5 reasons why 'Independent Women' is Destiny's Child's weirdest song


This week, Adele’s “Hello” is sitting comfortably at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s quite a feat for a female artist to hit number one, but 15 years ago a group of powerful ladies did it: Destiny’s Child, with “Independent Women Pt. I.”

“Independent Women Pt. I” came out September 14, 2000, and was Destiny’s Child’s third number one single, following “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Say My Name.” And it’s definitely the strangest number one single Destiny’s Child ever produced. Here’s why:

1) It shouldn’t have even existed

For starters, the song that hit number one wasn’t even supposed to be included on Destiny’s Child’s 2001 album Survivor. There was an “Independent Women” song planned for the next album, but it ended up being labeled “Independent Women Pt II.” Why?

The song that went number one wasn’t even supposed to be released. It was a remix of the original that accidentally got so famous they had no choice but to include it on Survivor.

2) Farrah Franklin goes missing

While watching the video, you might have thought to yourself, “Isn’t that Michelle Williams?” Well, you would be correct. These women are (from left to right) Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé Knowles, and Michelle Williams.

But if you listen closely to the song, there aren’t three vocal tracks. There are FOUR. dun dun dun.

Many members rotated through Destiny’s Child—six, in total. Farrah Franklin was a member of Destiny’s Child for a super hot second. She replaced LaTavia Robertson and LeToya Luckett right before Michelle Williams joined, but got the boot very shortly after—she was out after six months.

Immediately following Franklin’s departure Beyoncé told MTV News: “We’re going to be perfectly fine. We’ve done, like, three or four shows without Farrah, and they’ve been phenomenal. I know that we get all of our energy from the crowd, and we’ve definitely been getting that and more.”

Though Franklin’s voice can be heard on “Independent Women Pt. I,” she left the group before the video was shot.

3) It’s basically a Charlie’s Angels Promo

The music video for “Independent Women Pt. I” consists mostly of clips from the classic American comedy film Charlie’s Angels.

That’s because the song was on the soundtrack for the 2000 release of Charlie’s Angels starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu. The song’s intro is a shoutout:

Lucy Liu
With my girl, Drew
Cameron D. and Destiny
Charlie’s Angels, come on

Later, Beyoncé revealed that her father and former manager Matthew Knowles had submitted the song for use on the soundtrack without her permission. Since Destiny’s Child was on Columbia Records and the movie was produced by Columbia Pictures, both of which were owned by Sony, this was probably a “synergy” thing—Beyoncé may not have had a choice.

4) Why are they at a giant boardroom table filled with women?

Do independent women sit at tables? Why does the table seem to be made of plastic? What are all of those other women doing there? Is Beyoncé is the mysterious Charlie who runs the Angels? Is Beyoncé organizing her future world take over? (Obviously.)

5) It still holds a chart record

“Independent Women Pt. I” spent 11 weeks in the number one spot—it’s one of only 21 songs that have spent that long at the top.

But it is still, even in 2015, the longest-running number one single for a band made entirely of women. Independent Women, indeed.

Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.

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