Danity Kane was an American R&B, hip hop, pop girl group signed to
Bad Boy Records, first established in 2005. Formed on the third installment
of MTV's Making the Band reality television series, the quintet comprised
members Aubrey O'Day, Wanita "D.
Woods" Woodgette, Shannon Bex, Dawn Richard, and Aundrea Fimbres. On the
finale episode of the third season of Making the Band 4, O'Day and Woods
were confirmed as no longer a part of the group.
On January 27, 2009, Richard confirmed to MTV.com in an interview that Danity Kane were no longer a group. The final line-up of the group, featured in the 2009 season of Making the Band, consisted of Richard and Fimbres.
Their self-titled debut studio album was released in 2006 and achieved success in the United States, shipping a million copies domestically, while spawning two singles with top 10 hit "Show Stopper" and the ballad "Ride for You." Danity Kane's second studio album, Welcome to the Dollhouse, was released on March 18, 2008, following the release of their second top 10 hit single "Damaged".
In 2004, producer Sean "Diddy" Combs returned with Making the Band 3, this time searching for the next female super group. With the help of choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson, vocal trainer Doc Holiday and talent manager Johnny Wright, he set out on a multi-city search and found 20 young singers. While seven girls remained, Combs became discontent with the level of talent remaining in the competition, and eventually decided not to form a band. He did, however, give a reprieve to three contestants he felt deserved another chance, including then-best friends Aubrey O'Day and Aundrea Fimbres, whose close bond originally formed early in the season. The three contestants became the first to appear in Season 2 of the show.
Afterwards, Combs once again pressed his team to audition new girls for the group. Finally, twenty girls were chosen and moved into a loft in New York City. Viewers had become invested in O'Day and Fimbres's friendship, naming them "the Aus" and "Aubrea" (portmanteux of their first names put together), as they watched the two compete all over again for positions in the group. O'Day emerged as the show's breakout star.
After weeks of dance and singing lessons, promotional appearances, and a performance in front of 10,000 at a Backstreet Boys concert at Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, VA, eleven girls remained, including O'Day and Fimbres. The finalists were sent home for three months, told to polish up, and return for the final stretch in November 2005.
On the second season's finale on Monday, November 15, 2005, five of the eleven were chosen: O'Day first, Wanita "D. Woods" Woodgette second, Shannon Bex third, Dawn Angeliqué Richard fourth, and Fimbres last. The final five members of the group in place, the third season of Making the Band 3 tracked the development and struggles of the new band — from then on known as "Danity Kane" (a name taken from a female anime superhero created and drawn by Richard). The group would later be featured on the second and third seasons of Making the Band 4 with new male R&B group Day26, as well as new solo artist Donnie Klang.
From left -- Woods, Bex, O'Day, Fimbres and Richard for their self-titled, platinum certified, debut album cover.Produced by Timbaland, Scott Storch, Rodney Jerkins, Mario Winans and Ryan Leslie among others, the album sold over 90,000 copies in the first day of release, and over 234,000 in the first week of release. It eventually debuted at number one on the U.S. Billbioard 200 albums chart, knocking veteran Christina Aguilera's Back to Basics from the top spot and out-selling hip-hop duo OutKast. The album received a platinum certification from the RIAA in November 2006.
The album's lead single "Show Stopper", produced by Jim Jonsin, was serviced to radio on August 4, 2006, and subsequently debuted at number 17 on Billboard's Hot 100; it however peaked at number 8 on that particular chart. Outside the United States, the song became a top 30 success in Germany and Lithuania. The selection for the album's second single, Bryan Michael Cox produced "Ride for You", was influenced by a fan poll that went around through e-mails, MySpace, and the group's official web site. The music video for the song premiered on MTV's Total Request Live on December 5, 2006, the same day the band released a holiday song called "Home for Christmas" which was written by group member Dawn Richard.
Between February 2007 to May 2007 Danity Kane performed as an opening act, along with the Pussycat Dolls, on Christina Aguilera's Back To Basics Tour. In the meantime the band intensified work on their second album, which was initially scheduled for a late 2007 release, but eventually pushed back to 2008.
