Taj George talks ‘SWV Reunited’ ahead of the group’s show at the Howard Theatre


Together, Taj George, left, Cheryl Clemons, center, and Leanne Lyons are SWV. (WE tv)

If you were a fan of TLC or En Vogue in the ’90s (duh), chances are you were a fan of SWV too. Or maybe you haven’t heard of them. Though the all-female trio scored big hits with “Weak” and “I’m So Into You” (and was nominated for a Grammy in 1994), a string of poor management decisions relegated the group to near-obscurity and ultimately caused them to split in 1998. WE tv’s reality show “SWV Reunited” chronicles the group’s attempt to reclaim fame as the ladies — Cheryl Clemons, Taj George and Leanne Lyons — struggle to resolve old drama. Express talked with George prior to SWV’s show at the Howard Theatre on Saturday, and on the heels of news that “SWV Reunited” has been renewed for a second season.

Welcome back!
Things are totally different from 1992 when we first came out. I’m adjusting. But I can’t even complain because here I am, almost 43 years old, and we’re still singing after 22 years. If you complain you need to get knocked in the head.

There seems to be a lot of secrecy among the group on the show.
It frustrates the hell out of me! Your left hand needs to know what your right hand is doing so they can move together and protect you. I wish there was a magic pill to get rid of it all because I would swallow the bottle.

How do you stay grounded amid all the drama?
Some people do drugs and alcohol. I like candy. My coping mechanism is I shove a box of Hot Tamales down my throat.

What’s been the reaction from your fans that stuck with you?
They’re so excited. I think there’s a need right now for mature music. Not that there’s anything wrong with the music going on right now, because I’m sure when we were younger our parents said the same thing about our music. I think more artists from the past should come and get their groove on, because if we can, anybody can.

What songs can we expect at your Howard Theatre performance?
We’re going to keep the old favorites because if we do not do those, people will choke us. We released an album in 2012 [“I Missed Us”] that was an incredible album. We are disgusted it didn’t get the promotion it deserved. But people are still requesting it so we will give it to them at the show.

How do you explain the success of your WE tv show?
I think with the other reality shows, there’s an assembled cast of people you don’t know at all. But with us, we’ve been around for 22 years so when we came to television, people already knew something about us. The show is just filling in the blanks of why we broke up.

Any haters out there?
We have been criticized so much. Yeah, I looked like the Michelin Man but I just had a baby. I’m working out as much as I can but I’m still in my 40s. And like I said, I like candy.

What will season two of “SWV Reunited” bring?
We’re going to delve more into our therapy sessions, and we don’t have to cram everything into six episodes. You’ll get to see a wider range of SWV now that we have 10 whole episodes.

Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW; Sat., 8 p.m., $30-$65; 202-803-2899.  (Shaw-Howard U)

Holley Simmons is the dining editor of The Washington Post Express. When she’s not reporting on local restaurants and tastemakers, you can find her sewing a dress from a 1950s pattern or planting a windowsill herb garden. Contact her at holley.simmons@wpost.com.
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