlliams listed her spirit, her fiery attitude, and her caring personality.
“She was the backbone of Blaque, so I really miss her,” said Devoe.
Devoe and Williams are set to perform during GP Fest’s soundstage party on Saturday, from 5-7 p.m. The two-day experience will also offer masterclasses, a $5K pitch competition, guest speakers, a VIP brunch, shopping and so more! Oh! And don’t forget to wear your best Y2K-inspired fit.
This innovative networking event encourages female founders to take a holistic approach in launching and elevating their brands and overall wellness. You can access tickets and more insights here.
Oftentimes on our entrepreneurial journey, we get discouraged because we’re not exactly where we desire to be, but insight is what allows one to see the bigger picture, and what’s to come if we simply persevere. At 13, Dr. Mya Smith-Edmonds began working at her father’s McDonald’s where she developed her strong work ethic, accountability, discipline and focus. Today she is the proud owner of nine McDonald’s restaurants.