In the mid- to late 2000s, before the rise of Fifth Harmony and Little Mix, girl groups began to see a resurgence that paved the way for groups to come after them. Danity Kane was one of those groups. From the time of the release of their debut single “Show Stopper” in 2006, it was clear that the group was creating their own lane for themselves, separate from contemporaries like The Pussycat Dolls. The two groups even teamed up as Christina Aguilera’s opening acts on her Back to Basics tour.
How did Danity Kane come together?
The third iteration of MTV’s reality series Making the Band centered around the creation of Danity Kane at the hands of hip hop mogul Diddy, who teamed up with choreographer Laurieann Gibson and radio hosts Doc Holliday and Johnny Magic to put a group of contestants through the wringer as they pushed themselves in various dance, vocal, and performance-related challenges.
At the end of Making the Band’s first season, Diddy believed in singers Aubrey O’Day and Aundrea Fimbres and brought them back for the following season. Fans loved watching their friendship as it slowly became the foundation of the group, and O’Day became a breakout star of the show. At the end of that season, in a record-breaking finale for MTV, five of the final 11 contestants were chosen to form the new group: O’Day, Fimbres, Wanita “D. Woods” Woodgett, Shannon Bex, and Dawn Richard. It was then that the group became known as Danity Kane, based on an anime superhero that Richard had drawn.
How did they break up?
Rumors of Danity Kane’s breakup swirled almost from the minute they were formed. Some members were rumored to be working on solo projects or with other girl groups, ultimately leading to distrust between the group, their management, P. Diddy, and each other. The group’s deteriorating goodwill was chronicled in the third season of Making the Band: O’Day and Diddy didn’t see eye to eye on things like choreography and image, Richard was reportedly recording solo material with Diddy that eventually leaked, O’Day and Fimbres’ friendship was falling apart, and members became frustrated with not being able to express their individual styles.
After the release of Danity Kane’s second album Welcome to the Dollhouse (which contained their smash hit “Damaged”) in 2008, the group theoretically should’ve been at the top of their game. But instead, the behind-the-scenes tension became too much to bear. By October of that year when Making the Band ended, it was confirmed that O’Day and Woods had left the group. O’Day and Diddy sparred on-air as Diddy regrets O’Day having turned into a different person than the one he had originally signed. His frustration lied with O’Day’s increasingly sexualized image and efforts to make the group less friendly towards its target audience of young teenage girls. In April of 2009, it was confirmed that the group had fully broken up.
Reunited… but not for long
In 2013, O’Day, Bex, Richard, and Fimbres got back together to record new music and bring the group back on their own terms. They worked with the producers behind “Damaged” as well as other superstar producers like Timbaland and James Fauntleroy, and embarked on their #NoFilter tour in spring of 2014. After the first night of the tour, Fimbres announced she would be leaving the group at the end of the tour, and in August, the group announced their second disbandment after Richard allegedly punched O’Day in a recording studio. Bex and O’Day continued as a duo under the name Dumblonde, and Richard embarked on her solo career. By the time their album DK3 was released that fall, the group had already been broken up.
Getting the band back together
In August of 2018, Bex, O’Day, and Richard announced a new tour that highlighted their work as Dumblonde and Richard’s solo work, and that O’Day and Richard had made amends. They began releasing new music under the Danity Kane moniker, and have been releasing new singles like “Boy Down” and “New Kings” throughout this year. “Danity Kane is so much bigger than five girls. It can be one girl, it can be two, it can be five,” O’Day said in an Instagram Live recently regarding the group’s ever-changing lineup. “It’s a voice for women and you got two of us right now giving you that voice and who knows what the future will have ahead of us. Things can evolve; things move in different directions. Everyone is always invited back.”