Appearance, Lifestyle, Relationships, Television

‘Girls Cruise’ Episode 6: Trinidad Traditions, Loneliness and Proposals

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The ladies finally step foot down in Trinidad and love is in the air, as one of the crew members has a crush on Lil’ Kim. Meanwhile on episode 6, while competing for the number one spot, Tiffany decides to plot out a huge surprise for Kim that’s sure to raise a few eyebrows!

Following the last episode when the group broke barriers and bonded even closer in Tobago’s Nylon Pool, they are determined to step further in to their true selves, and live it up in Trinidad on the first day of carnival!

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Tiffany takes a call from her fiancè Adam and discuss a surprise they have in store for Kim. Tiffany states that she has been brainstorming the best way to ask Kim to be a big part of her wedding.

Pretty Vee works on a video blog discussing her past, recovering from the bullying she experienced in high school. Vena wants to open up about her struggles with depression and anxiety, in the hopes that it can help somebody else cope in the future.

Upon their arrival in Trinidad, and with 12 hours to go before the carnival begins, Rome, who is acting as their tour guide in his home town, decides that the girls must take part in the traditional limbo!

Rome introduces the crew to try some local street food. “We’re gonna have Doubles”, Rome tells the girls. Explaining what they were eating, he says “This is actually an Indian recipe that was brought here. They would fry flour and then add chick peas with curry and then probably add some vegetables.” It’s the number one street food in Trinidad and Tobago.

Rome announces that the group will need to be ready at 3am in the morning to take part in some traditional pre-carnival activities. Chilli smells something sweet in the air and heads over to get some natural sweets with the group. “Seeing Rome in his element is amazing”, Chilli says. “He’s like the president here in Trinidad”.

After trying some coconut jelly, Tobias casually escorts Kim away from the group to show her some jewellery and have some time alone with her, looking at the local shops. Kim stops for some of the locals to take photos with them. Kim admits that despite the fame, she often goes home feeling lonely as she doesn’t know who she can trust, so she’s grateful for this trip with her friends.

Tiffany confides in Char about the way she wants to propose Kim the offer of being her maid of honor for her wedding. “Instead of maid of honor or bridesmaid, I wanna ask her to be the Queen of honor, that is her nickname, but it will be so much fun”, Tiffany states. “I think it will be memorable to do it on this trip. I just need your help to plan it with me”.

Kim knocks on Chilli’s door, 8 hours before carnival, for some girl talk. Chilli let’s Kim know that she can see that Tobias the chef has a crush on her. Despite him being physically attractive, Kim makes it known she isn’t interested in him in that way. “Gotta have the whole package”, Kim insists.

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Chilli then speaks about Rome’s attempts to hit on her, along with a convincing Caribbean accent. “I really like him as a friend. He’s so cool and he’s cute, but I would totally never date him”, Chilli confesses. “He would drive me crazy! Because it’s like I say I don’t drink. [Mimics Rome] ‘Come on Chilli! One drink! One drink! Get you out of your comfort zone!’ I don’t drink, why would I have one drink with you?”

Chilli touches on why she is comfortable with being alone. “There are a lot of people that are so afraid of being alone, that they have got to have somebody there. But I feel like having the wrong person there is the worst type of loneliness”, Chilli admits. “With me being alone by choice, I feel like this is a very healthy place — and I love my healthy! But I love when people are true to their feelings”.

Pretty Vee states that she was inspired to be open after hanging out with Mya, who opened up to her about her own insecurities. Mya states that she understands Vena’s comedy comes from a place of pain, and that she is happy her friend is starting to open up more. “If you live your life trying to please everybody else, you’ll drive yourself crazy”, Mya advises.

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Mya is starting to question if she is a workaholic and whether she should start to give relationships a chance, after admitting she last had a date 8 years ago. ” I had to think for a minute. What do I want?”, Mya ponders. “I’m so protective of keeping my peace, I haven’t let anybody in yet. When you love yourself so much and fill yourself with the proper kind of love so you don’t search for it in somebody else”.

