Farrah Franklin, formerly of Destiny's Child, talks about her break from the popular and controversial group. She has only spoken, so far, to Teen People magazine and a radio station in Fresno, California. Farrah, in this exclusive interview, tells her story about the lead singer's (Beyonce Knowles) family and Destiny's Child.
Gene: So how did you get hired and fired within a few months?
Farrah: Well, there has been a lot of negativity going on. It just didn't suddenly happen. I'm sure you probably heard I was sick with a stomach flu and dehydration.
Gene: Yes. So was that true?
Farrah: Yes, that was very true.
Gene: But having an illness wouldn't be a reason to be kicked out of the group.
Farrah: Actually, we [Destiny's Child] were in London for about a week and I was vomiting every day. No one even cared that I was sick. No one asked me if I was okay or needed some medicine. I went to see my doctor when we arrived back in the states and five minutes after I was in my doctor's office, my manager, Matthew Knowles, says to me I need to get on an airplane to Houston because MTV news was going to be there in the morning. And if I didn't want to come, I could keep my ass there because I was the least needed in the group anyway.
Gene: Least needed? That's what he said?
Farrah: Yes. He didn't care about my health. He just wanted me on the airplane and that really hurt me. I never had anyone talk to me like that. I went to Houston and MTV picked us up. We were having problems in the dressing room amongst Destiny's Child and Beyonce's mother because I was questioning why Beyonce's sister, Soloange Knowles [a dancer] received payment and she never danced for us on stage. Anytime I asked questions, it was a problem with Beyonce's family. Also, Destiny's Child, the group, could never talk. It was always Destiny's Child and the father, the mother or the sister. They claimed I went home too much and that was not true. Four days out of every month, we would have free time to ourselves so I would go home to Los Angeles. They told me I wanted to have another life in Los Angeles.
Gene: Were you having any problems from the members in the group?
Farrah: Well, Beyonce and Kelly (Kelly Rowland) were offended when I asked why Soloange was getting paid.
Gene: Have you ever had any problems with Michelle Williams?
Farrah: No, Michelle and I didn't have any say on anything. We didn't know about something until it happened.
Gene: So what happened on the day that they didn't want you in the group anymore?
Farrah: I found out on MTV that I was kicked out.
Gene: Oh, that's busted.
Farrah: The same way the other two members [LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson] found out when they saw us in the video, "Say My Name."
Gene: When you saw the report on MTV, how did you feel?
Farrah: I wasn't shocked because that's what they did to the other members.
Gene: So you were back in L.A. when you heard the news.
Gene: Did you call to verify it was true?
Farrah: No, and then, the next day, Beyonce did an interview stating I missed three major dates (concert performances) and the group decided to fire me.
Gene: I remember seeing that.
Farrah: MTV featured an all access show about Destiny's Child and lied that I was sick, but I was all right then. Even when I could perform, they didn't want me there. I always felt uncomfortable and never felt a part of the group. I was always kicked to the left. After awhile, I wouldn't even let Beyonce's mother fix my hair because she would do something bad to it.
Gene: Really? What do you think is the reason for dropping so many members?
Farrah: Matthew. He's a control freak and I think it bothered him that I was so independent. (So true.) I don't have mommy and daddy to ask for this and that. I just started getting picked on by Beyonce's family when I asked too many questions.
Gene: You became the fall guy or girl.
Gene: Did you know from the beginning that your time in the group was short lived?
Farrah: No. Destiny's Child [being in a group] was what I always wanted.
Gene: So that's it? Are you going to do anything about this?
Farrah: No, there's nothing I want to do about it. Well, there might be a possible lawsuit. I'm much happier now. I have movie offers and I'm working on a song with an artist I can't mention yet.
Gene: On the music side, did you record any new music with the group?
Farrah: I did, but it might be taken off now. I sung on the Charlie's Angels soundtrack and I also recorded a song named "Dance With Me" with Matthew Knowles' new boy group, Signature.
Gene: I heard Beyonce's going solo, but I also heard her tell MTV she wasn't. Do you know if she is or will?
