After the Storm
The personnel-turnover drama still wasn't over; in July 2000, just five months after joining, Farrah Franklin split with the group. The official reason was that Franklin missed several promotional appearances and concert gigs, although in later interviews she spoke of too much negativity and too little control in the group environment. Now reduced to a trio, Destiny's Child was tapped to record the theme song for the film version of Charlie's Angels; released as a single in October, "Independent Women, Pt. 1" raced up the charts and spent an astounding 11 weeks at number one. Destiny's Child were now indisputable superstars, the biggest female RB group on the scene, and they quickly began work on a new album to capitalize. In the meantime, toward the end of 2000, Roberson and Luckett dropped the portion of their lawsuit aimed at Rowland and Knowles in exchange for a settlement, though they continued to pursue action against Knowles' father; as part of the agreement, both sides were prohibited from ripping each other publicly.
Beyoncé had long since emerged as the group's focal point, and on the third Destiny's Child album, she assumed more control than ever before, taking a greater hand in writing the material and even producing some of the record herself. While recording sessions were going on, Rowland released the first Destiny's Child solo track; "Angel" appeared on the soundtrack of Chris Rock's Down to Earth. Former members Roberson and Luckett also announced the formation of a trio called, coincidentally, Angel, and Farrah Franklin set about starting a solo career.
Survivor -- whose title was reportedly inspired by a DJ's crack about Destiny's Child members voting one another off the island, much like the popular CBS reality series -- hit stores in the spring of 2001, and entered the charts at number one. The first two singles, "Survivor" and "Bootylicious," were predictably huge hits, with the latter becoming the group's fourth number one pop single. A cover of Andy Gibb's "Emotion" was also successful, albeit less so, and Survivor sold well -- over four million copies -- but not as well as its predecessor. Toward the end of the year, the group released a holiday album, 8 Days of Christmas, and announced plans for a series of side projects, including solo albums from all three members (to be staggered over the next year and a half, so as to avoid competition). In early 2002, shortly after This Is the Remix was released to tide fans over, Roberson and Luckett sued the group again, claiming that some of the lyrics in "Survivor" made reference to them (in violation of the earlier lawsuit settlement). Meanwhile, the first Destiny's Child solo album was released in April; Michelle Williams' all-gospel project Heart to Yours, which featured a duet with gospel legend Shirley Caesar. Meanwhile, Beyoncé won a leading role opposite Mike Myers in the third Austin Powers film, Goldmember, playing blaxploitation-style heroine Foxy Cleopatra; her first solo single, the Neptunes-produced "Work It Out," appeared on the soundtrack, and her full solo album, Dangerously in Love, became a huge hit upon release in mid-2003. Despite much critical speculation, the trio reunited the following year and released Destiny Fulfilled in November 2004.