Appearance, Interview, Tribute

‘2 The Left’: Kerisse Hutchinson and Left Eye’s Sister on Her Tribute Play to Lisa

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Actress Kerisse Hutchinson alongside the sister of the late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes stopped by Good Day Atlanta to discuss the play “2 The Left: A Tribute to the Life of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes.

It premiered in Atlanta at the Synchronicity Theatre for a two-week, limited-engagement showcase.

The production ran from Aug. 1 to Aug. 11 and is an inspiring music-filled multimedia production written and performed by Kerisse Hutchinson.

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The play chronicles the life and spiritual journey of Atlanta rap icon Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, showing the challenges she encountered as she embarked on a journey to find her artistic voice and spiritual purpose.

We hope that the play will be re-run again for those who missed it the first time round.

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Appearance, Lifestyle, Review, Television

‘Girls Cruise’ Episode 5 – Chilli’s Vital TLC Bond with T-Boz and Finding Talent On The Cruise

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In the 5th instalment of ‘Girls Cruise’, the ladies are sailing across to the island of Tobago! However, to avoid the cabin fever, they need something fun to do while they are still at sea, so Lil’ Kim suggests they carry out Pretty Vee‘s idea of a talent show!

Chilli and B. Simone have a heart to heart in her bedroom. B. Simone reveals how grateful she is to have Chilli looking out for her. “Mama Chilli might not turn up with the drinks, and the partying, but she does turn up when she has to look out for somebody”, she admits.

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Chilli tells B. Simone that she loves her chemistry with Pretty Vee. B. Simone tells Chilli how much they get each other, both coming from social media, and there’s no jealousy, they support each other. “We were both nominated for a BET Social Award — I won it!”, B. Simone jests. She says she has a healthy competition with Pretty Vee.

Chilli touches on the balance within her own group TLC. “You know, in my group, everybody has their favorite TLC member for whatever reason. But, we never let that get into our head”, Chilli says. “Because I truly love her, and she truly loves me, and we want each other to win 100 percent. There is no competition as far as a jealous hearted kind.”

Chilli explains that the loss of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in 2002 brought her closer to T-Boz, her TLC sister. “Tionne and I, we have always been close. But we got closer, closer — especially after we lost our sister”. Chilli encourages B. Simone and Pretty  Vee to check in on each other to keep a strong, healthy friendship.

“Being in this business, as a woman — there’s always going to be some crap attached to that. The last place you need negativity is in your personal circle”, Chilli says.

Pretty Vee announces a Girls Cruise talent show to the crew. She pairs Mya with Tiffany, B. Simone with Char and herself with Lil’ Kim, with Chilli as the talent show judge. They spend the next couple of hours preparing their roles for the show.

Pretty Vee creates two comedy characters that will perform with Lil’ Kim — Hispanic Maria Sanchez the Jamaican gal Sharon. Mya and Tiffany went hard in rehearsals to stage a fashion dance off. B. Simone and Char were set to do a musical performance together.

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Tiffany and Mya were first in line, and surprised the crew with some fierce strutting and voguing, complete with two stunning swimsuits to steal the show.

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B. Simone and Char were next up with a freestyle, which didn’t go to plan as Char forgot his lines. B. Simone got frustrated with Char and stated that they didn’t have enough time to rehearse.

Chilli gives B. Simone some constructive criticism after she got frustrated with Char forgetting his lines. “When you are paired up like that, you guys are a team”, she tells the duo. “If someone messes up, you still go with the flow. You can’t show poor sportsmanship.”

Chilli is on fine form as the judge and demands the performers to get in line — no intermissions! Lil’ Kim and Pretty Vee throw down a comical rendition of Lil’ Kim’s smash, “Lighters Up“, with Kim on the drums.

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B. Simone and Char are given the opportunity to re-do their performance, as Char was nervous and Chilli insisted B. Simone should be more supportive towards her partner. He smashed out a beatbox and freestyle with B. Simone.