Farrah: Beyonce has been working on a solo project for months, but told us a month ago, she was going solo. I had all ready known that from my friends in the music industry.
Gene: Do you think all the recent problems is a result of Beyonce's solo attempt?
Farrah: Very much so because the group is not fair or equal. And with someone's whole family running the group, it will never be equal
Here's the scoop...
S2S interview with Farrah
Interviewer: Now first of all, tell me how you first became a part of DC.
Farrah: I met Kelly and Beyonc during Bills... I was an extra in that video and we stayed friends. Kelly and I talked on the phone. I was in another singing group called Jane Doe and we were going through stuff amongst our group. I didn't have the slightest idea about what was going on with Destiny's Child. I heard rumors but I didn't know.
Interviewer: Where are you from?
Farrah: I'm from L.A. I was talking to Kelly one day and I was singing and she didn't know that I could sing. She called me back and she was like, "Can you sing for Beyonc?" So I sang for her and then a couple days later, she told me that Mathew wanted to meet with me. I met with Mathew and I was actually supposed to be a stand-in for when one of the girls got sick. This was in December (1999). Pretty much I went out to Houston and that's when they got the letter of termination firing Matthew from being LaTavia and LeToya's manager, so I came back home. Then maybe about a couple weeks later I got a phone call asking if this is what I wanted to do and I flew to Houston.
Interviewer: That's interesting. So tell me what it was like when you first joined the group. It had to have been weird because you and Michelle were taking LaTavia and LeToya's place. Did you feel awkward?
Farrah: Yeah. It was really awkward because I met LaTavia and LeToya during the video. LaTavia was the first person I talked to. We exchanged numbers first but her number changed, so we ended up not keeping in contact. So it was awkward for me. It wasn't clicking because everything was going so fast. I got out there and I pretty much had to change my whole look. I had to dye my hair read when before, it was sandy brown with blonde streaks.
Interviewer: Who told you to dye your hair red?
Farrah: Beyonc's mom.
Interviewer: Is she still doing the group's hair? Did she dye your hair?
Interviewer: Is dying your hair something that you weren't feeling?
Farrah: No. I hated it because, like I said, my hair was sandy brown before and I put streaks in it myself. So going from that to red was like wow. It kind of upset me because I thought they were trying to make me look or be LaTavia and I wanted to have my own identity. They also had me suntanning.
Interviewer: Really? were you the only one in the group that they had tanning?
Farrah: They had me and Michelle tanning.
Interviewer: They didn't have Beyonc tanning? I mean she's the lightest one in the group.
Farrah: No. I think that's why they didn't have her tanning. My assumption was that everytime I looked at a picture, she stood out more because she was the bright one. Not because she was the prettiest, but because she was lighter. I never realized like, "Okay i'm tanning." I'm thinking I like to be dark. So I'm like,"Oh I get to go to the tanning salon for free." I had to tan. I had to change my whole hairstyle.
Interviewer: So who told you that you had to tan?
Farrah: The mother. She's like the stylist and she was like,"You look prettier darker."
Interviewer: When you came into the group was it pretty much stated that Beyonc's father would be your manager as well? I know that was a problem with LeToya and LaTavia. So did he become your manager as well?
Interviewer: How did you feel about the styling of the group? Was there anything about the clothes that you didn't neccessarily care about?
Farrah: Well, it was awkward for me wearing their old clothes.
Interviewer: We did an interview with LaTavia and LeToya and they mentioned that you and Michelle were wearing their clothes that they paid for. Was there ever a time that you and Michelle spoke to LaTavia and LeToya.
Interviewer: When did the real problems start with the group?
Farrah: Like I said, her mom was doing the hair. My hair started breaking and my hair is real. Pretty much everyone in the group has some pieces or a weave. I'm the only one in the group that didn't have anything. So when my hair started breaking, of course I'm gonna be like,"What's going on?" So there were problems because I would complain about my hair breaking. I'm like "This is my hair." I didn't like the red anymore. They were like,"There needs to be a redhead in the group." They wanted me to stay red. I didn't want to stay red anymore. I was like,"I hate this." I stopped tanning and they were like "You should go tan." So pretty much everything was going crazy because my hair was breaking. I actually stopped letting her mom do my hair. I had my own lady doing my hair.
