Verzuz made history, yet again.
Monday night, Brandy and Monica took the stage at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta for a battle that attracted record-breaking viewership. According to Verzuz’s official Twitter account, their matchup set a new record for the series, garnering over 1.2 million viewers on Instagram Live alone.
The record-breaking number of viewers—which included former First Lady Michelle Obama, Solange, Tyler, the Creator, and Queen Latifah—was just the cherry on top of a celebratory evening. The battle marked the first time Brandy and Monica have been in the same room in a little less than a decade (their last collaboration was 2012’s “It All Belongs To Me”). Since the late ’90s, the singers have been entangled in a feud, and there were undoubtedly some tense moments throughout the battle, but they put that aside to join forces and show the power of R&B.
Before they began playing music, Brandy and Monica offered a tribute to actor Chadwick Boseman, who passed away from colon cancer on August 28. Soon after, Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris made an appearance via Zoom, where she encouraged viewers to vote in the upcoming election.
From that point, for three hours straight, viewership stayed over one million (plus many more watching on Apple Music) as fans celebrated both artists’ arsenal of classic records. Brandy played some of her greatest hits including her debut single “I Wanna Be Down,” “Have You Ever,” and “Full Moon.” Monica also took it back to the beginning of her career with “Don’t Take It Personal,” along with “Angel of Mine,” and “Everything To Me.”
“To keep it right at, if not above, one million viewers for nearly three hours on IG, is nothing short of amazing. R&B won, yet again,” one veiwer tweeted.
“In all honesty, this [was] a great night for R&B. Both have splendid catalogs. Great women,” another fan wrote.
Ahead of the battle, there was anticipation building about whether the artists would discuss their past feud. It’s a storyline that has followed both of them for two decades, often reignited by shady social media comments and fan speculation. Surprisingly, they broached the topic pretty early in the night. But while addressing their issues, they managed to shower each other with praise, too.
“I really am a straight shooter, and I really do admire what you do musically,” Monica said, to which Brandy responded: “I just need you to know that I have the utmost respect for you, no matter the times where it seemed like I didn’t.”
The night was celebratory, but Black Twitter did catch on to some of the shadier moments, as both Brandy and Monica seemed to trade passive aggressive commentary in between sets. At one point, Brandy stated that during the battle, they were like a group. Monica then cut in and made it clear: “We are not a group.” Later, when they played their 1998 duet “The Boy Is Mine” to close out the night, Brandy made it a point to remind fans that it was her song before Monica hopped on it.
There will be some people who remember the night for its shady moments and the memes that came from their awkward interactions, but for much of the three-hour performance, Brandy and Monica peacefully swapped stories about their early hits and careers, complimenting each other as trailblazers in the R&B genre at such young ages. At times, their camaraderie even reflected previous Verzuz battles between Snoop Dogg and DMX or Erykah Badu and Jill Scott. Once the battle ended, they were also spotted off-camera sharing a few laughs and embrace.
The Brandy and Verzuz Monica face-off was a moment many of us thought would never come, but we’re glad finally did. We sang along, laughed, danced, and celebrated two legendary R&B artists. Brandy was the winner of the night when it came to song selection, but Monica reminded us all that she was the soundtrack to a lot of our lives growing up. It was yet another memorable night in the Verzuz series, and proof that R&B can bring in the numbers, too.