Chef Tobias surprises Kim in her room with a specially prepared hazelnut meringue and a little catch up. Kim is impressed that he addressed her by her middle name, Denise. “I would say Lil’ Kim is a little bit more reserved than Kimberley Denise Jones. But if you party with me you’re gonna get all sides — and if you piss me off you’ll get Kimmy Blanco!”.

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B. Simone and Pretty Vee talk during a meal together, as they get the message from Char about Tiffany’s plan to ask Kim to be her Queen of honor. Chilli later helps to get the ceremony prepared, laying out candles with the help of Rome, who admits he never used to be very romantic.

Chilli tells Rome about her concerns about the revealing traditional outfits she may be expected to wear at the carnival. “I’m a little nervous to see the outfit because those outfits are just skimpy! They look good. Beautiful, actually. But I can’t have my little booty out”, she says. Rome questions if she never wore risque outfits over the years onstage.

“You’ve never seen TLC in concert, clearly!”, Chilli replies. “We don’t dress like that. We’re very covered from the waist down. We show a little something at the top but that’s about it. That’s just our style. We’re like prissy tomboys”.

Rome reassures her that she will have nothing to worry about, as they will ensure she has something to cover up if she doesn’t want to show too much. “They say carnival kinda makes people act devilish — a HOT ratchet mess! I don’t do those things”, Chilli adds. “But we’ll see!”.

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Kim receives a special message delivered by Jamie to her bedroom. “Dear Kim, thank you for all that you do. Meet me at the top of the bell at the boat”, the message reads. Kim heads up and is greeted by Tiffany on her knees to propose to Kim. Kim excitedly accepts her Queen of honor proposal and they hug each other. The team then get together to celebrate.

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Don’t miss day one of the carnival when the girls really get turnt up! The next instalment of ‘Girls Cruise’ will air on September 2 on VH1 at 9/8c.

Episode 6

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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, Relationships, Television

Watch: ‘Girls Cruise’ Episode 3 – Mya Clashes With Lil’ Kim & Chilli Gets A Date Offer

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In the third instalment of the hit VH1 Caribbean cruise show, ‘Girls Cruise‘, the ladies face more adventures and a little dash of drama!

Following Mya‘s performance in Oistins in the last episode, with her apparently forgetting the name of Lil’ Kim‘s best friend, Tiffany Panhilason, tensions are still high over the situation as they leave Barbados, as they feel it was done deliberately.

Mya takes a call from her manager in her bedroom to discuss how the impromptu performance went. “When I finally got on stage, the power went out!”, she tells him. “And then, when I got to the end of the set, I introduced each person.”

“Because it’s Kim’s trip, I saved Tiffany, her best friend, for last, but it was taken the wrong way, like I had forgetten her name and throwing shade or something like that. So, there was this whole thing that kinda got really weird”.

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Meanwhile, Tiffany and Lil’ Kim have a heart to heart about the situation, where Tiffany admits that she felt singled out when she wasn’t named on the stage by Mya. “It makes you feel like you don’t belong”, Kim says.

In the kitchen, Rome admits to the guys that he feels a strong connection with Chilli, especially their dancing at the Oistins festival in Barbados. He decides to surprise her and brings her breakfast to her room instead of the chef.

Rome tells her he initially had the impression that she was a reserved person, but she opened up and had fun on that night, which impressed him. “I love to dance, the energy was great”, Chilli tells Rome. “There’s a time and a place for everything!”

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Suddenly, Rome steps things up a notch. “I would like you to go to lunch with me, a special lunch”, Rome announces to Chilli. “A special lunch?”, a very surprised Chilli questions. “What is a special lunch?”. “Just the two of us”, he replies. “Nothing out of the ordinary, we’re just going to sit and talk”. “What are we going to talk about”, Chilli laughs. “We’re talking right now!”