Interviewer: What did her mom say when you brought in your own hair stylist?
Farrah: Well, I didn't bring her. I would get my hair done in L.A. Then I would just keep it up. She didn't really say anything, but you could feel a vibe where it was like, okay, whatever. If someone would ask who does your hair, of course Beyonc would say,"My mother." And I would be like,"Well my girl Kim does my hair in L.A." And then everybody would be looking at me like crazy.
Interviewer: Tell me what it was like when you shot the video for "Say My Name" because I think that a lot of the fans felt weird about the new girls. Or maybe in some way they resented you and Michelle for taking the other girls' places because the fans knew those were their voices on the song. what was that experience like for you?
Farrah: That was very, very stressful and awkward. I know me and Michelle, we almost broke down because that was four days after we joined the group.
Interviewer: Oh, so soon as you joined the group you shot the video?
Farrah: Yeah, it was instant. It was really scary. Ive done videos before, but I was never the artist in the video. It's like you want to get it perfect because you know everyone is staring at you trying to see if this girl can do her thing. It just felt really awkward. Then Beyonc and them tried to comfort us by saying LaTavia and LeToya weren't singing on that song at all. They were lip-synching to Beyonce and Kelly's voices. That's how they defended us singing "Say My Name." But it was really scary thinking that people weren't going to accept you and coming into a group and having people not like you. And you didn't even do anything.
Interviewer: What kind of feedback did you get from the fans when you all went out to perform?
Farrah: Performing, everybody was really good. They were like just do your thing and don't try to be nobody else. This is like my dream. I've always wanted to be a singer and I got a chance to do it. And I don't think anybody would've passed it up. I knew joining the group that there would be some complications just from hearing everything that was going on. But I figured God is not going to put this here for me for anything, and regardless, I'll have this under my belt. I will be able to say that I was in a group that was well known. I got to do it. I don't want to live life saying,"What if I would've done it."
Interviewer: Did you and Michelle ever talk about the situation?
Farrah: Yeah we shared rooms. Kelly and Beyonc shared a room and Michelle and I shared a room. We talked a lot, we bonded a lot because we were the new girls. We read the article in S2S with LaTavia and LeToya and it was scary because a lot of the stuff they were talking about that was being done to them was being done to us.
Interviewer: Like what?
Farrah: As far as DC I never had a conversation with just DC. It was always DC and Beyonc's mom or DC and the dad. DC and the sister. We never had a conversation with just DC. And also, we never knew when anything was going on. We found out at the last minute always. Or we just ended up being there. It was never equal. Regardless of how much anyone wants to say there's no favoritism there is going to be favoritism when your whole family is running the show.
Interviewer: So you definitely felt there was favoritism with Beyonc?
Farrah: Yeah, I definitely felt there was favoritism. There was no way that group ever would've been equal. I mean if LaTavia and LeToya had been in that group for ten years, I didn't expect for me to come in and be treated any differently.
Interviewr: What type of relationship did you have with Beyonce and Kelly? Did you have a good relationship?
Farrah: Not really. I mean, I kept to myself. I worked. It was like a job to me pretty much. We never hung out. I hung out with the dancers.
Interviewer: You didn't hang out with Michelle?
Farrah: I hung out with Michelle in our room and stuff, but I hung out with the dancers. Michelle would tell me her problems, but then she would get around them she would be like,"Hahahahahaha."
Interviewer: Maybe she felt like had to suck it up because she was trying to stay in the group.
Farrah: Yeah, she was afraid of just going back to being Michelle. Well, Tenetra anyway.
Interviewer: Oh, Michelle is not even her real name?
Farrah: Michelle is her middle name. Just like I had to change my name to Farrah. My middle name is Destiny and I've been going by Destiny my whole life. I never went by
Farrah. I had to go by Farrah to be in DC.
Interviewer: Get out of here! I know all of your friends and family were wondering about what that was all about.
Farrah: Yeah. I just saw my friend Marlon Wayans and he was like,"Farrah? What the heck is that? Where did that come from?"
Interviewer: I know that DC did a song for the Charlie's Angels sountrack. Is that the only song that you all have recorded as the new DC?
Farrah: We did that and we did a song for Mathew's group, Sygnature, called "Dance With Me." And we did some remixes for "Jumpin, Jumpin."
Interviewer: Oh okay. So that is you and Michelle's voices on the "Jumpn, Jumpin" remix?
Interviewer: Now tell me what happened that you're not in the group anymore.
Farrah: Well pretty much stuff had been adding up for a while. I had been miserable. Like I said, I'm not a quiet person. I'm a very gun person and I like to hav fun and being in the group, I couldn't do that. It was a shame that I couldn't love and enjoy doing what I love to do. I mean, I can be miserable by myself. I don't need anybody to help me. And that's pretty much what I was getting. I was getting help to be miserable. I was very quiet around the
girls. I never hung out with the girls realy because I felt not a part. I just didn't feel like I was being accepted. I felt like I was just being used. I was being used to finish the album. And after that, I felt like Beyonc was going to do her solo album and we were going to be kicked to the curb. I didn't join the group to lip-synch.
Interviewer: During most of the performances were you lip-synching?
Interviewer: During all of them?
Farrah: Most of them. I was pretty much and overpaid background dancer.
Interviewer: So you two were just put there to fill in?
Interviewer: I read that you had become really ill or something.
Farrah: Yeah, I got sick. We were in Europe and I was really sick. I mean, I was throwing up every single day. No one came and said hey, are you okay? Do you need some Pepto Bismol or anything? No one said anything. Everyone knew I was sick because whenever someone asked where I was when I wasn't around they were like,"Oh she's in the bathroom throwing up." So they knew I was sick. I waited until I got my day off to go to the hospital when I came back
home. We only get three to four days a month and I waited until I got my day off. I never complained once. I never asked for a day off since I'd been in the group. When I was sick I never complained. I never asked for anything. I was diagnosed with dehydration and the stomach flu. Five minutes after I was finished seeing my doctor I get a call from my manager, Mathew Knowles, saying I need to get my ass on the airplane or I could just stay in L.A.
because they don't need me anyway. And he was yelling. I told him that I just got out of the hospital five minutes ago and he was like he didn't care what I just did. That I needed to get on the airplane and if I didn't come I could just stay there because they didn't need me anyway.
Interviewer: So looking back, now do you regret joining the group?
Farrah: I don't regret it. I think God has everything worked out the way He wants it. I wouldn't do it again.
Interviewer: Was it worth it? I mean, I don't know anything about how much you were paid while you were in the group, but was it worth it financially? Did it help you pay your bills?
Interviewer: Yeah, it was worth it financially. I was making more, of course, than I was making before. So the money wasn't really an issue. It was just an issue of being unhappy. And there's no amount of money that could make me stay anywhere if I'm miserable. So when I got off the phone I went to Houston. Mathew said hi to me the next morning and I'm really upset still. I'm sick and I'm upset and I don't want to speak to him because I don't want to say the wrong thing. And Beyonc remarked "Did you hear my dad say hi?" And I said,"Yeah, I heard him say hi and I didn't speak to him for a reason." So she said,"Well if you don't want to speak to him you don't gotta speak to me either." So I started clapping and I said "Good, well my day is gonna go much easier." That was another thing. You couldn't say anything or have a conversation without the daughter being there. Then it was too personal. I mean, you should be able to have discussion with your group, you should be able to have a discussion with your manager. I mean, you're gonna have disputes. Thats gonna happen but if you can't even do that, then nothing is gonna get solved. I mean, we could not even talk about anythng. We were paying her sister, Solange Knowles, to come with us. We were paying for her flights, we were paying for her hotel rooms.
Interviewer: How old is her sister?
Farrah: She's 14. We were paying for her flights, her airline tickets, and we were giving her per diem.
Interviewer: Who? The group?