Ever since the creation of the group in 2005, Danity Kane was plagued by rumors of the group's demise. Such speculation existed due to the group's origin of being built from a reality show, their management, record label, and mentor.
In summer 2007, during a hiatus between their first and second albums, speculation by fans and the media circled the Internet and entertainment news outlets concerning the possibility of Danity Kane splitting up. The rumors were fueled by quotes taken out of context (most notably when Aubrey O'Day was questioned by TMZ about her relationship to the successful pop girl group the Pussycat Dolls and their television show Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll) and by work the group members had done outside of Danity Kane since the release of their debut album. D. Woods's association with another girl group, The Girl's Club, was specifically cited as adding credibility to breakup rumors. Additionally, reports of solo careers and of new groups forming from various combinations of members of the group were rampant.
Over the course of these rumors, the members of Danity Kane often published personal online responses to the breakup speculation. It was not until July 25, 2007 that Danity Kane released an official statement on their group MySpace page stating that they were still together and working on their second album.
While making several solo appearances on other artist's albums during fall 2007, Danity Kane was featured on the second season of the fourth iteration of Making the Band which debuted January 28, 2008 on MTV, where solo singer Donnie Klang, Day26, and the girls, lived and recorded their albums together.
"Damaged", the band's poll-voted lead single off their second album Welcome to the Dollhouse, was officially released as a digital single on January 29, 2008, and became the band's second top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Its music video had been nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for "Best Pop Video" and "Best Dancing in a Video" but lost to Piece of Me by Britney Spears and When I Grow Up by the Pussycat Dolls respectively. Welcome to the Dollhouse, was eventually released on March 18, 2008 in the United States, where it debuted at number-one of the Billboard 200, with first week sales of 236,000 copies (2,000 units more than their self-titled debut album). The album eventually received a gold certification from the RIAA in April 2008. On September 28, 2008, the album had sold a total of 546,790 copies. In a May 2008 interview with Kiwibox.com, Danity Kane revealed that the follow up single to "Damaged" would be "Bad Girl".
On the second season finale of Making the Band 4, it was announced that Danity Kane would be headlining a tour in 2008 and be featured on the next season of Making the Band, as Diddy stated himself. The third season of Making the Band 4 premiered on MTV August 19, 2008. Around a week later, the girls were featured in an interview with Z100 at the Beatstock Dance Festival. They said they were planning to release another single after "Bad Girl". This was before the departure of O'Day and Woods.
After Making the Band 4 - The Tour and the release of the first single Damaged, Danity Kane once again encountered rumors of a breakup. Largely spurred by scenes from the Making the Band series featuring their mentor Sean Combs sparring with O'Day over her dance performance and desire to create her own image separate from the group. On the August 28, 2008 episode of Making the Band, due to being consistently frustrated with the "oversexed" image he felt O'Day now showcased, Combs called O'Day "one of the worst dancers" in Danity Kane, when she used to be "one of the best". He told O'Day that she no longer looked like the girl he signed. Combs bluntly accused O'Day of trying to expand her fame at the expense of the entire group, and that she liked flaunting her breasts and wearing big hair. O'Day had boasted about her natural cleavage to former WWE guru and current SunSport broadband television producer/host Paul Heyman of The Heyman Hustle. In a controversial act, she rubbed her cleavage on Heyman's arm. Furious, Combs asked himself on television why he was keeping O'Day in the group. With O'Day forgoing promotional appearances with the group to appear as Amber Von Tussle on Broadway's Hairspray, speculation arose that O'Day's role in the group had been marginalized. On September 7, 2008, however, the group appeared together at the MTV Video Music Awards to help present the Best New Artist Award.
Separately, tension also seemed to be developing within the group due to rumors that Richard would perhaps be groomed to launch her own solo career with Bad Boy Records. Rumors had been circulating that Richard was flown from Baltimore to New York for private meetings with Combs to launch her own solo career, especially after recording three tracks for Combs, which were purported to be Danity Kane tracks but only featured Richard's vocals; these vocals were leaked on the Internet. Combs went as far as to introduce Richard in a solo performance in early September. An Atlantic Records spokesperson responded, "At no point was Richard flown anywhere to record solo or meet alone with Combs. The girls are still very much together. They're going out to the Video Music Awards together ... and they're promoting their album ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse' and working on their third."
