When ZhanÃ© first came out in the early Nineties, I didn’t appreciate them at the time. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Hey Mr. DJ from the beginning. But I didn’t appreciate the fact that here were these two chicks with super-short hair (one with a T.W.A years before I knew what the letters stood for), representing for the natural sistas. Their look was fresh and bold, and they came out assertive with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit (now there’s a sad list of forgotten Nineties-era musicians if ever I saw one).
From jump they seemed strong, declaring that their unusual name was Pronounced Ja-Nay, so people like me couldn’t get their name twisted.
ZhanÃ©’s music made the perfect backyard BBQ soundtrack, with soothing harmonies and banging bass lines. Request Line takes me back to high school days in the best possible way, and It’s a Party reminds me of why I loved Busta Rhymes in the beginning. Of course, by then the chicks had grown out the supershort cuts that made them so distinctive looking, and traded them in for some generic Salt N Pepa “Shoop” era bobs.
But still, they looked great and had some good hits with their signature sound. With just two albums under their belt, I didn’t expect ZhanÃ© to completely fade into oblivion along with Brownstone and SWV. According to Wikipedia, their last song came out in 1997. It’s been a decade, and I’ve been wondering — whatever happened to ZhanÃ©?
Jean Baylor and Renee Neufville are still out there, just recording seperately. Listen to Jean’s latest music, and groove to Renee’s jazzy flavor here. As you’ll see, they still sing like angels. Is it too much to hope for a comeback?
My favorite ZhanÃ© video was Sending My Love. They just looked so strong, so beautiful, and so Afrocentric in that desert setting. And I love that their hair is so, so short but they still are feminine and beautiful.
Congratulations, Jean and Renee, you’re my Afrobellas of the Week!