Chilli reluctantly agrees to the lunch date. “I see a lot of cute guys, but it has to be something magnetic”, Chilli admits. “I’m not one of those girls that waits for a guy I like to come and talk to me. I am very aggressive”. She concludes by confessing she isn’t sure how she feels about Rome yet.

B. Simone and Char hit the gym, where she talks about her feelings for ‘Dreads‘. Char assures her that he seems like a good guy, after speaking to him earlier in the day. The pair then open up about their past, and realize that they both have something in common, in the absence of their mothers.

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Meanwhile, Lil’ Kim greets the chef Tobias in the kitchen, but notices that he doesn’t seem himself. He reveals that his brother has just been released from prison. Kim tells him that she also spent time in prison so can relate with him. “When I went through that situation, I learned to value me, know my worth”, Kim says.

Chilli talks to her son Tron on the phone, and informs him about Rome offering her to go on a date on a ‘special lunch’. “I think it will be a good idea”, Tron says to his mom. “Maybe”, Chilli replies.

Rome joins Chilli for lunch. “When I first met you, I liked your energy”, Rome tells Chilli. “If I was to have a connection with anyone on this trip, it would be you from the jump”. Chilli’s laughs and tells him that she is a busy woman. “I just have so much going on with my career and just everything, I’m crazy busy” she tells him. “So, how long do I have to wait?”, Rome laughs. Chilli quickly pulls the brakes on the conversation and tells him, “we’re gonna keep hanging out, we’re gonna be friends”.

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Chilli questions if Rome even lived in the United States. “So, let’s just say if we were to date, hypothetically, how on earth would that work?”. Rome laughs just as his delivery of flowers for Chilli arrives.

Mya and Pretty Vee hit the gym and have some girl talk. Mya admits that she has lacked real sisterhood due to her childhood, growing up with brothers and being bullied in high school. “That type of experience made me isolated from females for such a long time”, Mya says.

The ladies meet in the dining room in the evening for a meal. “We’re missing two people, what’s going on?”, Chilli questions, noticing the absence of Kim and Tiffany. Lil’ Kim makes her grand entrance, shortly followed by Tiffany, who is wearing a hat with her name on it, to poke fun at Mya forgetting her name.

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“Really? This reminds me of when I was a kid”, Mya sighs. “I got teased a lot. So, I don’t find this as funny like everybody else does”. Mya explains to the table that she did not forget and that she just wanted Kim to introduce her best friend.

Lil’ Kim wasn’t taking kindly to being included into the situation. “With that being said, she still introduced Charly”, implying that they are both her friends so both should have been announced by Mya. “I just didn’t know how to introduce her”, Mya replies. “You still should have said her name”, Kim insists.

Mya says Lil’ Kim was the star and should have introduced her as the crowd want to hear from her, too. “She likes you a lot, she likes your music, you should have shouted her out, I don’t understand it, and I don’t like that, I hate that”, a frustrated Kim replies, before leaving the table abruptly.

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Tiffany and Char go to check on Kim. Mya later goes in to see if Kim is okay. “I’m not here to single out anybody, I’m not here to play anybody, that’s not in my character”, Mya tells Kim and Tiffany.

The other girls at the dinner table are growing concerned at the absence of Kim, Mya, Char and Tiffany. “They’ve been gone for a long time”, Chilli says. “I’m not going up there, though”.

Lil’ Kim decides to stage a fake fight with Mya to play a prank on the others downstairs. Mya and Kim storm downstairs screaming at each other. “Don’t ever talk to me like that, I’m from D.C.!”, Mya screams at Kim. “I’m from Brooklyn, bitch! What you wanna do?”, Kim screams back at Mya, in front of their shocked guests.

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Mya and Lil’ Kim get in each other’s faces at the table, forcing Chilli to jump in and hold Mya back, while Pretty Vee and B. Simone hold Kim. The two pranksters began laughing hysterically to let them know it was a joke. “That’s what ya’ll get for making all those crazy jokes”, Mya tells everyone.

