Queen B? Beyonce & Brandy Face Off

Saturday, 03 January 2009 12:21 Written by  Tiffani Alexander

Will the real Queen B please stand up?  Ok, so these two ladies are Divas in their own right, and well, I doubt they are engaged in any real competition with each other. No, these two successful women probably want to see the other continue to do well and top the charts––as long as their spot at the top is safe that is.

Brandy Some may wonder why I’m writing this piece at all. I mean, let’s face it, Beyonce is a superstar, with hits spanning countries and her face gracing magazines, fragrances, clothing, commercials, oh and the big screen––starring in Cadillac Records and the upcoming Obsessed. To some, there is no contest between the current “face” of, well everything, and the Pop Princess of the 90s. But let’s take a closer look.

Brandy burst on the scene in 1994 with her self-titled debut album. The single “I Wanna Be Down” made Brandy a household name and the award-winning duet with Monica, “The Boy is Mine,” off her second album, Never Say Never, seemed to give the R&B singer, discovered by Chris Stokes, superstar status. She has released five studio albums, including 2002’s Full Moon, 2004’s Afrodisiac, and 2008’s Human.

Not that Ms. Norwood is only known for holding a microphone––she shone on the small screen for five years as Moesha in a sitcom of the same name, and before that as a teen on Thea. She was also in the 1998 sequel to I Know What You Did Last Summer, aptly titled I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, and in made for television movies, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Double Platinum. Oh, and we all remember Nick and Jessica Simpson’s Newlyweds, but before that the California native (well she was technically born in Mississippi but lived in the sunshine state since she was 4) starred in her own MTV reality television show Special Delivery with “husband” Robert “Big Bert” Smith, which followed the couple during her pregnancy and their first year of marriage (which wasn’t really a marriage, but that’s another article). Brandy has also written music on her own albums and for others artists like Toni Braxton and Beyonce’s homegirl Kelly Rowland.

Beyonce rose to fame in the late 1990’s as lead singer of the mega-selling group Destiny’s Child. Clearly the standout performer in the group (not to take anything away from Kelly and Michelle), Beyonce went on to release her first solo album, Dangerously in Love in 2003 and she won five Grammy’s for the album that introduced the world to Beyonce and Jay Z on “Crazy in Love.”  While the group did release Destiny Fulfilled in November of 2004, it was clear that B was now a solo act and 2006’s B’Day, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, sold more than 541,000 copies in its first week.

Jigga’s wife has also starred in her share of films, starting out in BET’s version of Carmen Jones, Carmen: Hip Hopera in 2001. She then starred in Austin BeyoncePowers in Goldmember in 2002, 2003’s The Fighting Temptations, and 2006’s The Pink Panther and Dreamgirls. Adding to her long line of credits is her fashion line with her mother Tina, named Deron after her grandmother, and she was only the second African American woman to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (the first was of course Ms. Tyra Banks). The singer, actress, entrepreneur, songwriter and more has had many other accomplishments, as has Ms. Norwood, but I think that’s enough to set the stage, so to speak.

So why the battle of the Bs? Well since both of these Divas released albums in late 2008, one earning her fifth number 1 single in the US with “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” and other critical acclaim and criticism (some saying Human sounds too “90s” which would be a good thing in my book, but I digress), I thought a look at the careers of both women would prove enlightening.

Some could say that Brandy led the way for Beyonce––not in the way that say Aretha, Tina, or Patti paved the way––or even the before-mentioned Carmen Jones––for women performers of color. But in that “Princess of Pop” sort of way she kind of did. Before Brandy, we really hadn’t seen a pop singer also starring in television and film, or producing their own line (if you didn’t know, Brandy has been pushing her own brand of weave for years) and writing her own songs. Brandy even beat Jessica to the reality television punch. Since the early 90s, Brandy has been a recognizable name across genres and her early success helped put that Pop-R&B sound in the forefront.

Not to take anything away from “B” as Jay Z affectionately calls her, but I was just thinking maybe Mrs. Carter could give a little homage to the first Ms. B. I’m just saying––we all wanted to “be down” back in the day.

Tiffani Alexander

Tiffani Alexander

Publisher and Editor in Chief of GlossMagazineOnline.com (GMO), Tiffani Alexander came to Chicago in the fall of 2004 to pursue her Master's degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. Tiffani earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of
 Maryland, College Park. She has worked for both Cygnus Business Media and Maher Publishing before embarking on her dream to start her own magazine. In addition to publishing GMO bi-monthly, Tiffani freelances and works as an editor on a legal journal in Washington, DC.


Tiffani can be contacted at TiffaniA@glossmagazineonline.com

Follow her on Twitter: @TiffaniGMO


Website: www.glossmagazineonline.com

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