Dear DK Fans,
(Note from Aubrey)
I reach out to you with all of the honesty and sincerity in my heart. Without a doubt, you have always been my key source of inspiration. Everything I do in this industry is motivated by your commitment and passion. As you may know, there has been much speculation on the state of Danity Kane after a recent incident. In order to clear up any confusion, Shannon and I write to you today with nothing but pure intentions. Over the course of the past few days, we have heard countless recommendations on how we can “spin” this story or “make it go away,” as seems to be typical in our industry. We have never been — nor will we ever be — those types of women. This decision to stand by our principles may affect our future. Our pocketbooks. Our careers. And the list goes on and on. But, there is one thing it won’t affect —namely, your trust and faith in us. We owe you — our loving fans — the unfiltered truth.
During a recent group meeting, a business conversation took a turn for the worst when my group member punched me in the back of my head while I was speaking to another associate. To be clear, she was not physically engaged or threatened prior to her attack on me. This is the same information I provided to the police, and witnesses also corroborated this account of the incident. I cannot condone or excuse any form of physical violence, particularly at the hands of someone I considered family. Disagreements happen. But a war of words and ideas should never end in physical aggression.
It breaks my heart that this violence is followed by no sign of remorse. For the past year, I watched small lies turn into bigger lies. Those bigger lies turned into verbal abuse. Now the verbal abuse has deteriorated into a physical assault. I put what I knew was right second to what I knew I could handle for the sake of the big-picture success this incredibly talented group of women could have achieved together. It was my goal to prove that with enough understanding the issues behind the scenes could be resolved, and we could continue to create content for one of the most inspiring fan bases I have ever witnessed. I realize now that in order to achieve that reality all three girls would have to want that. And, unfortunately, only two of us put our solo ambitions and lives to a halt and consistently put the team first.
An ethical and moral line has been crossed. As someone who experienced abuse in the past, I promised to never grow up putting my hands on people or ever condoning such behavior in others. It is a promise near and dear to my heart. If you have experienced it before, you already know it is not something one should compromise. Over the past year of constant engagement, I tried tirelessly to sympathize with behavior I could not understand. But, I watched her behavior get darker and darker. And, I fear it will only get worse. This most recent occurrence is not just incredibly embarrassing for the members of Danity Kane. More importantly, it spits on the hard work of all those who have supported us along this journey. Sadness does not even remotely begin to describe what I feel right now. Ultimately, as a woman who has spent her entire career standing up for the underdog and right over wrong, I can no longer pretend that she is willing to do what it takes to protect the power of the Danity Kane name.
(Note from Shannon)
My heart is heavy. It is all I can do to pull myself out of bed to face this task. But, I know it must be done. There are many people besides myself that this impacts. Bottom line, it is not fair! I am not asking that you validate it being so. I am writing because you— the fans and our loved ones — deserve an honest and transparent explanation. My desire is to genuinely apologize to everyone who has poured their time, heart and energy into us. So many lives have been affected by this chain of events.
In the first chapter of Danity Kane, I did my best to be the glue that held us together. Assuming the role of the “quiet one,” I tried to keep my opinions to myself and worked behind the scenes to balance our strong personalities for the good of the Danity Kane name. Unquestionably, there were amazing times and truly genuine moments. Please do not believe anything different. Those honest moments kept me motivated through the battles. That being said, people eventually made choices I could not control.
I entered into this journey again with sisters who understood a dynamic that nobody else could. I hoped we could honestly reflect on what we had been through and the mistakes that were made. After this last year of trying to make this next chapter a success, I am devastated to admit that my expectations were set too high. I now must walk away feeling used and manipulated in addition to the name Danity Kane. I know this raises numerous questions. But, for me to delve into a “he said, she said” narrative is a tactic best reserved for those who shamelessly hope to gain followers, irrespective of the truth and the consequences of one’s actions. I am a grown and confident woman, and I only need to share my perspective. This has been a year of tremendous sacrifice. I left my husband alone for months on end, and he has undoubtedly suffered the most for my dreams. Aubrey graciously opened her home to me throughout this process, since I had no other place to stay. For that I am truly grateful! Day in and day out the focus in her home has been how to make Danity Kane an undeniable force of good. We tried our best to assemble a team to help bring Danity Kane back from the depths of disappointment and into an era where we, as independent women, were taken seriously in this business. From your perspective, I am sure it seems like this should have been an easy fix and that we should just “get it together.” Rest assured, we have been “getting it together” for a long time. At some point, the stress fracture was bound to turn into a break. It is unfortunate but real.
As for the actions that have brought us to this broken ending, I cannot speak for anyone or explain their internal struggles that prompted this heartbreaking sequence of events. All I know is what I have seen. I did not witness a shouting match, a cat fight or a brawl. I witnessed a single direct punch. In reflecting on this situation, I recalled a journal entry I wrote back in April. Initially, I struggled with sharing something so transparent and personal with all of you. However, my desire to be honest with you trumps all other considerations. As you can tell, I have been avoiding saying names. However, this was my personal reaction to escalating events that led up to my overall frustrations with Dawn….months ago.
“It’s exhausting to chase your mind to understand your heart. For so long I’ve looked at you and your strengths trying to find any excuse for you in my head to put you back where I used to hold you. But time and again you prove me wrong to myself. Now I’m looking out for me I’ve learned that from you. But I pray my heart stays pliable and is still moved by honest humanity. May the ability to love not escape from my chest.”
(Note from Shannon and Aubrey)
Anyone that knows us even slightly could see we usually have opposing views and stark contrasts in dealing with our feelings. But, over the course of this last year undeniable commonalities in our values and principles were revealed. We spent the first half of the year struggling to convince ourselves that the red flags we witnessed were somehow explainable. And, after that was no longer an option, we tried to take the negativity in stride while finding the perseverance to keep it from tearing us apart.
We know it must be devastating for our fans to have spent the last twelve months supporting our every move, and for that we cannot apologize enough. We share your frustration and anger! We spent a year living on each other’s couches, sacrificing any solo opportunity that came our way, finally finished our comeback album, and were days away from filming three music videos for you that would have played out as a short movie. We lived on calls, traded endless e-mails, and sat in meeting after meeting to bring together an amazing team of producers, agents, directors, and styling teams with no manager in place. We were at the finish line. We wish, more than anything, that our time, our team’s time, and most importantly your time as fans, was not taken for granted and carelessly disregarded. If this ending was in our control, please understand that we would have done everything in our power to move things forward. You have become our family, and regardless of these unfortunate circumstances, we hope all of you treat one another as family, as we have built connections that cannot possibly be conveyed in words. Our journey, and the love we have built together as fans and artists, is a truth that all of us will forever hold close to our hearts.
No doubt, we have experienced significant trials and tribulations this year. From starting off without a member, to losing another, to where we stand now, all of those dark days have shined a light on some undeniable truths. Being a part of a “girl group” is so much more than how well an individual member may sing or dance or charm or act. Rather, no matter how talented you may be, you need to be relentlessly committed to self-sacrifice and the good of the whole. No team can function without every member having these traits, and this is why you see — time and time again — various groups crumble.
It is infinitely harder to make a group work than a solo act, and that was the attraction and excitement for us. We wanted to succeed when confronted with the ultimate challenge. We may not have been able to get everyone on the same page. However, we still remain committed to the idea that talented women can come together to create something bigger than themselves. When that moment happens, true history will be made.
Shan & Aubs