“Kim was about to get pistols!”, B. Simone joked. “Alright ya’ll, seriously”, Chilli chimes in. “You got me good. You got me to my heart, girls!”. “Was you trying to pull me back to stop me from reaching to that glass?”, Mya asks. “I was about to get in trouble. I was like, no, no, this is not happening”, Chilli replies.

“I’m looking at Mama Chilli’s face, and I was feeling like we’re gonna get a beating after this! One day she’s gonna get us all in a room and scold us over this”, Kim admits. “I’m real happy that this fight was fake”, Chilli says. “Because I would have jumped right in! You see these guns? I pull them when out when I need to!”

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Lil’ Kim states that she is officially closing the book over the petty drama. “I would never let anything this pointless get between me and my girl Mya”, she says. “Trust me when I say, I ain’t letting anybody on this yacht sink”.

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

Archives, Interview, Relationships

TLC Open Up About Life, Death, Love & God (1995)

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An interview with TLC by Jamie Foster Brown & Lorenzo (March 1995)

Part 1: The Hotel Meeting

They’re baaack! After two troublesome years, the funky hip hoppers, TLC, have released their slamming new album, ‘CrazySexyCool’. The first single, “Creep”, went all the way to #1 on the pop charts!
Amid their phenomenal success, the girls have had their fair share of problems: Left Eye pleaded guilty on Dec 29 to one count of first degree arson. She is spending some time in a halfway house with five years probation, a $10,000 fine, and a must pay restitution to the firefighters injured during the incident.

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And, the group had serious management problems which resulted in major financial trouble. But that’s okay! These babies have bounced back stronger than ever under new management with some first rate producers.
I had two interviews with the group. The first appears in this issue. The second appears next month in the April issue. The first was in their hotel room over lunch, where my husband Lorenzo and I decided wanted to adopt them! When I met T-Boz later and reminded her, she said, “ya’ll don’t want us.” We know they’re bad babies, but they’re so cute! And smart.
T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli are truly entertaining… read on and they’ll “Creep” into your hearts, too.

Jamie: Do you think about death a lot? Are you afraid of it?

T-Boz: You know how you live everyday and sometimes take it for granted? When somebody close to me dies… not even really close, but somebody I know… if they die, it bothers me for like a week, I keep having dreams, because if you really think about it, it’s serious. It makes me straighten up for a while before I start taking life for granted again. It scares me when I think about me dying, but I know I’m gonna have to die.

So, if I do die, I don’t wanna die in no brutal way. I can’t even imagine going out like that. I’m like the last person to cry. Like, when they watch a movie and cry — I don’t cry. I laugh at stuff that’s brutal. I get a kick out of it. What made me cry — did ya’ll see Oprah when they talked about those little kids that killed those other little kids? That brought tears to my eyes. When that little white boy killed that 4-year old little boy, that’s the kind of stuff that gets to me. It hurt me so bad.

Jamie: What do you feel about death, Chilli?

Chilli: I think about it a lot. You know how you can meet somebody and it seems like you’ve known that person forever? And then you can meet somebody else — you don’t know if they’re good or bad — but your spirits just don’t mix together? I wonder, do we just keep coming back until we get it right? Things happen for a reason. Like, there’s a reason I cannot stand smoke. Not that it irritates me, I HATE it! What’s the real reason? I just try to go beyond and I rack my brain, because I can’t really figure it out.

Jamie: How can you go to clubs then?

Chilli: The only clubs I go to are the teen clubs. They don’t smoke, they don’t drink, I get home by 1:30 and I keep up on the latest dances. To me, this world we’re living in — we are in hell! This is not a Godly place. God has got his people — Satan got his people, too. I believe in a bad seed. I ain’t about to sit up there and if a little kid goes and kills all these people — they don’t understand what happened. I don’t believe a kid is just going to wake up and say, “Well, I’m going to kill”. I believe Satan has got demons that can possess people.