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Chilli makes the final winning decision and crowns Tiffany and Mya as the winners of the talent contest. “All glory to God, and Tiffany for doing the overtime in rehearsal”, Mya says. “Thank you to Mya for teaching me how to vogue”, Tiffany adds.

There’s only one way to end a talent show — a performance by the judge herself! “What she going to do, ‘Creep‘?”, Pretty Vee questions. “Not going to do ‘Creep’!”, Chilli replies, before instructing the musical director Rome to line up her track — “No Scrubs“! Chilli does a rendition of her TLC smash and parties with the rest of the crew.

The following morning, the crew arrive at their next destination — Tobago. They plan on bonding some more hanging out at Tobago’s ‘foundation  of youth‘ in the Nylon Pool. Mya gives Lil’ Kim a visit in her room for a chat.

Mya talks to Lil’ Kim about enjoying her performance with Tiffany for the talent show. “We just started rehearsing in my room”, Mya says. “It’s been a minute since I played around with my friends! I grew up around boys all the time”. Lil’ Kim relates as she was the only girl in her circle including Junior M.A.F.I.A.

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Mya reveals that this trip with the ladies is something she has needed for a long time. “It’s been a long, independent journey, but now I’m hanging out and spending good quality time with my own girlfriends. This is what I need in my life”.

B. Simone and Char take a moment together to reflect on their feelings towards Chilli. “I love her so much! If I could put the perfect mom in a box I’d put Chilli in a box!”, B. Simone exclaims. “She is a perfect, nurturing person. I didn’t grow up with my biological mom, I think that’s why I’m so attached to her.”

Rome announces to the crew that they have finally arrived at the Nylon Pool. Lil’ Kim tells the group that she wishes everyone would take this moment to truly open up to each other and release anything in their hearts using the circle of trust that they have all built together.

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Tiffany tells the group that she grew up in a poor neighborhood which affected her confidence as a child. Being around the girls has helped her realize that she belongs there with everyone and not to make herself smaller.

Chilli reveals that this trip is helping her work on being okay with not being in control with everything in her life. “I like being in control of my situation. I’m not a controlling person to others, but just for me and it’s stressful”, Chilli tells the circle. “Because of this trip I’ve grown a bit. I see that there’s always something to learn about yourself, something to improve all the time while you’re alive and well. So, just keep living!”.

Pretty Vee opens up about being bullied when she was a child. “It feels so scary to open up. Seeing everybody let loose and be emotional allowed me to do the same”, Vena says.

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“This right here is a reminder that you need to stay connected to people that you love”, Mya confesses. “There’s something about the environment that allowed me to let go. It was a reminder to stop for a second and enjoy balance and the beauty. Because this right here is life and don’t take it for granted.”

B. Simone reveals that she is taking the steps to find herself and gets emotional thinking about the absence of her mom. “Chilli you’ve really.. I did not have a mom growing up. When I call her Mama Chilli, I was like, do you care if I call you that? Because I really feel like that she is my mom! The bond I have with her is ridiculous”.

“This moment is a big deal”, Chilli admits. “This is not just for this trip, this is for life. We’re gonna be in each other’s lives for life.” B. Simone feels like God put each and every person on the trip for a good reason. “We’re all growing, I see it in all of us”.

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Tobago’s ‘fountain of youth’, the Nylon Pool

Lil’ Kim closes the reflections by revealing how she often feels lonely and under pressure to be the celebrity she is known for that she puts up a wall to always be in character. “I wear my emotions on my sleeves. When people don’t check in on me I feel like they don’t care”. The girls reassure her that she is not by herself.

The girls and Char have a group hug in the middle of the Nylon Pool and vow to cherish the bond they have formed and to remember where it all started.

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Don’t miss the next episode of ‘Girls Cruise’. Catch it every Monday night at 9/8c on VH1!

