When you add it all up, the legendary ladies of Total are era-defining pave makers. You remember; it was March 1995. Kima, Keisha and Pam, the trio from New Jersey took over airwaves with “Can’t You See” on New Jersey Drive’s soundtrack. Who were these ladies rocking signature chic pixie cuts and long swoop bangs? Rocking all-black leather and shades to snow-white bubble coats and earmuffs, equipped with a sizzling tomboy swag; every man’s dream and every teen girl’s inspiration? Ever since then, the group, who made history as the first girl group signed to Sean Combs Bad Boy Records, left an imprint on R&B and our hearts.
Simply put, our big sisters-in-our-head became the bad girls of Bad Boy, helping to lead the way to R&B girl groups super stardom. The sum of it all, these certified divas continue to reign supreme on the rave reviewed Bad Boy Reunion tour, where fans take a double shot of nostalgia, reminiscing on our favorite tracks from the ladies.
The Source caught up with the “Kissing You” singers at Chicago’s Beauty Chronicles Beauty Empowerment Brunch Series powered by ORS Olive Oil, Brand Maverick Entertainment and Prolific Music Group, where the certified platinum group along with Faith Evans and Laurieann Gibson talk #NoStereotypes in hair and beauty for men and women of color.
The Source: In an industry that where style and fashion changes so frequently, during your 20+ year career what were some of the insecurities you’ve faced and how have you gotten over them?
Kima: I guess some insecurities that I’ve dealt with is just being me, speaking up and not being afraid and facing my fears. Now I walk with no fears- I’m fearless! And not living up to stereotypes.
Keisha: One of my insecurities that I struggled with was my size and weight gain. I actually like being a thick girl, but in the right places. It started for me in the industry- I was fine before we started the group. Today as a grown woman its about how I actually feel- of course I care about how I look but if I’m feeling like I’m fit, that changes my whole attitude. Today I still work with that and that’s what life is- an everyday revolution and growth process.
Pam: I’ve learned how to embrace my differences. I’ve come to realize that I’m different. It’s a little challenging when it comes to putting it in words but I’m sure there’s somebody else out there who felt different- you don’t look like this one, you don’t sound like this one, you don’t walk like this one. I’ve learned how to embrace my differences!
I’m grateful because it taught me how to be empowered. So I’ll say to anyone out there if you feel different- if you hit your thumb on your hand because it sticks out, I’ve learned that I’m a thumb to some people, but I have to embrace that. I’m learning how to love me- key word, learn-ing, because I’m still learning how to love all of me.
The Source: What advice would you give to someone battling low self-esteem?
Kima: I’d say to get to know God. The closer you get to God, the more He empowers you.
Keisha: It’s first all about your relationship with God. Lord knows none of us would be where we are and feeling how we do- the only way we have the perspective and outlook and faith is because of our belief in God- the Lord Jesus Christ. I feel when you start there, every step of the way, is ordered with your belief in God.
First, acceptance- working towards something, whatever that is- if you just gained weight from having a baby you have to do the work to lose the weight. When you have a relationship with God of course it’s unlike any other relationship you’ll have but it’s like any other relationship you have to do the work. He won’t do it all for you, you have to meet Him half way.
Kima: He’s the foundation of love!
Pam: There is power in the name of Jesus! To any woman going through something, we tried everything. We tried diet pills, we tried to work out, I say the name of Jesus, and it’ll change your situation.
The Source: What can fans expect from the Bad Boy Reunion tour?
Pam: A good time! We’ve come to have fun! I can speak upon everybody that the energy that’s on this tour is so beautiful! You’ll be able to feel what you see.
Keisha: So come feel it! *laughs*
The Source: What do you want to say to your fans who’s been down with you ladies for the past 20 years?
Kima: Thanks for the support. Without you, there’d be no us.
Keisha: Thank you for the continued support. We support you guys and anything you do to empower yourself. That’s the definition of a bad girl; bad meaning good! Step into your greatness.
Pam: I want to end it with this; Jesus loves you!
One time for the throwback, though:
Check out when the Bad Boy Reunion tour is hitting a city near you!
Photo credit: Getty Images