That stuff is real. People overlook stuff like that and the only time we get on our knees and holler, “Oh Jesus, help me”, is when it’s a crisis. You can go out at night, dressed up, get fly as I don’t know what, go out and sin, but you cannot get yourself up and have a decent conversation with yourself about life and God and Godly things. People don’t get excited about that. But, if you say, “Girl, let’s go to the mall, child, and spend some money”, it’s “okay, girl, I’m coming”.

T-Boz: That’s almost like a girl who goes out, has sex and says, “God, please don’t let me get pregnant”, and then goes out and does it again. So that’s just another part of sinning or just not being right. That’s like somebody who says they’re Christian, but doesn’t walk right. God truly knows who means what, who has faith and who doesn’t.

Jamie: You’re Seventh Day Adventist?

T-Boz: Saturday is Sabbath for me.

Jamie: Are you afraid of death, Left Eye?

Left Eye: I think I can handle my death better than somebody else’s.

Jamie: Really. You mean you can handle the thought of it?

Left Eye: Yeah. I think about it a lot. But it doesn’t really bother me. It’s like, “Damn! Gotta go one day — gotta go”. I think about what it’s gonna be like after I’m gone. Well, it’s not gonna hurt me — I’m gonna be gone. So, it ain’t really shit for me to handle. I think about the people around me who are gonna have to be left here after I’m gone.

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Lorenzo: How come you all think about death now? That’s strange for someone so young.

Left Eye: Sometimes I feel bad, and the only way to escape how I feel is to die. Sometimes I feel like I hope a car hits me or something can take me out of this mess and it won’t be my fault. I just get out of this shit and other f*ckers be like, “Oh well, too bad. Left Eye ain’t here, she died”.

*Someone comes in*

Left Eye: Can we get back to this death thing? I think about it. Those aren’t my final thoughts, cuz then I have thoughts after that. It’s like, “Nah, I can’t leave yet, cuz when I die I wanna be like Elvis”.

Lorenzo: How do you mean?

Left Eye: Reach my goals, reach my accomplishments, do what I got to do to help this person over here and get my family straight. I just can’t leave them. And then, when I die, no matter how it is, whether I do it on purpose or whether it just happens, I want people to remember me. I want people to talk about me.

Lorenzo: Do you want kids?

Left Eye: I don’t know. Monday I might. Tuesday I might not. My feelings change like the weather. Sometimes, I’m like, “Nah, the world is too messed up. I’m not gonna bring any children into it. I don’t want them to get caught up in the final days”.

Jamie: The final days when we get taken out of here?

Left Eye: Whatever the final day is. Not just the final days, but the shit that’s going around. But then, sometimes it’s like, “Yeah, I’m going to have kids”.

Chilli: It’s like a cycle. It keeps going, keeps going. When this world right here that we’re in… when it’s over — whenever it’s over, there might be another one. If you can think about it, it has to exist in some form. I want a husband who’s gonna love every single drop about me — shower me with love. And I want kids and I want to be together with this man til death do us part. I believe a man out there exists. I don’t know where he is, but I hope we find each other one day. I believe that years can go by and I can still wake up, look at my husband and still get butterflies.

Jamie: I have them.

Chilli: It does exist. You can’t rush. People get married for the wrong reasons. You got to know yourself first before you can get involved with somebody else and be like, “Okay, this is it, and we’re going to be together forever — you’re my husband.” Cuz a lot of the times, we don’t know who we are.

Jamie: The friendship part is important. Where did you grow up, T-Boz?

T-Boz: Des Moines!

Lorenzo: I don’t have an image of Des Moines. What’s it like?

T-Boz: I am from Des Moines and I will say it all day long, never deny where I’m from and proud of it, but Des Moines sucks. Atlanta is more country than the country itself!

Jamie: Where are you from, Left Eye?

Left Eye: Philly. I left Philly when I was three and returned when I was twelve.

