Danity Kane Open Up About Racism and Sexism in the Music Industry: 'You Had to Look a Certain Way'

Ruben Chamorro for Cosmopolitan
Danity Kane for Cosmopolitan

Dainty Kane is back. The girl group, originally formed on Diddy's MTV reality show Making the Band 3 in 2005, has reunited as three (minus members D. Woods and Aundrea Fimbres). The Dainty Kane of today -- Dawn Richard, Aubrey O'Day, and Shannon Bex -- recently sat down with Cosmopolitan for a raw, history-referencing interview about where they were and what's next. 

Among the topics covered in the interview were Diddy initiating the breakdown of the group, racism, and toxic exes.

In Making the Band 4, Diddy fired members O'Day and Woods. Regarded as the beginning of the end of the OG Dainty Kane, this moment involved Diddy using the word "promiscuous" to explain his actions. 

"It wasn't about...being 'promiscuous.' It was about the power to prove, I own your career," Richard says in the interview. "It wasn't even about that. It gave him an excuse. It was to let you know, This is my show, this is my shit, and I want to prove to you that it's my shit and I'm going to show you how much power I have over you by saying I'm going to control your lives. It's so much bigger than that even though...it was extremely sexist."

"You had to look a certain way," Richard adds. "Whatever your image was, that's what you had to be for the rest of your life. Women change daily. You're telling us we can't evolve?"

The members go on to discuss how they reacted to discriminatory attitudes in the industry, saying that when they needed to challenge something, they would have O'Day, a white woman, be the messenger.

"...it had to be Aubrey because we would say shit and the first thing that they would tell us is, if you're a black woman, we're going to paint you as the angry black women," Richard says.

Meanwhile, Richard, O'Day, and Bex are currently on their reunion tour. The reunion happened after O'Day started going to therapy after leaving a troubled relationship with Pauly D., and decided to mend her relationship with Richard by putting the past in the past. "We've grown as women, O'Day tells Cosmopolitan. "We've all been through hell at the hands of many things: the industry, our egos, men. We're at a place now where we really understand ourselves and each other better and saw the value of the loss that we were experiencing without each other."

"As you get older, especially as a woman, you ain't tolerating shit, especially if you're strong. I just decided I'd rather be the angry black woman than be the woman that shuts up. That's not who I wanted to be and I realized when I got out of DK, that's what they had created," Richard says. "I'd rather be the bitch and have my sanity and be amongst other women who are incredible. I don't see bitches, I see queens and people who are dictating their lives. I'm very proud that we're able to speak about this because I think we have been having a secret society of eyeballing for way too long. We need to put more women in power and in more spaces so we can have this dialogue. I don't think this hurts men's egos. I think they need to understand that they don't even have the vernacular. They've been speaking in such a different way, they don't even realize they're doing it because it's become practiced."

"Imagine had Diddy just encouraged us to be our greatest selves at that time. Look at after all of that, we're back together and we just did an incredible show that featured all of us in our greatness. Imagine had he made us believe in it at that age, what we could be right now," O'Day later says in response to the final question of whether or not they had received apologies for what happened. (They haven't.)

Check out photos from the Cosmo shoot below.


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