Interview, Lifestyle, News, Radio

T-Boz: “Police Pulled Me Over Just For Driving A Nice Car!”

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Earlier this month, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins took some time out to speak with the hit travel podcast, ‘All The S**t I’ve Learned Abroad‘, with Steph Paige and Andrea Gillis about her travel experiences and opens up about her thoughts and feelings on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Tionne can completely relate to the loss of George Floyd, who was tragically murdered in broad daylight by police last month, as her cousin Eddie Russell Jr was also killed when he was shot by Illinois police in September 2017, despite informing them that he suffered with a mental illness to deter them from using unjust force.

“The only difference with racism [today] is that it’s being taped now. There’s still people doing modern day lynching, and that’s what you’re seeing when you see cases like Ahmaud Aubury and George Floyd”, Tionne says. “I’ve looked up all of these cases — my cousin was actually one of them that was gunned down with AR-15’s and shot 18 times. They blew his jaw off and the back of his head, and he was mentally ill. They told my cousin to call her son out and they gunned him down as soon as he came out of that garage”.

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Tionne’s cousin Eddie Russell Jr

In the midst of these constant tragedies against black people, Tionne is pleased to see that the Black Lives Matter movement is also being supported by non-black people, who aren’t afraid to use their voices to help to make a change. “I’m looking at all of these races come together to fight for the same thing. Even caucasian people are saying they’re tired of black people being murdered by white cops”, Tionne says. “It broke my heart the other day when Ashton Kutcher almost started crying because his white friends kept saying ‘all lives matter’, and he said no, black lives DO matter.”

Tionne also addresses the fact that a lot of the looting and vandalism isn’t always carried out by black people. With that said, although she doesn’t agree with the looting, she does understand why it happens sometimes. “It might not be right, but I understand it. I might not like it, because I’ve been robbed before when I had my store [Chase’s Closet], but I understand why they’re doing it”, Tionne exclaims.

One of the saddest realities of living in an unjust world as a black person is reassuring the younger generation that they shouldn’t be afraid of all police. Tionne mentions how her children, daughter Chase Rolison and her four year old son, Chance, become very frightened of the police, especially with so much coverage on the brutality against the black community. “It’s a shame that when police are around my daughter she gets nervous, and when I ask her what’s wrong she says it’s because she’s black. My kids shouldn’t have to feel that way”, Tionne explains. “Being black, period, you have to have a different conversation with your child that you don’t really want to have”.

Tionne's children Chase and Chance
Tionne’s children Chase and Chance

Tionne reveals that she was also pulled over by the police just for being a black woman driving a nice car. “I’ve been pinned down with 10 cops and guns at my head. My car light had a short in it, so I pulled over and flicked it on and off, and they said I was doing a gang initiation. They had 10 cops lay me out on the car, pat me down with guns to my head. What if someone’s finger had slipped?”, Tionne says.

In another occasion, while Tionne was 6 and a half months pregnant, driving her Porsche on the way back from recording at DARP studios for a TLC record, when she was once again ambushed by police unnecessarily. “He pulls me over and asks what I’m doing in this neighbourhood and ‘you better recite your address, say it fast and you better not stutter!’. Then he asks me how can I afford this car. But I have to take it because he has a gun and I don’t and I’m being disrespected about something I haven’t done, because of his ignorant issues about the world. When the cops found out who I was, he just threw my licence at me and said that I could go”.

TLC in 1999
TLC in 1999

Addressing racial prejudice within the music industry, Tionne vents her frustrations on her group TLC being labelled as an R&B group just because they are black, despite producing pop music. “Predominantly, TLC release universal music. Our music fits every genre — except a country song, but I want to!”, Tionne confesses. “But mostly pop — “No Scrubs” is pop, “Waterfalls” is pop, “Unpretty” is pop. But when you’re black, and do a pop song, they still call it R&B — I’m not just an R&B group, don’t box me in just because of my colour. We have different fights within the industry where if you’re black you get paid less than the white groups.”

To hear more about Tionne’s revelations and experiences, including incidents in Paris and South Africa whilst travelling, and why she wants to visit Bora Bora, check out the full episode below!

Be sure to subscribe to the “All The S**t I’ve Learned Abroad” podcast on Spotify.

History, Interview, News

Jermaine Dupri: “Xscape Sang Low On First Single To Sound Like TLC”

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In the second episode of T.I.‘s ExpidiTIously with Jermaine Dupri (April 9), he reminisces about the early days of his career and how he first became to work with Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, whom he met through his close friend Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, who was sleeping in his closet at the time.

The girls were in a girl group — but it wasn’t the TLC we currently know and love. T-Boz and Left Eye were in another group, calling themselves Second Nature. “I started cutting songs with ‘TL’ in my house, way before L.A. and Babyface came onto the scene”, Jermaine recalls.

“I was writing R&B songs for them, and they were like, ‘okay, let’s do it’. So, I wrote these songs for ‘TL’ and one was called “I Got It Goin’ On“, he continues. “The way I was singing on the demo, I said I want you to sing it like this. Tionne was like ‘that’s low, don’t nobody wanna hear me sing like that, they wanna hear me sang’.”

“I was like ‘nah, you’ve gotta be cool. You’ve gotta sing down here where I’m at. You hear where I’m at?'”, Jermaine said. “So, Tionne started mimicking my demo, and that’s how she got that T-Boz sound that people know of today “.

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TLC as 2nd Nature in 1990

Before TLC signed a record deal with LaFace Records, Left Eye called Jermaine to tell him about a meeting she had scheduled with Pebbles. “She said ‘JD, we’re having this meeting with Pebbles, should I take the meeting?’ I could have told her don’t go.”, he recalls. “But I didn’t have a label or an outlet to tell her to say no at the time. I couldn’t replace the opportunity. So I told her to go to the meeting, because if you get signed I’m going to do the songs. So, I was thinking as a producer as opposed to the CEO of a record company. I was thinking if they get a deal bigger than I had, then I can produce on these bigger records. So, I encouraged her to have this meeting with Pebbles, and basically said I’m caught up with Kris Kross, I don’t have the means to do both.”

Jermaine points out that if he had signed TLC at the time when he had the opportunity, it would have been a slightly different TLC with a former member instead of Chilli. “The C at that time was a girl named Crystal, who was the girlfriend of Headliner, a DJ from the group Arrested Development, another one of Ian Burke‘s groups, which is how Crystal got in the group. I don’t know what happened in that meeting with Pebbles, but she got rid of Crystal and added a girl she knew, which was Chilli, and introduced them to L.A. and Babyface.”

He is grateful for how TLC have always had his back throughout their career, never forgetting where they came from and keep him involved in their projects. He said, “I did the “Hat 2 Da Back” remix, which is the version that came out, and a couple of songs on ‘CrazySexyCool‘ including the intro with Phife Dogg, rest in peace. But they always kept me in the mix, they really remembered and never acted like that shit came from somewhere else, they remember how it started. So I was cool; I’ve got TLC. I’ve got Kris Kross. I’ve got Xscape”.

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T-Boz with Jermaine Dupri on the video set to TLC “Baby-Baby-Baby” in 1992

Jermaine mostly wrote his R&B songs with a low register in mind based on the T-Boz sound. “I was making these records with Tionne and she was singing low, so that’s all I knew when it came to R&B, as far as me writing it”, Jermaine explains. This sound went on to influence Xscape, the first group he signed to his So So Def label.

Although Xscape already had cemented their sound with LaTocha Scott as the lead singer, Jermaine wanted to inject some songs with a low register lead vocal like TLC. He presented the track, “Just Kickin’ It” to the girls, which was also the debut single for the group. However, it featured Kandi Burruss on the lead vocal, as Jermaine felt she had the lower register that LaTocha couldn’t achieve. “I had LaTocha sing on it but it didn’t sound right for what I wanted”, he admits.

Jermaine notes he feels that his influence on changing the original vocal dynamics of Xscape led to their problems with each other later on in group, which ended with the original line-up of the group going on a lengthy hiatus for 18 years before reuniting to go on tour in 2017.

“I was against them being just another En Vogue, there needs to be an edge to it than just four girls singing, all of them need to sing” Jermaine explains. “If “Just Kickin’ It” wasn’t successful, Kandi probably wouldn’t have been lead on the second album. If people liked her singing on lead, then okay”.

Do you think Kandi and T-Boz sound alike vocally? Would a TLC and Xscape collab be good? 

Catch up on the first part of the JD interview here

Appearance, Review, Television

T-Boz Reprises Her Role As Sheila On Days With A Secret Baby… But Who’s The Daddy?

