On Monday night, the queens of 90s R&B — Brandy and Monica — reunited for a night of star-powered nostalgia. In true black girl magic, they also shattered some records.
The veteran performers played a bevy of some of their biggest hits in a three-hour Verzuz session taped from Tyler Perry Studios that raised more than $250,000 in funds for the Michelle Obama-backed When We All Vote. More than 35,000 clicks were generated to get viewers registered to vote.
More than 1.2 million viewers tuned in to the battle on Instagram Live, with another 1.8 million viewers tuning in on Apple Music. In total, Monday’s Verzuz battle amassed more than 4.2 million viewers, more than 100 million in-stream likes, more than 5 billion impressions, and was the top trending U.S. Twitter topic and highest tweeted Verzuz battle ever.
The chemistry for this Verzuz session was a moment for two girlfriends to come together and listen to old and current music, with viewers — mostly comprised of longtime fans — witnessing the two R&B legends vibe out to their songs that have quickly become timeless works of art over the years.
Secondary to the chemistry was the fashion. Both songbirds showed up in designer duds with Monica in her signature chic swag and Brandy adopting a more quick casual look.
Monica donned a dark green Fendi blouse and jacket set with matching beret, paired with slim-fitting leather leggings and jeweled slingbacks.
Meanwhile, Brandy was styled in a colorful “Prince Of Chintz” long blazer by Libertine with distressed jeans and Bottega Veneta heels.
Noticeably not present were the signature white sandals Monica donned in her video for “Before You Walk Outta My Life.”
“Whoever made those shoes rightfully discontinued them,” Monica joked about herself.
Verzuz TV might easily be one of the most game-changing platforms ever created. The playful match is composed of some of our favorite musical acts coming together to duel each other, classic hit for hit.
The digital program, created by superproducers Swiss Beatz and Timbaland, was designed for viewers to enjoy the nostalgic melodies that served as the theme music to past events — college parties, family reunions, and cross country road trips. Every month, the Instagram Live battle never seems to disappoint its viewers.
“1 million!” commented “Black-ish” actress and pint-sized movie producer Marsai Martin, as the viewership broke Instagram Live with more than 1.1 million viewers tuned in.
The session welcomed a star-studded line up that included entertainers like Niecy Nash, Ja Rule, Issa Rae, as well as politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayana Pressley, Michelle Obama and even a cameo from Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris.
The feed continued to flow with more Instagram users tuning in to see their favorite singers go head to head. The live stream parallel to the match between Neo-Soul singers, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott.
A spirit of competition was not present between the two entertainers. It was like watching two seasoned black women coming together, reminiscing on their careers and the legacies that they left.
Brandy and Monica were 90s teenaged icons. entertainers who quickly took the world by storm.
Monica’s debut album “Miss Thang” was met with positive reviews. Her sophomore project, “The Boy is Mine,” debuted number three on the Billboard charts and projected her onto the national stage with the release of singles like its title track, “Street Symphony,” and the “Space Jam” soundtrack ballad, “For You I Will.”
Brandy emerged as every teenage boy’s reason for breathing. She epitomized the description of “girl next door.” Her debut album soared to platinum, selling more than five million copies.
In the mid-90s, she starred in the UPN sitcom “Moesha,” which aired for six seasons. The girl with a soft-spoken voice reminiscent of an angelic figure earned herself the nickname “The Vocal Bible” by music critics after the release of fan favorites like, “Never Say Never,” “Full Moon,” and “Afrodisiac” revealed that she possessed a big singing voice with loads of texture and range.
Now, together again on one soundstage, the two just enjoyed one another’s company. Calmly sitting across from each other, the pair retold stories from their years as adolescent pop stars and screen queens.
“I wanted to work with you the first time I heard this,” Brandy said after Monica signaled for the unseen DJ to play her first single, “Don’t Take It Personal.” The “Sitting in My Room” singer told the virtual audience about her admiration for the Atlanta born entertainer.
Although there may have been some awkwardness present, the battle seemed to reflect great chemistry present on the live feed. Fans, however, have pitted the two singers against each other as they both respectfully play some of their iconic singles that made their careers flourish.
“Brandy knows it’s over,” commented one viewer, followed by three laughing emojis. “Monica coming with it hitting Brandy with all blows,” typed another IG user. The feed was composed of fans showing praise for whomever artists they came to support.
Though Billboard would eventually go on to declare Brandy the winner, it’s clear that there were no losers following this battle for the ages.