Dawn Robinson of En Vogue and Lucy Pearl Says Raphael Saadiq Caused Her to Lose Her Home

Thirty years ago, Dawn Robinson entered the music scene as one of the founding members of the ’90s girl group En Vogue.

Her musical journey later led to a stint with the band Lucy Pearl which included Raphael Saadiq and A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad. While she’s often spoken about the good experiences and lessons she gleaned from each group, she recently opened up about her rift with Saadiq and how it impacted her personal life.

Lucy Pearl
Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Dawn Robinson, Raphael Saadiq of Lucy Pearl | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

Dawn Robinson and Raphael Saadiq had history

Many fans are familiar with Robinson’s talents from her work with En Vogue. She parted ways with them in 1997 but together, the foursome went triple platinum and earned multiple awards. But before she auditioned and signed on to become part of En Vogue, Robinson grew her reputation as a singer in California.

It was there the Connecticut native met Raphael Saadiq. During a 2019 interview with Inspiring Lives Magazine, Robinson shared that she’d known him since they were teens.

“Raphael [later of Lucy Pearl] and I have known each other since we were 16,” she said. “He used to play in my band in San Francisco. He would sit down in a chair and play base because he was nervous. Standing in front of the audience was too much for me, so I would turn my back to the audience,” said Robinson.

Years later after she left En Vogue, she chose to put her solo career — and record deal — on the back burner to take up Saadiq’s offer to join Lucy Pearl.

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Robinson says Saadiq exhibited jealous behavior

Lucy Pearl formed in 1999 and released their self-titled album in 2000. It spawned the two hit singles “Don’t Mess With My Man” and “Dance Tonight,” with the latter song earning a Grammy nomination. However, Robinson left the group in 2000 and the others parted ways a year later.

In a recent interview with Halftime Chat, Robinson discussed some of the challenges she had with Lucy Pearl and her strained relationship with Saadiq.

She said he started showing signs of jealously on tour and during interviews when journalists wanted to talk to her exclusively. According to her, there were moments he didn’t like that she received so much attention.

Robinson said she explained to him that when there’s one girl in a group, people will naturally gravitate toward that person. She advocated for all three of them to get on the same page so they could get to the money. That worked, but she had another problem with Saadiq.

Robinson blames Saadiq for losing her house

In this Halftime Chat interview, Robinson also accused Saadiq of not looking out for her financially.

Robinson admitted she didn’t scrutinize her contract because of her longstanding friendship with Saadiq. She trusted him. There were plans to release the Lucy Pearl album in summer 1999 but that didn’t happen, putting Robinson in a bind.

“We were supposed to have our album out by June. Here we are in November — our album wasn’t out. And I was like, ‘Raphael, the bank has been calling me about my house. I’m gonna lose my house.’ And I was telling him prior to that I need money,” she explained.

At the time, Robinson fell behind on her $1,500 mortgage payment. She said he promised her that if she needed funds until Lucy Pearl took off that he would help out.

Robinson noted she turned down a record deal at a major label to join Lucy Pearl and expected Saadiq to have her back. According to her, he reneged and said, “Well, I don’t know what to tell you. Every man for himself,” and then he backed out of Lucy Pearl soundtrack gig.

“And I ended up literally losing my house,” said Robinson.

She said she’s attempted to do a Lucy Pearl reunion but “Raphael just doesn’t show or call up.” Robinson also added she’s not interested in doing anything with Saadiq until he makes amends.