Episode 5

Appearance, Lifestyle, Review, Television

‘Girls Cruise’ Episode 4 – Mama Chilli To The Rescue On Her Birthday

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Every TLC fan out there knows that Miss Chilli Thomas does not like to celebrate her birthday. But being on the ultimate Girls Cruise on your birthday week isn’t the easiest way to avoid celebrating!

In the 4th episode of this wild and adventurous Caribbean cruise, the ladies continue their soul searching, bonding and pushing themselves to step out of their comfort zones!

“Chilli is queen of the day!”, Rome announces excitedly on the loud speakers to the rest of the crew on the yacht. Chilli takes a call from her son, Tron Austin, who reminds her that this is the first time she has been out of town on her birthday. But he reassures her that they can celebrate together when she returns home.

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Meanwhile, B. Simone gets to know Rakeem aka ‘Dreads’ a little better at the bar with some specially made cocktails from the barman. B. Simone eventually admits to him that she doesn’t know his real name!

Chilli knocks on Mya‘s door for a little girl talk in her bedroom. Chilli opens up to Mya about the reasons why she is so against celebrating her birthday. “I just don’t like the numbers! That’s all it is”, Chilli says.

“Let me take it all the way back”, Chilli adds. “I remember my early 20s, you’re so excited, you think you’re so grown. And then I remember when I hit 25, at that point it was just a countdown for me. I was like, ‘in 5 years I’ll be 30’. So the trip started then. And then when I hit 30, I was like, I’m done. I was like, I’m done with these numbers. I’m not celebrating anymore”.

Mya let’s Chilli know that she understands, although she believes in celebrating her age every year. “I believe in celebrating birthdays”, Mya tells the viewers. “I believe in celebrating life, no matter how old you get. Look, if I get older, and I’m celebrating my birthday, I’m celebrating the Chilli way, because I’m trying to look like that — forever!”

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Chilli reveals details of her special lunch date with Rome to Mya, telling her that he’s a sweet guy but she gave him a friendly push back, as she wasn’t on the trip to look for a date. “I haven’t known Rome long enough to know if he’s even Chilli’s type”, Mya confesses. “It’s not gonna fly if he’s not some black Jesus or something like that!”.

Mya later joins Tiffany on the deck for a catch up. It was the first time the two had some time alone together since the drama of Mya forgetting Tiffany’s name at the concert in Oistins. Mya questions Tiffany about her friendship with Lil’ Kim, and if she felt like she ever has to shrink her presence to let Kim shine.

“I have never had that thought in my head. I have never felt like that”, Tiffany insists, surprised to hear Mya’s views on her. “I’m a little taken back, because people in society pit women against each other. It’s almost like you can’t have a successful friend and have success yourself”, Tiffany says. “Kim and I have based our friendship on support, so I hope that this can be an example of what sisterhood is to Mya”.

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Mya seems unsure about Tiffany’s statement. “But, has she ever been around your circle?”, Mya asks. “Yeah. It’s like, I shine on my own, and I want my sister to shine on her own”, Tiffany replies. “Get your dreams! I call her mini Cleopatra. Break barriers! But sometimes people like to project, because I guess naturally in this business you have to be guarded — be prepared.”

The crew later get ready for Chilli’s birthday dinner. Chilli reveals to everybody that she is thankful for their friendship on the trip, as it has learned her to open up more and be relaxed around situations outside of her comfort zone.

Lil’ Kim then encourages everybody to open up about their insecurities. Mya admits that she has always missed having somebody to call and talk to. “It’s very important for us as women to stick together, because we need each other”, Mya says. “It’s so important that we uplift each other. It’s hard out here, to get through life alone. And we need that support system to uplift each other”.

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Pretty Vee reveals that she has been battling with depression, whilst Char admits that he battles with finding real friends after feeling used. Lil’ Kim talks about being controlled by her ex, the late Notorious B.I.G., and being lost when he passed away in 1997, as she had no direction without him. “I had to go to prison for a year — I grew, I matured, and I said, ‘God, I’m so sorry! I didn’t know I wasn’t listening like this!”.

