Singers Brandy and Monica went to face-to-face for the popular Verzuz live stream but a behind-the-scenes video of the pair appearing very friendly sparked a debate on whether women are pitted against each other.
The episode, which aired on 1 September, broke records for Verzuz, reaching 1 million concurrent views and peaking at 1.2 million.
The singers have consistently denied any rift after a planned performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards – where “The Boy is Mine” won Best R&B Song by a Group or Duo – was called off.
The recent clip surfaced online after many fans commented on how “awkward” the episode was because they have been subject to major tabloid scrutiny over speculation that the feud in their song had spilled over into a real-life one.
Even though some followers pointed out many incidents of “shade” and moments of discomfort the two singers expressed their admiration and respect for one another throughout the three-hour live-streamed event.
The video also suggests that the women get on just fine as you can see them voluntarily hugging and dancing on each other backstage with no apparent clue that they are being filmed.
During the live episode, Monica and Brandy even talked about how their supposed rivalry for “The Boy Is Mine” was “brilliant marketing” for their song.
This raised some questions on why people assume they are rivals and whether this is a successful case of women in the music industry being pitted against each other for years.
Some social media users suggested that they just may not have any natural chemistry
While others, especially those who have seen the BTS video, believe it's an old narrative that has stuck in the air.
Others outrightly questioned why they are still being pitted against each other by fans and the industry:
We’ve seen it happen on multiple occasions with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, and more recently Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. It’s rare to see men embroiled in such unprovoked long-term rivalries.
Meanwhile, the Verzuz competitions has seen a number of music heavyweights facing one another with their biggest hits, which was launched in March.
Previous instalments of the series have featured DMX vs Snoop Dogg, and 2 Chainz vs Rick Ross.