Farrah: Yes. This was coming out of my check and she wasn't doing anything. She was supposed to be a dancer, but she never danced for us until I left the group. So when I asked why we were paying her, my manager was like,"Why do you care about where $300 is going when you're getting paid this?" And I'm like I don't care if I'm getting paid 1 million, if I want to know where five of my dollars are going there shouldn't be a problem with me asking. When I
asked about money there was a problem. When I asked why our expenses were so high there was a problem. I mean, I asked a lot of questions. I am and independent person. I've been on my own since I was 15 years old, so I'm gonna ask questions. It seemed like whenever I asked questions about anything it was a problem and it was always me. It got a to a point where when I saw Mathew coming I knew did something. And I was like, why me? But I ean, I asked too many questions. I flew home on our days off and they told me that I went home too much. Now mind you, we only get four days off. We were supposed to get eight, but it went down to four. So they told me I flew home too much. Now pat for my own flights home and I pay for my own flights back. I get my own car pick-ups and everything. I don't ask anybody to do anything for me. All I ask is when do I need to be back for work. I think pretty much I was just
too independent. Mathew is a controlling person and everything was under his control. I had control over what I was doing in my life and I don't think he liked that.
Interviewer: You said that you've been on your own since you were 15, so your parents weren't really involved in this? How old are you?
Farrah: 19. I mean, I'm a daddy's girl. My dad doesn't live here though. And mom, she's here but everyone pretty much knows that I have a good head on my shoulders and I'm gonna do what's right for me. My mom was just like,"Whatever you decide to do I know that it's gonna be good because you've come a long way. And I know that you're gonna make the right decisions."
Interviewer: So what is next for Farrah? have you become disenchanted with the music industry?
Farrah: Nope. No, no, no, no. Actually I'm gonna do a solo album. I'm doing some songs right no. And there's some modeling. I' m kinda going back and forth between Ford and Willhimena. There's some acting, some movie offers coming. Since then everything has been so much better. I'm such a happier person. The days that I got to come home were like, oh my God!
Interviewer: What's the actual time that you were in the group?
Farrah: They said officially that I joined the group in February 18 or 19, but like I said, I was supposed to be a
stand-in in December.
Interviewer: And when did you leave the group?
Farrah: Well the last day that I saw them was July 13.
Interviewer: Was that the same day that Beyonc was upset because you didn't speak to her dad?
Interviewer: Okay, so how did it end?
Farrah: That was the day that MTV's All Access was following us. We got to Seattle and they gave us like 15
minutes to check into our rooms or whatever. We had a conversation, we had a meeting with Destiny's Child and Beyonc's mother. They were like, "How can you come to my house and not speak to my father?" And I said, "Well, how can your father speak to me in such a manner? I've never been spoken to
like that in my life and I'm not gonna let it start now." I said, "I don't know how he talk to you or anyone
else, but I know how he's not gonna talk to me." If I would've continued to let him talk to me like that I'm
most positive that it would've gotten worse. Because once you give a little leeway, they'll take a mile with
it; and I'm not. It was already too stressful. I'd never spoken my mind. Around them, I'd been quiet. I'm
talking to you more now than my whole nine months of being in the group. I was quiet. I was reading all the time or on my phone. That was a shame because I couldn't be myself; it was terrible.
Interviewer: Did you walk out on your own after that meeting? Or did they let you go?
Farrah: Well, that's when they started saying, "Well you're complaining a lot. You complain about your hair."
Like I wanted to wear my hair crimped, and Beyonc was wearing her hair crimped. So it was like no, you can't wear your hair crimped because Beyonc is wearing her hair like that. So it was like I had to make sure she wasn't wearing her hair like that before I did anything to mine since I had my own hair lady doing my hair. And I had been wearing my hair crimped before she even thought about it. So I had to wear it straight.
Interviewer: Have you talked to any of the group members since you left?
Interviewer: You haven't even talked to Michelle?
Farrah: No, I've been calling Michelle and I'm sure they told her not to talk to me because when they fired our
dancers they told me not to talk to our dancers. They try to like manipulate you to make you think that someone has done you wrong. So I'm sure they've told her not to talk to me. But I called Michelle on her birthday to wish her a happy birthday and I called her the other day cause I knew they were out here.
