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2005 week

No One Remembers That Time Rihanna Was in a Destiny's Child Tribute Group?

Before she was Badgalriri, she was Kelly Rowland for an evening at the 2005 World Music Awards.
Emma Garland
London, GB

This week Rihanna announced a collection of toe socks that say “BITCH WHAT” on them, which is something you wouldn’t even consider doing unless you were unequivocally and untouchably dope. Now, children, you may not realise this, but there was a time when Rihanna wasn’t really fucking famous and cool.

These days, she's so deeply embedded in the public consciousness that it's almost impossible to imagine a time before the internet was rife with thinkpieces about "Bitch Better Have My Money" and clips of her throwing fat wads of cash in someone's face. But if you cast your mind back to 2005, when the Barbadian powerhouse was only just starting to break through with “Pon De Replay”, you will find that long before she was Badgalriri, she was actually Kelly Rowland for an evening.


In 2005 a then 17-year-old Rihanna was chosen alongside then-promising R&B singers Teairra Mari and Amerie to perform "Lose My Breath" at the World Music Awards, where Destiny's Child were being honoured as the best-selling female group of all time. What is the World Music Awards you ask? It's something the reigning Prince of Monaco set up in the 1980s, and has been plagued by no-shows ever since. Last year Sharon Stone was due to host and then pulled out because of "payment difficulties" to be replaced at the last minute by Jason Derulo and Pamela Anderson. Those awards were never televised because they couldn't get the tape to NBC in time. It's a royal shitshow.

Anyway, they managed to get Destiny's Child to show up and perform back in 2005, but they also decided to recruit three R&B mini-me's try to pay them tribute. Everything about the performance is pretty amazing. There is more satin on that stage than the entire bedroom section of John Lewis, they're busting out the kind of choreography you'd find at a high school end-of-year concert, and Rihanna is wearing something that looks not unlike Jerry Seinfeld's 'The Puffy Shirt'.

If you're feeling confused, the reaction you are looking for is all members of Destiny's Child rolled into one:

Furthermore, Solange, who does the introduction, is literally referred to by the announcer as “Beyonce’s little sister”, which is grounds for an inferiority complex if I've ever heard one and is a possible explanation for that fiasco in the elevator last year. Later in the video, Usher and Babyface serenade Destiny's Child and invite them up on stage so they can schmooze more intimately. The problem is, Destiny's Child outnumber them three to two, so while Beyonce and Kelly are walked up there by the hand, Michelle has to trail behind alone and it's super awkward.

The best thing about it though is that Rihanna, who fucked the opening trill to her verse and is just generally pretty sloppy throughout this entire performance TBQH, went on to completely dominate the world to the point where she became the best selling digital artist of all time and managed to make toe socks a desirable item. I like to think that out there, somewhere, in a parallel universe, she's still in a Destiny's Child tribute act, doing gigs on cruise ships.

Watch the full performance in all its glory below:

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