Before all the accolades, four childhood friends from Houston – Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson – came together to follow their dreams. They eventually became one of the most successful girl groups of all-time.
While their 1998 eponymous debut album (Destiny’s Child) introduced them as teenage stars on the rise, their follow-up heard young women coming into their own.
On their second album, The Writing’s On the Wall, Destiny’s Child chose not to abandon the undeniable magic that launched their career. Instead, they expounded on it with more confidence (with a touch of sass) and a mature sound to echo their relatable lyrics.
Packed with cautionary relationship tales, The Writing’s On the Wall became a fixed soundtrack for the ladies across the world. Beneath the surface, the album also served as a manual for getting through situations most women encounter throughout their lifetime. Among the Grammy-winning jams, the album offered life gems only they could bestow.
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, here are 10 commandments of womanhood from The Writing’s On the Wall.
1. Thou shalt go for what you want.
Even though Destiny’s Child contributed to their debut album, they gained significant creative control on their sophomore effort. The members are credited as co-writers on 10 of 16 tracks on the album. This allowed them to wear multiple hats and receive multiple royalty checks. They took the opportunity to write what they wanted to sing and create what they wanted to hear. A valuable lesson is that if you see something you want, one must go out and make it happen to get it.
2. Thou shalt embrace your fellow woman.
In addition to the group having a bigger hand in making the album, Kandi Burruss (of Xscape) also played a considerable role. She helped pen some of their biggest hits, including “Bug a Boo” and “Bills, Bills, Bills,” which was nominated for Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2000. Burruss, who knew how it felt being in a girl group and the importance of a sophomore album, took a chance to collaborate and support women in the industry like Destiny’s Child. There’s no need to look at another woman as competition when you can work together and be successful.
3. Thou shalt not get played. (“Now That She’s Gone”)
People will treat you how you allow them to treat you. Whatever you accept is a reflection of you. Not everyone deserves a second chance when they fumble it the first time. Being aware will prevent you from looking like a fool or allowing people that don’t earn a place in your life.
4. Thou shalt know when to let your hair down. (“Jumpin’, Jumpin’”)
Working hard is important but making time to let loose is just as necessary. Hanging with the girls is never a bad idea, so leave your man at home and have a well-deserved night out.
5. Thou shalt always be honest. (“Confessions”)
Honesty is the best policy, even if you’re a cheater. Telling the truth can feel like a massive weight has been lifted. Whatever happens at the end might not be ideal but being upfront is beneficial for all parties involved.
6. Thou shalt stay true to yourself. (“So Good”)
Not everyone wants to see you win and some will project their insecurities on you. When you’re doing well, people want to talk mess to bring you down. If you have a solid support system, you’ll be ‘so good’ without that negativity.
7. Thou shalt take your time. (“Sweet Sixteen”)
Youth is something that some people take for granted. As a child, you couldn’t wait to be an adult. When you were a teenager, you thought you were grown and knew everything about the world. Time goes quicker than we think so be present, slow down and enjoy the journey.
8. Thou shalt know your worth. (“Hey Ladies”)
We’ve all been there before, being in a relationship that we know good and well we need to let go. Eventually, you’ll get tired of being mistreated because you know you deserve better. Make space for something greater and let it go.
9. Thou shalt follow your intuition. (“Say My Name”)
Instincts have an interesting way of holding a strong presence. You can’t quite put your finger on what it is but you can’t deny how you feel. When you get an inkling that things don’t seem right? Trust it.
10. Thou shalt strive for greatness.
When you put the work in, the results are bound to be amazing. The Writing’s On the Wall was certified gold nearly a month after its release and eight-times platinum by fall 2001. The group’s second album put them on the radar and poised them for the continued success that followed them throughout their career. Solidifying their place in R&B history, Destiny’s Child created a body of work that benchmarked a moment in time.
Stream The Writings On the Wall below.