Photography by Jorge Fakhouri Filho
Being a pre-teen girl in the ’90s was awesome. Aside from the cakey make-up and pencil-sharp eyebrows, pedal pushers were a thing, Tamagotchi’s were the ideal pets, and gifting neon friendship bracelets was the ultimate way of keeping your most prized relationships sacred. We watched Saved by The Bell reruns, felt a kindred relationship with the characters from Rugrats and Recess, lived for Boy Meets World, and gave our hearts to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Aside from the infamous television shows, if you were a pre-teen girl in the late 90s and early 2000s, you probably had a plethora of girl groups to turn to for inspiration and empowerment. You might have spent way too much time in the mirror perfecting J.Lo’s dances, performing solo to Britney’s songs, and fighting with your friends over who got to be the lead singer in every girl group from Destiny’s Child to TLC. These new and exciting women breathed life into a male-dominated industry. They gave music the fresh air it desperately needed. As the music industry took a turn for the good, these girl groups continuously slayed and sashayed their way to the top of the charts, all while ushering in a new era of girl power and stylistic self-expression that spoke to every woman.
In this generation, girl groups do not always get the recognition they deserve, so we are shining a spotlight on a few that promise to bring empowerment and excitement to your summer fun. Here are six girl groups from the late ’90s and early 2000’s that need to be on your radar, and heavy rotation.
1.) Destiny’s Child: When they stomped onto the scene in their coordinated ensembles, Destiny’s Child changed the face of music, inspiring a generation of young women with their “bootylicious” anthem; which became the go-to catchphrase for curvaceous women across the world.
2.) TLC: Unafraid to shy away from issues such as the AID’s crisis—referenced in their hit Waterfalls—and the illegal drug trade, TLC certainly put the stereotype that girl groups are somehow less 'serious' than their all-male counterparts to rest. But to paint their songs as worthy and issue-led would be to do the group a disservice, as their playful lyrics are reliably sparkled with wit and warmth, too. The band had a major influence on the girl groups of the late 90s and early 00s, and Beyoncé has directly cited them as a reference point, stating: "TLC has influenced just about every female group that's out there now, and they definitely influenced Destiny's Child." Plus, the fact that you'll probably still find their four number ones, Creep, Waterfalls, No Scrubs and Unpretty on rotation during Saturday date nights is certainly a testament to their longevity.
3.) En Vogue: What would a list of girl bands be without a tribute to En Vogue? With big hits, tight dresses and high heels, En Vogue was a much-needed injection of girl power in the late 90’s. For example, “Don’t let go” was the anthem of every pre-teen in the early 00’s, and rightfully so due to the independent woman mindset.
4.) Blaque: This girl group, whose name stands for Believing, Life, Achieving, Quest, Unity, Everything (deep!), started off on fire. They were signed to Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes’ production and were TLC reloaded. Blaque’s reign was short, but during their time on top they became known for their badass-ness and trendy clothing choices.
5.) Allure: Girl power all the way, is how we would like to welcome the next empowering girl group of the 90’s. Allure made their debut at that time with their self-titled album and quickly rose to the top of the charts with their heart-catching songs “Head Over Heels” and “All Cried Out”. These two songs have remained in the hearts of every 90’s teen and we recommend that you give them a spot in your summer playlist.
6.) Changing Faces: Name a better dynamic duo than two independent, soulful R&B women, we’ll wait. These two native New Yorkers began their singing careers in high school long before releasing their debut album in the 90’s. These two hardworking women’s careers in the music industry soared once their singles, “Stroke You Up” and “G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T,” began to climb the top ten R&B charts.
In an age when our most famous “role models” are defying the label “feminist” (ahem, Taylor Swift), sometimes a girls got to drag out her compact discs and mixed tapes to remember the power of a female power ballad. This list celebrates six badass groups who pack some girl power punches. Whether your boss has been a condescending ass, another unworthy boy has blown you off, or you just want to eat cookie dough and jam out with your girlfriends in your sweats, these girls are for you. Update your Spotify playlist with these empowering 90’s girl groups today!