Jamie: Where were you before?

Left Eye: My dad was in the service, so we lived in Kansas; came back to Philly; went to Panama, stayed about four years; then we moved to Jersey. My mom took us to Florida; then we went back to Philly.

Jamie: How come you love each other so much?

Left Eye: It’s like natural. The day we met — click.

Lorenzo: When did you meet?

Left Eye: ’91

T-Boz: Sometimes I forget because it seems like we met twenty years ago.

Lorenzo: Tell me, Lisa, when did you first start entertaining? Did you start in church or school when you were a kid?

Left Eye: I remember one year in school, I tried to be everything — drama club, choir, whatever. Whatever they were having, I tried to be in it. I remember when I was in junior high school, they had auditions for a talent show and me and my little creative behind tried to outdo everybody and just totally messed myself up.

Jamie: How?

Left Eye: I had a routine to this old song. I had a baton, I had my little dance step, I did some break dancing and I sang. And in this one song, I really messed it up. I was standing at the mic signing, and as soon as the break came on, I jumped on the floor like a snake, and I had my baton over here… and I grabbed the baton… and threw it up… and it went over there! The next day, they had a list placed in all of the hallways telling who made it, and my name was not on the list.

Jamie: We’re you ever a majorette?

Left Eye: No, man. I always started stuff, but I never finished it. I was one of those people who had the flags, but never made it to rehearsals.

Jamie: How old were you when you did this?

Left Eye: I was probably in the seventh grade, so 14?

Jamie: That’s some funny stuff. And you did all that by yourself?

Left Eye: Hm hmm.

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TLC in their hotel room (1995)

Lorenzo: Did you do any performing when you were four or five years old?

Left Eye: Oh, yeah. When I was about 4 or 5, me and my sister and brother — we went to Florida. My mom took us to Florida. We always did things together and I was the ringleader. We did shit like put a play together before my mom came home from work, and as soon as she walked in the door, it was like, “Sit down! We got a show for you!” and we would do the play from beginning to end. I don’t care if it was a musical, just a straight-up play, singing some songs — we always had a show to put on for my mom. Always, from when we little on up, we joined dance contests, and it was me and my sister. We were always partners.

Jamie: Is she older?

Left Eye: My sister is three years under me.

Jamie: What are your brother and sister doing now?

Left Eye: My brother is in college. My sister skipped out this semester, and she’s in some kind of Peace Corps or something.

Jamie: So, you’re not the oldest then?

Left Eye: Yeah, I am. My sister is three years under me.

Jamie: Chilli, what was your childhood like?

Chilli: My first words when I was a baby was, “I love you”. I couldn’t say it that good, but it’s like my mother’s mom used to call me a half-breed. Out of six kids, my mom was her first. She took everything out on my mother because my mom’s father broke her heart. So she didn’t like my mom. So it’s like my great-grandmother, who we called Big Mommy, raised me and my mom. So it’s like, because she didn’t get the love from her own mother, they showered me with love. So either I was going to be affectionate or I was not. And I am.

Lorenzo: Did you entertain people when you were little?

Chilli: I used to break dance. I was in this group called the Showcase Babydolls. You remember Cyndi Lauper? I did her song, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” in a talent show. I didn’t think I was gonna win. I had to do that with the Showcase Babydolls and I won. I learned to break dance and I got better than the girl who taught me. It was a trip. It seemed like everything in this business just came naturally for me. That’s why I feel like it’s my destiny because of how everything just fell into place, being in the right place at the right time.

Lorenzo: So, did you think you would become a star one day?

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Chilli shows Jamie some love (1995)

Chilli: I always wanted to be a star, but I  never tried to go out and do anything like that. I was signing in a church every day of my life. To this day, I sing and dance in the mirror. I can’t help it. It’s just something I just do. But my childhood was crazy because I was like surviving — trying to live — because the kids used to always try to beat me up.

Jamie: Why?

Chilli: You know how it is. You’re in the projects and I was always called the half-breed.

Jamie: Half white? Or half what?

Chilli: My father… all of his people are from India. I don’t really know them. I’m looking for my father. His name is Abdul Tahil Ali. And I’m not Muhammad Ali’s daughter! People keep asking me that! No kin to him. And I’m not light skinned. I got long hair, but I ain’t light skinned. Just wanted to clear that up.

Jamie: What’s wrong with being light skinned?

Chilli: I ain’t saying nothing is wrong with it! But why can’t you be brown skinned and get problems, too? You know how people stereotype everything. But anyway, that was just how I grew up. I was always fighting girls… and boys, too. I didn’t get no peace, honestly, until I went to high school. I was in the eighth grade and these girls were in the seventh grade, and they tried to spray mace on me. It was just really crazy. I’m still glad I went to college, though. I hate it that I didn’t finish, and it’s true that, when you stay out for a while, you say, “I’m gonna go back, I’m gonna go back”, and then you don’t even think about going back anymore.

Jamie: How long did you go to school?

Chilli: Two years.

Jamie: What did you study?

Chilli: Communication art. My minor was business management. I never really wanted to be out front like how we are now because I didn’t think it was ever possible to happen. I was like, “If I just could get behind the scenes”. I love fashion and wanted to be a fashion consultant or a buyer for a major department store for clothes. I love the runway. I love all that kind of stuff.

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T-Boz on the ‘Red Light Special’ video set (1995)

Lorenzo: T-Boz, what’s the first thing you ever did to entertain?

T-Boz: I was sitting there thinking about the stuff I did in my life and it’s funny. I did do a lot of little stuff. When I grew up, my mom was in this group in church called the Viduwells. I had to grow up being “little Gayle”. That’s my mom’s name, Gayle. Because my mom was the singer in church, it was like, “Come on, little Gayle. Sing your momma’s song!” And her song was, “Going Over Yonder”. My solo song church every Sunday would be, “Oh, Sinner, You’re Gonna Be Sorry!” (laughs). And on special days they would say, “Come on, little Gayle, you gotta do your momma’s song”, and pretend I was my momma. That was the cute thing in church.

But I didn’t keep up anything. I would start stuff and stop all the time. I had all kinds of interests in everything. I was in the Little Miss Black Des Moines pageant and I had to do this acting skit. My mom was so scared because the whole month, I wouldn’t practice in front of nobody. I think I’m still that way now. If you push me and say, “Let me see it”, I won’t do it until show time. I’d say, “No, I’m telling you mom. I’ve got it!”. She’d be like, “Go stand in the mirror and do it”. I was like, “Mom, don’t embarrass me”. That night, she was on pins and needles. But I did it. I got my trophy and stuff.

Jamie: You won?

T-Boz: I won. I forget what place, runner-up or something like that. This girl beat me. She was playing the violin. I couldn’t top that. So I did this little skit on personal appearances. I had to wear this little hat with freckles, like a little boy with suspenders. I was in stuff like modern dance classes. I was a majorette.

Lorenzo: Oh yeah?

T-Boz: Yeah. I was never a person that liked to audition because that wasn’t me. For some reason, I didn’t think I’d make it. I’d shy away from that. But if you say do something I thought I was good at, I’d be like, “Move out the way, honey. Okay?”

Jamie: Did you break dance, too?

T-Boz: No. But ya’ll… I was twelve, right? That was the only time I was limber. I ain’t never been that limber no more since then. I’d go to dance class. Ya’ll hear my knee pop? That’s why.

Jamie: So did you think you really wanted to be a performer?

T-Boz: I’d always see myself on stage with a microphone. That was my dream. In high school, they would say, “what do you see yourself doing in five years from now?” Some people would be lawyers and doctors, some people be dead. I would be, “Shit! Not me! I’m gonna be on TV, somewhere”. I never knew how it was going to happen. I used to tell my mom, “One day you’ll see me on a poster board somewhere. You’re going to see my face”. I wouldn’t talk about it to nobody but my family, cuz you’re friends be like, “Yeah, right”. And I knew I wasn’t meant to be in the back because, just like everyday life, I don’t like people telling me what to do on the job. I don’t like being under people, I don’t live happy like that.

So, when I got out of high school, I worked in hair salons, I modeled in hair shows — I just liked fashion. I was going to go to college in New York. I was going for fashion design, but I wanted to be the star. I was only going to take basic courses and go for two years to junior college, but meanwhile, try to be a star. It worked out, I’m glad I stayed in Atlanta. I finally got my dream, and really it doesn’t feel that it’s true.

Jamie: Why do you all feel that you got your dream?

Chilli: Everybody that’s chosen, to me, isn’t going to be level-headed. But those aren’t the ones that always stay at the top. This fame has not done anything to us. We are still down-to-earth. We are the most loving people that I know, honestly speaking. We’re so giving. You can get blessing from someone else and that’s still a blessing from God. When you’re put in a situation like we are — you take advantage of that and do for others, because if you do that, and it’s from the goodness of your heart, it’s gonna come back tenfold.

So that’s why I think we were chosen and we’ll be here for awhile, because we’re still the same TLC — silly, crazy girls who are never going to change. Good things… it has to come. It has to be our turn this time, because we didn’t get it the first time, and we’re still the same. We don’t have all of the little demons around us anymore, blocking all the good stuff that comes our way.

T-Boz: I still don’t understand why I’m here. I must be blessed, period.

Jamie: Why do you all think you haven’t had children? So many girls your age have.

T-Boz: For me, I’ve never been pregnant and I don’t believe in abortion, so I know if I’d gotten pregnant, I would’ve had my baby. My mom just told me yesterday, “I was the same age you are now and I had kids”. I said, “That just means you and me are different”. I want to be at the stage where everything is positive in my life — stable, have myself together — not so negative and chaotic.

That’s when I would want to bring a child into this world. I want to be able to do things in my life — be happy and bring the baby into the world right. A lot of people don’t realize, when you bring your child, unborn in your stomach, around a lot of negative stuff and negative people, it really affects your kid. And I’m not goinf to do that to my child.

Jamie: Lisa, do you think you were “chosen” to be a star?

Left Eye: I don’t know. To me, it’s like my job. Just like everybody else has a job. The reason that this in particular happens to be my job is because I put myself into it. I kept myself around entertainers. If I wasn’t in the show, I was making clothes for the show. If it wasn’t a spot for me to dance — I would do anything — and that was my love. Ever since I was little I kept myself in it. That’s all my thoughts were — I’m going to be an entertainer. It just happened that way. I took chances.

Jamie: A lot of kids feel that, but they don’t make it.

Left Eye: A lot of kids can’t say, “I’m gonna sew everybody’s outfit”. I was just very talented and I used all of my talents. I played the piano in church, I was just so much into being an entertainer and I didn’t know what I’d be doing — acting, singing, dancing, modeling — but I did everything and I lived in that. I might not have gotten the chance, but I think it was just meant to be because I can do too much shit.

Jamie: You cook,  too?

Left Eye: Yeah, throw down! Everything I do is a gift because nobody didn’t teach me how to do nothing.

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Left Eye in 1995

Jamie: Are you the most talented in your family?

Left Eye: My mom is very talented, but hers is like, she can draw, sew, design clothes. She does interior decorating. She’s very good at it. And my dad is musically inclined. My dad plays every instrument, from the harmonica to the drums, piano, saxophone…

Suddenly, TLC had to leave for a promotional event. We all planned to get together later and go to a movie. But TLC didn’t get back to their hotel until late at night. So, we planned another interview on another day. The second interview appears next month. That one is full of juicy stuff, like how Andre and Left Eye met, T-Boz talks about how she fought off two cars that tried to purposely force her off the road, and Chilli asks us to help her find her dad.