On the October 7, 2008 episode of Making the Band, Combs stated that he did have Richard on three demos for his new album. On the same episode of the show, after continued debate with O'Day about the well-being of Danity Kane, he stated that O'Day was no longer in the group, as had been foreshadowed in an earlier episode within the season after a TRL (Total Request Live) appearance. Combs was unaware of the specific problems within the group, but sensed that O'Day and Aundrea Fimbres, who were originally close friends, had drastically drifted apart. O'Day and Richard informed Combs that the entire group had trust issues with management and ultimately each other. The season finale, which took place Tuesday, October 14, 2008, confirmed the departure of O'Day and Woods. Combs removed Woods due to feeling that she was unhappy with the group and that she had gotten "caught up in the wrath" of close friend O'Day. In the live section of the episode, Combs explained that the reason he let O'Day go was that she was not the same person he signed, that the fame had changed her (as had been expressed on the August 28, 2008 episode). "I got love for Aubrey," he said. "I don't have any beef with her. I just want to work with the young lady that I signed, not the person that fame has made her." He later stated that he would be open to working with Woods again. When O'Day came on to reply, just moments after deciding not to leave the studio, she first addressed the perception some people, especially bloggers, have of her. "I would rather be hated every damn day of my life for being real than loved for being something I'm not," she stated. Combs, who spoke to the group and the audience via satellite, relayed to O'Day, "Check this out, baby girl... See, your attitude is gonna have you in a dark and lonely place. ... What you need to do, at the end of the day, is humble yourself." Woods did not appear on the live episode due to prior obligations.
In a backstage interview before the finale, O'Day said, "Tonight is a representation of the end of a chapter in my life; it's not the end of the book." She added, "I will do everything possible to make my mark on this industry, and Danity Kane and Combs provided me with this amazing opportunity to go out and really touch people's hearts. I think the way that we were able to inspire people was something that I will never be able to achieve in that way again in my life."
MTV News reached out to a rep for Danity Kane to see where the future of the band stood now that O'Day and Woods were no longer in the group. It was reported that Woods planned to work with another group, the Girls Club, and that O'Day was working on a solo album.
In an October 15, 2008 interview with Us Weekly, Richard gave further insight into O'Day's dismissal from Danity Kane. "Combs did not like O'Day's image...where her image was going for the group," she said. "It wasn't a personal thing." Richard explained that O'Day's increasingly "sexy look" was alienating young fans. Referring specifically to O'Day's topless pictures for Complex Magazine just a month before, Richard stated, "We had just did a signing with Dollhouse Teen, which is for 13, 14-year-old young girls... So we can't do that one day and then the next day do an obnoxious cover.... Combs wants the fans, and he says he can't do that if we can continue to go in the direction that we were going." Richard further relayed, "Combs told me specifically that O'Day is no longer in Danity Kane and Danity Kane will move forward without her." When asked if Combs would seek "replacements" for O'Day and Woods, Richard stated, "He has not said anything per that. But I think in my heart that he is gonna do another show."
MTV News gauged fan reactions to the dismissal of O'Day and Woods. Fans left impassioned, long and detailed comments on the MTV News site about their discontent regarding the decision to remove the two singers, and relayed that the remaining members were using the breakup to "score" publicity. Richard, in particular, received resentment from fans. Other fans were more upset about the breakup in general, with the sentiment that Danity Kane would lack the individuality (je ne sais quoi) and excitement that O'Day and Woods brought to the group. Despite, however, the dismissal of O'Day and Woods, other sections of the fandom were willing to give the "new Danity Kane" a chance and believed that the group would be as strong as they were before.
In mid 2008, before the departure of O'Day and Woods, Danity Kane planned to start pre-production for their third studio album, which would of began January 2009. In the meantime, Danity Kane released a line of denim jeans through Dollhouse. Under Russell Simmons Plastic Cash International, the decision was made to feature Danity Kane's image on Visa debit cards. The group had also been a part of a new ad campaign for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Collectively, as a group, there were plans for a fragrance, clothing and makeup line. Richard had developed a comic book based on the superhero the group based its name on, which is still expected to be released sometime in 2009.
