The beautiful Chilli was honored to accept the Variety 2023 Power of Women Legacy Award on behalf of TLC on April 4, 2023 in New York.
Her TLC sister, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins was unable to attend the event due to sinus infection she was still recovering from. Chilli joked that they do not like to share one award, so hopes the event provides them each with the prestigious award.
Chilli started off her acceptance speech for TLC’s Legacy Award by giving thanks to God for her talents. “When I say that he has been there for us — and still is — I’m just so thankful to him”, Chilli said. “You always want to be sure you’re doing what’s right — and we always should — but I just want to make sure that I’m being a good daughter to my Lord and Savior, that’s very important to me”.
Chilli then got emotional as she recalled some of the group’s hardest moments and their biggest triumphs as women of color in the music industry.
“When you are a woman of color, it’s real hard — it’s a huge struggle,” she told the audience. “I’ll always remember when ‘No Scrubs’ came out and it was actually our first number one entering in. I always wanted to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine…we didn’t get the cover. I won’t say who got it, it’s okay because he deserved it too but we also did. The message was ‘the last time we had someone Black on the cover, it didn’t really sell well.’” To clarify, the Rolling Stones cover went to Eminem that month.
She continued, “I have to say that just because you hear many ‘no’s’ does not mean that you don’t have the talent because you do — we never stopped believing in ourselves and each other.”
Chilli took a moment to give TLC’s long-term manager, Bill Diggins, his flowers for sticking around with the ladies through their highs and lows, since the loss of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in 2002. “Bill Diggins believed in us when we were on top of the world. And when everything happened — losing our sister — and no one believing in us anymore, thinking that it was over…he never felt like that, ever”, Chilli reveals.
Chilli vowed to “forever keep our sister Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes’ memory alive through everything that we do.” Whilst addressing the rumors that the group had been on the lookout for a replacement after their reality talent show, UPN’s ‘R U The Girl‘ in 2005, Chilli joked, “We never ever even thought about replacing her — even after she burned the house down…by the way it was an accident!”