Kéllé Bryan speaks out on Eternal reunion row over trans support
Eternal‘s Kéllé Bryan has spoken out amid the group’s shelved reunion due to a row about LGBTQ+ rights.
The ’90s R&B band were set to make a comeback next year for a run of live shows. However, members Easther and Vernie Bennett, who are sisters, have allegedly refused to perform at a number of Pride events and LGBTQ+ festivals as part of the tour.
Louise Redknapp and Bryan have dropped out of the reunion as a result. Earlier this week, Redknapp shared an image of a trans-inclusive Pride flag on X (fka Twitter). She captioned it with the message “Always & Forever” (the title of Eternal’s debut album) along with a love heart emoji.
Bryan has since shared her own statement on social media, writing: “Opportunities to reunite for an Eternal reunion tour with the girls have been discussed many times over the years.
“The relationship with our fans and the joy of celebrating our success was, and still is, my motivation. My stance and allegiances have always been that I am an advocate for inclusion and equality for all.”
She concluded: “Thank you for your continued support over three decades. God bless, Kelle x.”
In response to the Daily mail article. pic.twitter.com/vs7C45IRI6
— Kelle Bryan (@kellebryan) September 25, 2023
Redknapp’s publicist previously confirmed Redknapp and Bryan’s departure from the tour in a statement issued to the BBC.
“A message was sent to the team putting together the Eternal reunion stating that if it was to go ahead, neither Vernie nor Easther would perform at Pride shows or LGBTQ+ festivals,” it read.
“This was because the duo felt that the gay community was being hijacked by the trans community and they do not support this.”
The statement added: “Louise is a huge supporter and ally of the LGBTQ+ community and both herself and Kéllé told the duo they would not work with anyone who held these views, and as such the reunion as a four would not be going ahead.
“The team behind the proposed Eternal reunion are gay including management, PR and tour promoter, and neither myself nor any of the team would work with artists who held such views about the trans community.”
Speaking to The Sunday Mirror, meanwhile, a source claimed (via The Independent): “Louise, Kéllé, Easther and Vernie had all signed up to perform a huge nationwide tour next year, culminating with a huge show at pop festival Mighty Hoopla [in London], which is loved by the gay community.”
The source told the newspaper that Redknapp and Bryan had been left “stunned” over their former bandmates’ decision and “pulled out” of the planned dates “immediately”.
Next year’s reunion would have marked the first time the original Eternal line-up had performed together since Redknapp’s departure from the group in 1995. The band formed in 1992 and released their debut studio album the following year. Bryan then left Eternal in 1998.
Back in 2013, Eternal reunited as a trio without Redknapp for the ITV2 reality documentary series The Big Reunion. They played a live concert at London’s Hammersmith Apollo in early 2014.