Interviewer: What do you think is going to happen to Destiny's Child now? Do you believe Beyonc is just going to go
Farrah: Oh, she's going solo. That's a known fact. Also, another thing is she told us she was going solo about a
month ago. I have friends in the industry and I know that she's been working on her album. She's been
telling everybody she's not going solo and she's not doing anything but she has been working on her album. She's supposed to have her album out in December. So that means Destiny's Child is only going to be able to put out two more albums. All you see now is Beyonc. so I don't think her solo album is going to be much different than Destiny's Child. All you hear now is her. All you see is her. It's just
gonna be two less people, and they'll probably be singing background for her, which is what they're doing now. I don't think it's gonna be much different. I mean, I wish her the best. I'm a Christian girl and I
don't put hate or anything like that towards anyone, but I just couldn't be around that--being unhappy like
that. I'm too young to be unhappy and too smart to let anyone treat me any kind of way. I'm a strong persona and I know that because anyone that didn't have a strong mind would not have left a group like that. I found out that I was out the groupI left the day we had the conversation in the room. Like I said, they started saying,"You ask about my sister's money, you go home too much, you're quiet, you don't like
bonding with the group" And they all pretty much started ganging up on me and telling me what I don't do. And I'm not complimentary enough.
Interviewer: What was that supposed to me?
Farrah: That I didn't compliment her enough.
Interviewer: Oh my goodness! That is crazy!
Farrah: Yeah, that's what I said. If I see something I like, I'm gonna say, hey, that's nice. If I don't compliment
then I don't like it. If I give a compliment it's gonna be genuine. I'm not just gonna be saying you're cute
just to be saying it. And she was like, "I don't need your compliment." Well, if you don't, then why did
you bring it up? So I guess I wasn't complimentary enough. I mean, everyone was jumping on me and mind you, I just got out of the hospital a couple hours before that. So I left the room, I was like, "I don't need this!" They were like, "Whatever we don't care." So I came home and they told MTV that I
was sick and that's why I wasn't there, but I left. I was sick but that wasn't my reason for not being there. They also said that they kicked me out of the group and I left because I couldn't handle it. And that I wasn't used to this. I never complained a day in my life. Handling it was not a problem. They didn't know how much I was handling. THey didn't understand what I was handling because I never made it an issue. And then they said that now without me, they're vocally stronger. They said the same thing when LaTavia and LeToya left--when Michelle and I joined the group. How is Destiny's Child vocally stronger when you're only hearing one person anyway? We were lip-syncing, so how were you vocally stronger? There was just a lot being said like them saying that I left because I couldn't handle it. I feel bad for Michelle because I know she's going through it because I heard her telling me every night. Complaining
to me every night, complaining about how hard it was for her and everything else.
Interviewer: Maybe she just doesn't want to leave the group.
Farrah: Michelle's thing is she's afraid of going back to being Michelle from Rockford, Illinois. She wasn't like the popular girl in school and now everybody is treating her like that. She's from a small town, so it's like she can't go back to being regular Michelle because now she was the popularity she's always wanted. It's hard for her to just let that go and I understand. Michelle is still my girl. I have no grudges against any of them, but it was just something that was not for me.
Angry Beyonc's father answers Destiny's Child critics:
Matthew told us, that first of all, someone coming into a group can't dictate the philosophy of the group.
And as far as management trying to make Farrah look like LaTavia, well, Matthew said that Tina Knowles, Beyonc's mother and stylist of the group, chose Farrah because she did favor LaTavia. He explained that tina had already established that there would be a redhead in Destiny's Child and that was
a part of the imaging for the group. We asked Matthew about sending Farrah to tan and he replied that he didn't know anything about that. He also said that he didn't know Farrah had been to the hospital when he told her to come and do MTV. What he does know is that when you have a chance to do a magazine
cover or MTV, you have to make it happen. Matthew had lots to say about how much the girls work their butts off. In fact, he explained that it's a trade-off. You work hard and you become a success. There has been lots of talk about Beyonc having a solo record deal. Matthew confirmed that she is in fact working on that, but what a lot of folks don't know is that Kelly is also in negotiations to do a solo alternative R&B album, and Michelle is in negotiations for a solo gospel deal.