Shamari DeVoe of the much loved girl group Blaque, founded by Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, is currently starring in the cable television ratings winner, “BET Presents The Encore“, a reality show about nine former R&B artists coming together to form a super girl group!
Along with Shamari on the show are Pamela Long from Total, Kiely Williams from 3LW and the Cheetah Girls, Aubrey O’Day from Danity Kane, LeMisha and Irish Grinstead from 702, Felisha and Fallon King from Cherish and the only solo artist in the house, Nivea.
During the show, Shamari spoke about being thankful for Lisa’s mentorship and how the tragic 2002 passing of Lisa in a car accident in Honduras affected the career of her group, Blaque.
“The first album, ‘Blaque‘, was multi-platinum. And then, we were in the movie, ‘Bring It On‘. We were on top of the world!”, Shamari proudly tells the show’s producers about her career highs. “We had it all”.
Shamari shared the spotlight with her two Blaque group members, Brandi Williams and the late Natina Reed, who passed away in 2012. Blaque were discovered by Lisa’s brother, Ronald Lopes, who introduced them to Lisa and she had them signed up to Left Eye Productions company, eventually leading them to a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1996.
“Blaque are the protégé’s of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of TLC. She was our mentor — and then she passed away”, Shamari recalls. “That just stopped our whole career”. With the loss of Left Eye, Blaque also lost their biggest cheerleader.
“I definitely felt let down by the industry,” Shamari admits to The Guardian. “There was a point where I lost my passion to ever want to sing again.” Their second album, ‘Blaque Out‘ was scrapped by the label after online leaks, and the third album, ‘Torch‘, was also scrapped in 2003.
However, after heavy public demand in the form of fan petitions over the years, Blaque won back the rights to their recordings from one-time manager Mathew Knowles, and the album finally came out in 2019, 20 years since their debut.
“It feels really good to finally release it,” says Brandi. “And with us able to own these songs now, and our fans still wanting to hear them, I actually think this is perfect timing.”
“We’re doing this for Natina and Lisa”, Shamari adds.
Watch ‘BET Presents The Encore’ every Wednesday 10/9c on BET