We had the pleasure of binge watching BET’s 3 part biopic ‘The New Edition Story’ this weekend and boy was it insightful! Here are the five things we learned from watching:
- ALWAYS read your contract! Despite having the number one song of the moment ‘Candy Girl’, the guys and their families were still living in the projects. In fact, it took a couple of years for them to get enough money to better their families lives, despite the fact that they were going on back to back tours. The two main factors for this was because they didn’t actually understand what they were agreeing to and their management took advantage of their youth and inexperience by cheating them out of their earnings. It was only when Michael Bivins went to see the President of their label questioning their contract, did the guys realise that their deal wasn’t actually with their label but with a production company that their then manager owned. Moral of the story, stay woke.
- Bobby Brown was a hot mess! Bobby Brown was everything you’ve read about him and worse. Brown was a hot head with an acute drug and alcohol addiction. These two lethal attributes paired together were always going to end up being a recipe for disaster. There was a scene where New Edition’s manager was looking for Bobby whilst they on tour, only for him to find him in a car hooking up with two girls, high on coke. We actually felt sorry for Bobby when the group ultimately decided to vote him out of the group. You could also tell that it wasn’t an easy decision for the rest of the group members to make and it balled down to them feeling that they didn’t have a choice and that they would lose everything if Bobby didn’t leave the group.
- Brooke Payne was the man! Unlike most come up stories where the person that discovers the band ends up taking advantage of them, the person that discovered New Edition, Brooke Payne, was far from that. He nurtured and trained the guys, and was truly a father figure to them. Unfortunately, Brooke was fired as their manager by the guy’s mothers because they didn’t feel like he knew enough about the business side of the music industry to effectively negotiate fair deals for the group. The catalyst that led to Payne being fired was when the boys came back from tour and were given cheque’s for $1.87 each as payment. Angry with how much the boys had received, the boy’s mothers fired Brooke as their manager. Brooke later became their creative director/choreographer and a continously instrumental figure in New Edition’s career.
- Being a boy band or a band in general is stressful yo! We thought girls were bitchy but if this movie is any indication of how guys are, then they might be giving girls a run for their money! The 3-part movie shows the boys transforming into men and all the drama that entailed. From verbal disagreements, to physical ones, to tantrums and breakdowns, we definitely saw it all! Despite their issues, you got a real sense of comradery and brotherhood that was deeply embedded in this group of men. There was a scene where Bobby Brown kept provoking and egging on Mike Bivins, to the point where Mike spat in Bobby’s face. Their manager at the time wanted to get rid of Mike Bivins for spitting in Bobby’s face, but Bobby was actually the one that stopped that from happening. Despite them having a strong bond, the just couldn’t get it together ultimately. Jealousy, pride and people facing their own personal demons got in the way.
- Ricky Bell was battling addiction – Bobby wasn’t the only one struggling drug addiction, Ricky Bell was also struggling with a coke and alcohol addiction amongst other things. Thankfully you see him get help in the movie, after he collapses in his bathroom having what appeared to be a seizure, stemming from drug abuse. During an AA meeting, he spoke about being addicted to feeling that high that he felt after performing with the group doing their heyday. As the old saying goes, fame is a drug…