The Cheetah Girls starring...Solange Knowles?!
It almost happened.
While all good Disney Channel Original Movie fans know that the empowering musical film franchise starred Raven-Symoné, Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams and Sabrina Bryan as the BFFs-turned-pop stars, it may come as a surprise to learn that Beyoncé's kid sister reportedly came close to making a big splash as Aquanetta "Aqua" Walker.
As Sabrina told International Business Times in 2018, "The auditions were long. They auditioned hundreds of girls for the four roles…I went to a couple more callbacks, and then the last and final callback, they had Raven there. She was being brought on as Galleria. And Adrienne came in, and I was a fan of 3LW…Raven I knew. I had already heard talks about That's So Raven. I had already seen some of the audition calls for it. So, I knew that show was being filmed. So, that wasn't a surprise. But also, Solange Knowles was there. And she was originally booked as Aqua."
As executive producer Debra Martin Chase told the outlet, a pushed-up release date for Solange's debut album Solo Star—dropped first in Japan in December 2002 before arriving stateside in January 2003—left her dad and manager Mathew Knowles concerned about the stress of promo duties on top of filming a movie, prompting Solange to pull out of the project. That decision, of course, paved the way for Kiely to join her 3LW group mate in the film. (Don't feel too bad for Solange. She'd go on to make her film debut in 2004's Johnson Family Vacation.)
Now, in honor of Raven's 36th birthday on Dec. 10, we thought we'd take a look at what the actual cast has been up to since they roared their way into the DCOM hall of fame.
The Cheetah Girls is available to stream on Disney+.
(This story was originally published on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 12 a.m. PT.)