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TV One’s hit series “UnSung” comes to a Klymaxx this week as the show chronicles the rise and fall of 1980s R&B girl-group Klymaxx.

The aggregation, made up of founder Bernadette Cooper, vocalist Lorena Porter (Shelby), bassist Joyce Irby, guitarist Cheryl Cooley and keyboardists Lynn Malsby and Robbin Grider, made history as the first all-female R&B/funk and pop band in which every female member actually played an instrument.

Klymaxx charted songs such as the 1985 hit “I Miss You” and “The Men All Pause” and “Meeting in the Ladies Room” and the hit “I’d Still Say Yes,” a couple years later.

The original Klymaxx

The band broke up in 1989, but in the mid-90s, three of the six, Porter, Cooley and Grider, attempted a Klymaxx comeback. The group released an album but received little radio play. Friction between founder Cooper and Cooley came soon after Cooley’s so-called unauthorized use and attempted solo trademark of the Klymaxx name.

“We all legally have the rights to the name right now,” Cooley told EUR’s Lee Bailey. Since 2002, Cooper and Cooley have been vying for the name.

“Right now it is sitting on the trademark bridge of death. It could wind up sitting there for five, ten, 20 years. At this point we all legally have the rights to the name. So there could be six different Klymaxx bands,” she said.

The two have reportedly been going back and forth over who has rights to the name and who is the real Klymaxx. Cooley defended that she had no intention of rebuilding the group with new players; that it only ended up that way after she attempted to regroup the original Klymaxx.

“After we broke up in 1990, we all went our separate ways,” Cooley said. “I went on to become an electrician. And then I got laid off from my electrical job. A month later I get a phone call from our old manager saying, ‘Call all the girls and see if you can get everybody back together and I’ll get you some old school tours.'”

Cooley said that she started calling the group to some moderately excited responses.

“Then I started getting excuses like, ‘I’m too old, I’m too fat, I’ve got too many kids, it’s not going to work,'” she said, “but I tried to continue on hoping that they’d change their minds, but that wasn’t the case. All of a sudden, all hell breaks loose and I’m the bad guy; that I’m trying to take something from the rest of them and that’s not the case.”

“I thought we were all going to do it together so it was Klymaxx,” she continued. “I had all my emails back and forth that we had communicated. We were going to have auditions to replace the keyboard player because Robyn (Grider) didn’t express if she did or didn’t want to be in it and Lynn (Malsby) said she was worried about jeopardizing her job and Bernadette said flat-out that she didn’t want to do it. So we had auditions to find replacements for them. It wasn’t like they didn’t know what was going on. We were all right there in the same room.”

Cooley said, in regard to the fight for the Klymaxx name, that court papers read that Cooper gigged as Klymaxx 17 times and that Cooley gigged 60 times. Cooper alleged that Cooley had “disgraced” the Klymaxx name by playing smaller, less-prominent venues. Cooley countered that she recently toured arenas as Klymaxx on the Freestyle Explosion Tour with 80s and 90s stars Lisa Lisa, Tone Loc, and Naughty By Nature. Cooper complained that Cooley’s Klymaxx does cover songs. Cooley defended that there’s nothing wrong with paying homage to other music stars.

“There are only eight Klymaxx songs. If she’s only doing Klymaxx songs, she’s probably only got a half-hour show. I get booked for two-hour shows. We’re paying homage to other R&B/funk artists.”

Nonetheless, Cooley said that she’s beyond the disagreements and accusations.

“I have a passion for music,” Cooley said and then alluded to Cooper’s “ulterior motive.” “I think maybe if I wasn’t doing it, she wouldn’t be doing it either. I think there’s a sense of competition there for her.”

Cooley continued that she is disappointed in Cooper’s accusations.

“It’s about the music. It’s not about the bickering,” she said. “When people hear the music they’re like, ‘I remember I was doing such-and-such when that song came out.’ That is way more gratifying than trying to grapple about I’m playing, she’s not playing, she’s playing, and I’m not playing. It’s about the fans, it’s about the audience, it’s about the music.”

Looking back, Cooley contended that she worked the longest in trying to keep the group together.

“I was in charge of saying the prayer before the show. I remember always saying in the prayer, ‘Together we stand, divided we fall,’ hoping that somebody would hear me – and I mean somebody as far as somebody in the group,” she said. “It was my hope that somehow or another that it would sink in by saying it at that time but that was not the case. I did all I could to stay in the group, be in the group, make the group a unit. I was there until the very end. I was the last man standing. I was the last one having to pay the financial debt that was made by the breakup. I have no regrets for what I contributed to the group, but I wish everyone had seen the reason that I saw.”

“UnSung” takes a look at the good times and the battles for the history making group. The episode airs this Sunday, November 15 at 8 & 11 pm (ET).

“I don’t have any type of hatred in my heart for any members of the band. My heart is open to each and every one of those girls in the group,” she said. “There are really no bad memories. There were some misunderstandings, but I still love everybody in the group – whatever happened back in the day or now in the day. I have no regrets of being part of a group that made a big impact in the world; of being an all-girl band; of being in Klymaxx; and all those that were in it to make it what it was.”

For more on TV One’s “UnSung,” visit To find out more about Klymaxx, featuring guitarist Cheryl Cooley, visit these sites:

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