BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP
I can remember as a child singing along to New Edition songs. Back in the day that was the boy band. If you didn’t know who New Edition was you must have been living under a rock. Dancing to Candy Girl, and Mr. Telephone Man on the record player was the best past time back in the day. It was the first concert that I attended and the greatest one to date. The crushes I had on them and the posters I had on my walls (yep, I am that old to have had posters on my wall). Ronnie DeVoe and that Jheri Curl was everything. Just thinking about it makes my eyes close and speechless.
New Edition created the foundation for how modern-day boy bands look, feel, and sound. From New Edition came Boyz II Men, N’SYNC, The Backstreet Boys, and New Kids on The Block. All of the inspiration for these groups came from Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, and Mike, and later Johnny Gill.
After 30 years of serenading us with their smooth melodic tunes they finally get not only a star on the Walk of Fame but also a biopic that they so richly deserve. This three-part mini-series follows the group from their humble beginnings as kids in Boston to their global mega-stardom weathering the highs and lows of controversy, personnel changes, and the ultimate cost of fame.
On Ralph Being the Unofficial Designated Group’s Star When He Was Placed in the Center of the “Candy Girl” Photo Shoot:
Ralph Tresvant: I remember everybody being kind of defensive during that shoot, but I loved it! I didn’t focus on me being in the center; I just focused on our first album coming together.
Bobby Brown: I damn sure didn’t want to be the one in the middle! I had already made up my mind that Ralph was the lead singer and that he was going to take us to the promised land.
Michael Bivins: My sweatshirt was too big, pants were too tight, I didn’t like my smile, I didn’t trip off of Ralph, I just hated that picture of myself!
On The Members’ Mothers Unknowingly Signing a Bad Deal Leaving the Group with $1.87 to Share After a Successful Tour:
Bivins: I almost didn’t sign that deal. I thought it was going to take away from my dream of being a basketball player.
Tresvant: I just thought the money was in a bank account somewhere where we couldn’t have access to it.
Bivins: I remember I was playing ball, and Ricky and Bobby ran over to my side of the projects, talking about the money. I was trying to understand why they were so upset. It didn’t register until I went to the house and my mom explained it to me.
Brown: I felt like that was the beginning of the end. I had always wanted to be solo, and I knew that we had a chance to get a better deal at a major label.
Tresvant: They really did give us a check for $1.87. I just saw a picture of it recently.
On Bobby Brown Being Voted Out of New Edition in 1985:
Bivins: Bob was missing a lot of flights. His mother came to New York three times to explain his attitude, to tell us to give him a break. He and I were close, but we started getting into it physically.
Brown: I was not comfortable or happy. We all came from the hood, but I came from the hood hood, from a family of gangsters and hustlers. I wanted to make some money. And I was wild and loose then, I had gotten my girlfriend pregnant, and drugs played a bit part in my life at that time. There were so many fights among the group, we could have put a whole comedy out.
Tresvant: We had a meeting, and management said he was causing a lot of problems and messing up our image. I tried not to participate in the vote. But I talked to him and his mom, and he had already signed a deal as a solo artist. That’s when I had to let go. We had to move on.
Bivins: It was a tough decision, but if we didn’t kick Bobby out, we never would have seen the explosiveness of “My Prerogative” and his solo career.
On Finally Successfully Reuniting as a Group in 2011:
Brown: The Home Again Tour in 1997 was a disaster, Ronnie and I
got into an onstage fight at one show. And the next one, I was so far gone two weeks before it started, I had a heart attack, but I went out there to stand onstage with my brothers.
Tresvant: It was always something in the back of our minds, but everyone’s career took off individually, and you have to get the most out of that while it’s hot. But there was a feeling that it was time.
Bivins: Having New Edition means we can take care of our families, see our fans. There’s no solving all the problems or the inner workings because they’ve been going on so long, but we knew that dollars made sense.
Brown: New Edition is not done, and I keep working on myself so I can be part of the next beginning.
This is definitely a Mini-Series that is not to be missed. Watch and revisit the music, the memories and remember where you were when Candy Girl and Mr. Telephone Girl came out. Then revisit the N.E. Heartbreak album and dancing to Can You Stand the Rain and If It Isn’t Love. I can go on and on with the hits from the group that framed my childhood. Kids today will never understand the magnitude of this amazing group.
Premieres on BET on Jan 24 at 9 pm for a 3-night engagement.
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