In a January 28, 2009 interview with MTV News, Richard confirmed that the group had split up. Richard explained that Combs had invited all the women to come back on the 2009 season of Making the Band and that only two of them showed up. "It changes our situation completely," she said. "We have fans out there who love Danity Kane. We love Danity Kane. It's hard. We're sitting here trying to make sense of it now. It's hard. We're put in this position that we didn't ask to be in and we're being told to fix it."
The two members willing to continue within the group were Richard and Fimbres. Shannon Bex did not show up. On the series and in an earlier interview, she had explicitly stated her discontent about Danity Kane being divided. "I don't know why Bex left," said Richard. "I think she's just happy. I don't want to even try to answer it 'cause that's not fair to her. I haven't spoken to her but I heard she's doing well with her husband and she got a house. I love her, but I don't know." Richard was surprised that only two members showed up for another season. "The thing about it ... I thought we were all going to come back and talk, or maybe if O'Day didn't come back, 'cause I don't know how Combs was feeling about that, if the four of us got together. I didn't know what to expect. I just know I got off the plane and found out I was the only one there and Fimbres came the next day."
Still in disbelief over the departure of O'Day and Woods, as well as the speculation about O'Day's sexuality and her forthcoming Playboy spread, Richard stated, "I'm still surprised at it all. I'm still trying to recover from the first fire. So I'm still confused. I still don't know. I'm just being so honest. I have no idea."
On February 25, 2009, O'Day told MTV News that she was not sure if Woods had been asked back for the new season of Making the Band, as far as she knew, but that she herself was not asked to return. "Well, I was fired and we all saw that," she said. "I'm not sure about the other girls — who was invited back or what they were asked to do — but I obviously wouldn't be invited back if I was fired."
O'Day conveyed her hope that fans continue to honor the group that "made her a star". "Danity Kane was a wonderful group, and like all things, nothing is forever," she said. "We had a great run and we were very successful. We may not have that answer for our fans, which is disappointing, but we did try, and that's more than a lot of people." O'Day said that though she is pursuing her own career as a solo artist, she would never turn down the chance to get onstage with her former bandmates. "I have so much respect for that situation, if there was ever interest in me coming back ... and making music with the girls, I would never say no to something like that," she said. "In regards to the other negativity, I really just chose not to comment," said O'Day. "I wrote a blog on my MySpace page, and if anyone wants to know how I feel, they can go there."
Viewers were able to see the band's continued demise on the third season of Making the Band 4, which premiered on February 12, 2009. During the February 26, 2009 episode, as well as the continued season, viewers saw Richard and Fimbres eager to continue being a group together and hoping to work with Bex again. This eagerness eventually ended in the April 16, 2009 airing. Within the first five minutes of the episode, Combs told Richard and Fimbres during a meeting that he released O'Day and Woods, along with Bex, from their contracts, and would be releasing Fimbres as well. He told Richard that she will remain on the label and that if there are any future plans for a new Danity Kane, she would be the only returning member.
On April 23, 2009, viewers were expecting to see all five members of Danity Kane for the second part of the finale to find out if Danity Kane would without a doubt be removed from the Bad Boy label or if they would have a "fresh start" as Combs stated in the first part of the finale. During the finale, Fimbres did not show up. Bex explained that Fimbres did not show up because Fimbres "had been through enough" emotional turmoil with the group and wanted to stay home with family. As for herself not showing up for the 2009 season of Making the Band, Bex said that it was a "personal choice" and was nothing against the fans. Woods said that part of the reason for the group's demise was due to not having a "sound foundation" when it began (five strangers being put together and expected to be emotionally close) and that eventually led to professional and personal problems with the group. O'Day said she has forgiven being released from the group, and people who blamed her for the group's breakup. When asked if Danity Kane could be a group again, O'Day said yes. Woods and Bex said not at this time. Combs said that they need a "time out" for now, particularly to work on their solo or alternative careers, and that he will not reunite Danity Kane unless the group consists of all five original members.
This Danity Kane Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub