And that’s the biggest realization from watching The TLC Story: the girl-group plague has never been more glaring. Imagine a TLC of today singing and rapping about birth control, gay rights and mental health over smooth melodies. Another all-black female R&B group having a chemistry, cultural and commercial impact as remotely comparable as TLC is hard to picture. Are young women still huddling in their basements singing cover songs and dreaming of making it big together, or are they hiking to singing competitions solo and snapping selfies on line?
The void—and the reasons for it (petty squabbling, greed, solo dreams)—have been noted and discussed much post-D.C. And with Danity Kane reuniting for a project that’s only marginally anticipated, these convos will continue. Nothing’s been the same for too long. No doubt, record labels are working on cranking out some manufactured multicultural squad from the assembly line. But while the boy bands have their resurgence, now would be a good time for some sisters with voices to share in the prosperity. To achieve anything close to another TLC, however, there’s a hard fact to face: Maybe we need another Pebbles. —Clover Hope