Last night, VH1 premiered CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, the biopic of 90’s R&B/hip-hop group TLC. The movie showed the rise of three girls from Atlanta that started with them signing their record deal with LaFace Records in 1990, up to the death of member Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes who passed away as the result of a car crash in 2002.
The movie, which covered a lot of subject matter in two and a half hours wasn’t anything special. I have to be honest. A lot of hype went into the premier, and the film making did not match that hype. What it did do, however, was make people who followed the group feel nostalgic. It told the story of the girls, the music, and judging from my friends on Facebook, and the reaction on Twitter, I saw a lot of people reliving their TLC memories.
TLC is Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, and the aformentioned Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes. T-Boz was that deep voiced, almost masculine presence in the group. She sang with a distinct husky voice, and brought that flavor in their appearance. Chilli, was that R&B vibe. She was (and still is) sexy and had a beauty to her inside and out. Left-Eye was the rapper. She had that swag, that confidence, and no doubt she was the one that was behind their female empowerment movement that was key throughout their music. TLC as a trio was together for 12 years, and 4 albums (Ooh… On The TLC Tip, CrazySexyCool, FanMail, and 3D). The group was known for their hits Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, Baby-Baby-Baby, What About Your Friends, Creep, Red Light Special, No Scrubs, and a personal favorite of mine: Silly Ho. For real, I loved that Silly Ho record. That beat was crazy. Anyway, I digress.
The story of TLC is 3 women, who fought life, the music business, and won. All 3 women came from rough upbringings, where they were either fatherless, or in the case of Left-Eye struggling for her distant father’s approval. All of this led to these young women carrying baggage and trauma that would impact their careers.
TLC signed a horrible contract with LaFace Records who was founded by Kenneth “Babyface” Edwards and L.A. Reid. TLC, also had a management and production deal with Pebbitone who was headed by L.A. Reid’s wife, Peri “Pebbles” Reid. As part of their numerous and conflicting contracts, everything the group did made their way to the pockets of the Reid’s as well as Arista Records chairman Clive Davis.
This contract situation led to that moment at the 1996 Grammy Awards, where the group declared that they sold 10 million records and were broke. Who can’t remember Left-Eye’s breakdown of the situation to MTV News? I remember watching that as it happened, and feeling sorry for them. Imagine, I’m 14 years old and feeling sorry for a group that should have been on top of the world. Imagine that shit!
The music business chews up a lot of talent, and spits them back out. Few survive things like that, but that’s what made TLC’s story and CrazySexyCool, such a joy to watch. It’s that survival and that victory, even though it went through some tough times, and came to a premature end that made me nostalgic for what was. If you want to learn more about TLC, I suggest Wikipedia, and YouTube, but I got to commend the filmmakers, T-Boz and Chilli as the surving members of TLC, and VH1 on a job well done last night.
Before I close out this blog, I also would like to comment on the casting behind CrazySexyCool. I think they nailed it. Drew Sidora as T-Boz, Keke Palmer as Chilli, and the rapper Lil Mama as Left-Eye were inspired choices. Lil Mama in particular. Now, I’m biased here. Lil Mama is a Brooklyn girl, and a graduate of the same high school I attended (I’m several years older) but the girl best known for crashing Alicia Keys and Jay-Z MTV Awards performance did an excellent job. Drew Sidora deserves her spotlight too. Now, she’s a singer and while I admit to never hearing her on a record this is the second time I’ve seen her on TV (1st time was the comedy/drama The Game) and she has a sexy but low-key look to her. I like it and I want to see more of her. Soon.
That’s it. That’s all. I’m about to find a TLC station on Pandora, try to find my FanMail CD, and let myself feel all nostalgic for a minute. Thanks for reading and supporting www.7poundbag.com
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