Due to the stormy weather, Rome announces that the crew will be unable to leave the yacht tonight. So, they decide to get comfortable and spend the remainder of Chilli’s birthday chilling on the boat. However, in an instant, the rocky waters began making everybody feel sea sick!

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“It was like a domino effect — Vee, B, Mya”, Chilli says of the sickness taking over the crew. “We went from a birthday party to Mya and Vee passing out, Romey Rome can’t even stand up!”. Chilli offered her full support to everybody, nursing them with vital salts and some TLC!

“I had a good time celebrating my birthday, but now people are getting sick, and they need me”, Chilli says. “So, of course, I jump right back into Mama Chilli mode!”. “Kim wanted us to bond? This is the real deal!”, Tiffany exclaims.

The following day, the seas are calmer and the crew are recovered from their rough night of sickness. Chilli shares the moment with Tron on the phone. “When I tell you, the boat was like rocking and everybody got sea sick, except for me, Kim and Charles”.

B. Simone, who suffered the most vomiting that night, talks about her experience with Pretty Vee. “It hit me so quick after dinner. It was like eating and then getting on a rollercoaster. After I threw up three times, Chilli kept feeding me salt, bro”. B. Simone admitted that Chilli’s presence gave her some comfort, but she was still feeling queasy.

Lil’ Kim and Pretty Vee later have some time together in the gym and discuss how much they appreciate each other and being open to learning more about themselves through each other.

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B. Simone is greeted by Rakeem, who is checking on her to make sure she is feeling better. Rakeem takes on board her suggestions of wanting someone assertive, and invites her to join him on the jet skis, which she reluctantly agrees to.

After freaking out over the wild skiing with Rakeem, alledging that she can see sharks, B. Simone is saved by the Queen Bee! Lil’ Kim jumps on a jet ski and drives down to catch up with B. Simone. “Here comes captain slay-a-ho, and I’ve come to save a ho!”, Kim jests.

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Chilli then jumps into another jet ski with Pretty Vee and Mya at the wheel, as they head over to Kim and B. Simone, once again enjoying time outside of their comfort zones!

The ladies are now on track for their next destination — the tranquil scenes of Tobago for the world famous carnival season!

Don’t miss the next episode of ‘Girls Cruise’. Catch it every Monday night at 7/8c on VH1!

Episode 4

Announcement, Music, Review

Drake Releases TLC Cover On Latest Project ‘Care Package’

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“Said I got an email today, kinda thought that you forgot about me”. Emotionally charged lines from TLC‘s classic track “FanMail“. We definitely haven’t forgotten about one of the greatest highlights on their 1999 comeback album of the same name.

Nor have we forgotten that the futuristic, anthemic track was covered by the then up-and-coming Toronto singer/rapper Drake in 2010, in the form of “I Get Lonely“, for his mixtape, ‘It’s Never Enough’. Back then it was strictly only available on Soundcloud and various uploads on YouTube — until now.

Drake has decided to release a 17-song compilation of his previously unofficially released classics, titled ‘Care Package‘, giving an official platform for the songs to be purchased and streamed commercially. “Some of our most important moments together available in one place,” he stated in an Instagram post.

“I’m envious of friends of mine that have great committed relationships,” Drizzy told MTV in 2010, regarding his feelings towards the subject of feeling lonely. “When people call home to check on their girl or they say, ‘I’m not going to go out tonight. I’m just going to spend the night with my girl.’ That hits me, man. I just don’t have that. You could be lonely with a bunch of people around you.”

With everybody releasing ‘unreleased’ tracks on new projects from Drake to Nas (‘The Lost Tapes 2‘), let’s hope TLC can follow suit and drop an album of their greatest unreleased tracks, something fans are craving for, worldwide.

Check out Drake’s ‘Care Package’ below: