Brother Of Deceased Destiny’s Child Founder Speaks: “It Took A Couple Of Deaths To Bring About This Group”
Last week, we broke news about the two forthcoming Destiny’s Child biopics, which are being put together by former Destiny’s Child manager Brian K. Moore. Both films will be based on Moore’s 2014 book, The Making of a Child of Destiny: The Andretta Tillman Story, which is about DC founder Andretta Tillman and her quest to create the ultimate girl group. We were able to catch up with Tillman’s brother, Lornonda Brown, who discussed his feelings about the films, his personal dealings with Mathew Knowles and the pain and heartache that Destiny’s Child was birthed from.
MN: Have you read Brian Moore’s book about your sister, Andretta Tillman?
No, I haven’t. Not entirely, no I haven’t.
MN: He’s working on two movies based on the book and the early days of Destiny’s Child. Were you aware of that?
Yes, he spoke to me briefly about it.
MN: And what were your thoughts?
I think it’s a great idea. I think that it’s been a long time coming. I think it’s a great story of how a person can go from rags to riches and all of the avenues that it took for them to get there. My sister was one of the avenues and quite a few people she actually touched. They were diamonds in the rough and I guess they’re where they want to be at this point. They are up there with the stars.
MN: I noticed that when we first reported on Brian’s movie projects and book, many people were negative about it and said that he was trying to ride Beyoncé’s coattails. It was as if they felt Andretta’s story being told was somehow going to take away from the legacy of Destiny’s Child.
What I’d say is that is if it is a truth, then it is what it is. As long as nothing is fabricated, there are no lies and you can back up what you say with the facts, that’s not riding anything. That’s just making a statement. Even when we had the lawsuit against Music World/Sony, we weren’t out to discourage, tear up or blemish the name. Beyoncé is a person who put in work and God bless her. That’s great. All we’re doing is telling a story of how it happened and the pain that was endured in its happening. Not to receive nothing from her or take anything from her, but if it’s a true story to be told, it shouldn’t hurt anybody by it being told—unless you got something to hide.
MN: Tell me about the lawsuit with Sony.
When my sister died, we owned half of Music World Management. In the state of Texas, if you set up any kind of business as a partnership and you license the name at a courthouse, if one person dies, the next heir in the family comes up front. Your partner’s name doesn’t just die in the partnership and that’s what happened.
MN: What were your personal experiences like with Mathew Knowles?
Mathew Knowles and I, we were fine. We were good. It’s just a matter of business that had to be taken care of. His morals are a little bit out there, but we all come short, as far as morals go. That’s just being human. But when it comes to business and the law and you break a law in this great ole’ USA, you got to stand and account for it; and it was a law he broke. I still say God bless him. I hope he’s doing well. I can drink tea or coffee with him and it’s not going bother me any. I’ve got no hard feelings. Really, I can’t put him in heaven or hell; but he’ll stand and account for everything he’s done, just like I’ll have to. I hope everything keeps going well for him and Beyoncé as well.
MN: Publicly, do you feel that Andretta has been given proper credit for the role that she played in the creation and development of Destiny’s Child?
Well, no not really. I’ll say it like this, when you do an interview, just tell the truth. Don’t turn it into something that it’s not and that’s what happened in the start with all of these interviews and documentaries. Only recently, her name has been brought up. Now, when you look back at it and you see that someone put up $300,000 plus on you, you kind of need to just acknowledge it and say what happened. Nobody is going to get no big credit, but when you sit up and just act like it didn’t exist–when you had her sons suffering and you’re sitting back watching the lights and stuff get cut off every now and then. When you’re behind on car notes and little stuff like that. $300,000 plus put somebody where they needed to be and you just forget all about them when you get out there on your documentaries? Sure, they said something on the first album or so, but then on the documentaries, when you’re in front of the camera, and you don’t acknowledge that this person was even there, that’s just not good.
I want to tell you where Andretta got the money from. Andretta’s husband, her two sons and her daughter were in a car and they were in Tyler for the weekend. A driver was speeding and as they were pulling out, the driver struck the car, killing her husband instantly. He lost his life instantly and her daughter lost her life in that car wreck. Her daughter died in my other sister’s arms. They took all of them to the hospital and they released everyone. The police did not check the driver to see if he had alcohol in his system, but the hospital checked it. After everyone was released, the hospital told my sister that the driver had alcohol in his system. She pressed charges and she sued the City of Tyler for not pressing charges on the guy that killed her husband and her daughter. She won the lawsuit and the insurance money from her daughter—her husband’s name was Dwight Tillman and her daughter’s name was Shauna Tillman—and she came up with the name DwiShaun Management. Those are the monies that were used to start off the careers of the girls. It took a couple of deaths to bring about this group. There was a lot of pain that went into this deal. It wasn’t just someone going to the bank pulling money.
MN: This was birthed from her pain.
Yes, and she did it all the way until her last breath. She was doing business from her hospital bed.
MN: That adds so much more to the story.
Yes, it does. So right now her son is setting up the Andretta Tillman Lupus Fund. She died of Lupus. In her last days, all of her main organs failed and she simply couldn’t stay with us any longer.
I wish everyone the best. Mathew, Kelly, Beyoncé. I just wish the best for them. My sister is in another place right now, but whatever place she’s in, she’s still pushing the business from where she is, through us. In the decisions that we make in the businesses that we are in, in music and entertainment, we think about the decisions that she made and what she would say because true enough, quite a few of them that she touched, they’re out there on the top. Those are the things we can actually learn from.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise