Destiny’s Child – “Say My Name”: Throwback Video of the Day
It was a tricky time for Destiny’s Child when they released “Say My Name” as the third single from The Writing's On The Wall. Beyoncé Knowles, the group’s lead singer, had nailed down speedy singing style on "No, No, No," "Bug a Boo," and "Bills, Bills, Bills." And the female-empowerment messages in their songs had been a big leap from their previous work, which boasted about topics like being a side chick and getting a certain guy to admit his feelings. This time around, the women wore their insecurities on their sleeves, and with the help of Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, brought complemented Beyoncé’s vocals. The rhythms in the song crossed the lines between being sped up and slowed down, which mirrored the mania of paranoia at what was happening at the other end of the phone line.
The group’s sophomore album, The Writing’s on the Wall wasn't out for a full year before they experienced in group turbulence. Members, LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett, would face shocking news in December 1999 when they found out via the video's premiere that they were dismissed from the group. The music video, directed by Joseph Khan, introduced Michelle Williams— who had previously been a backup singer for Monica — and Farrah Franklin, who had initially appeared as an extra in the “Bills” video, as the new members of the group. “I was like, hold on; it’s not true,” LaTavia explained in a 2000 interview with MTV. Both singers claimed they didn’t know them about the official breakup at that point. “I got another call, and the next thing I’m looking at BET, and it said ‘And now the premiere of Destiny’s Child’s new video, ‘Say My Name.’ That’s how we heard about it. It was not a dispute between Beyoncé and Kelly. We never quit the group.”
Before the split, LeToya and Latavia had accused the group’s manager and Beyoncé's father, Matthew Knowles, of favoritism, and wrote letters effectively ending their relationship with him, but claimed they had not officially left the group. “We always tried to work out our differences and communicate with each other” Beyonce explained in a separate interview with MTV in 2000. “But we were having problems for a while now. They were very well aware of everything before it was done. I called them personally to confront them about everything.”
This was almost symbolic of what the group was experiencing, musically. Even the set changes within the video, which show the sliding backdrops as they switch hues, which mirrored the swift modifications the group adopted. Beyonce suffered the most backlash from the DC switch-up. In a candid 2001 VIBE profile, Beyoncé detailed some of the backlash she received, which included the start of a “Blame Beyonce” campaign where she explained in length about angry fans holding signs up at the group’s concerts with the slogan “Beyonce is a bitch.” And, if things couldn’t get any worse, Farrah was asked to leave the group five months after joining, due to missing a series of promotional appearances. Ultimately, Farrah’s departure positioned Beyoncé as the perpetrator. "Up to then I had never had anything bad happen to me, and so it really threw me because I became the villain and that hurt so bad,'' Beyonce told Newsweek in 2002. "I was only about 17 or 18, and all of a sudden I'm walking through airports and hearing people say, 'I can't stand her, she just thinks she's all that.' And I wanted so badly to say, 'You don't even know me. How can you judge me?' ''
Amid the turmoil, the song would go on to win a plethora of awards, including two Grammys for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best R&B Song, and was Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The song also became a global sensation, making it to the top ten on the music charts in at least eight countries. Though there isn’t a music video for it, the Timbaland remix remains to be the better version of the two. On the track, Kelly shares the vocals with Beyoncé, and both girls give a meatier rundown for their insecurities over a slowed down beat that still has that H-Town vibe you can enjoy. The cover art for the remix focused on the girls as a trio. The album cover for the remix represented a new beginning for the group, who would then be known as, DC3. Focusing on the three members is what helped them to become one of the highest selling girl groups of all time. Unbeknownst to the girls at the time, "Say My Name" was that pivotal moment that would change their destiny forever.