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Tionne Watkins, Lamon Archey “Days of our Lives” Set NBC Studios Burbank 09/17/19 © XJJohnson/jpistudios.com 310-657-9661 Episode # 13820 U.S.Airdate 04/01/20

So the rumors were true, TionneT-Boz” Watkins did indeed return to her role as Sheila Watkins on the hit NBC soap Days Of Our Lives! We teased her return back in November 2019, which left fans of her character excited to have her back in Salem.

On this return, Sheila has a major announcement to make — she had a baby in her time away from Salem, and needs help to find the baby, which has been kidnapped. She needs her baby daddy to give her that help — so turns up at the door of Eli Grant (Lamon Archey)!

Eli is shocked to see Sheila back in town, and even more shocked to learn that she is claiming he is the father to her baby daughter. Lani Price (Sal Stowers) is also shocked, before Eli admits that it is a possibility as he had a one night stand with Sheila before she left town.

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Eli makes some calls to his friends at the FBI and learns about a baby smuggling ring in Salem, which his new baby could have been a victim of. Meanwhile, we learn that Leo has arranged to have the baby snatched and attempts to sell her to Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith) and Will Horton (Chandler Massey). Ben Weston (Robert Scott Wilson) appears at the Kiriakis mansion with a little baby girl of color. He didn’t know the package would be a baby.

Sheila bursts into the room with Eli to rescue her baby and confront Leo for his actions. “Man, I can’t believe your bitch ass is behind this. And I thought the two of us were tight”, Sheila screams. Leo claims he didn’t know this was Sheila’s baby. Sheila continues, “But the only reason you dragged me to drag queen bingo is so you could kidnap my baby. And I lost 40 bucks. Don’t ever come near us again.” She and Eli leave with their baby.

Episode # 13820

Sheila and Eli break the news to Lani to announce they wish to be together to allow their baby daughter to have both parents together.

Lani detects something isn’t right about Sheila’s story, insisting they carry out a paternity test. Sheila quickly admits she lied and is immediately greeted by her new husband, Dr. Daniel Jonas (Shawn Christian), the allegedly deceased son of Maggie Kiriakis. He claims that Sheila was pregnant before they met, leaving questions about who the father really was if it wasn’t Eli or Daniel.

They are then greeted by Lani’s father, Abe Carver (James Reynolds). Sheila quickly informs him that he indeed is the father to her child, and that he was conceived on her last day in Salem after his 2019 Mayoral Debate. “Come a say hi to your new daughter, Baby Sheila“, Sheila gushes. Abe is left speechless.

Episode # 13820

This all sounds too good to be true, right? Well, we fast forward to the final scene of the episode which aired on April 1st. Sonny walks in to find Leo in bed with his husband, which ends with Leo saying “April Fools!” to the camera!

That’s right, this unrealistic episode was a one off prank made for April Fools Day on April 1st. This also means that won’t be seeing Sheila return for a quite a while. However, stranger things have happened. Let’s hope she makes a genuine return to the show soon.

Announcement, Appearance, Interview, News, Television

Chilli Promotes TLC Concert On British Television While T-Boz Issues Statement Against False Information About Left Eye

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The UK were blessed with a surprise dose of TLC this week!

Chilli made an exclusive and debut appearance on the British breakfast television show, Good Morning Britain, on January 24, 2020 to talk everything TLC and to promote their upcoming show in London this summer on the 25th anniversary of their best-selling album, ‘CrazySexyCool‘.

T-Boz was unable to join her in the interview, which was a live satellite transmission from their studio in Los Angeles, as she had to take her daughter, Chase Rolison, to the hospital. So, Chilli held it down for her sister on her own.

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Chilli talked to hosts Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway about everything, from what she thinks about her UK fans and the weather, to how the ground-breaking hit “Waterfalls” was created and continuing the group to honor Left Eye.

She explained how they came up with the iconic dance to accompany the major hit. “It was born from a dance called the Bankhead Bounce, but we had to slow it down for “Waterfalls”, and put a little lean to it”, she told the presenters.

Chilli said it was a blessing that TLC’s music has stood the test of time and continues to sound as fresh today as it was back in the day. “When you’re in the studio working, you hope and you pray that you have timeless music. You don’t know at the time, so only time can tell you. It’s been a lot of years later and people still love the song. I think the lyrical content is what people can relate to and understand, so that helps, too”.

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TLC at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1999

When asked about whether they have ever been asked to hire a new 3rd member to replace Left Eye, Chilli reassures us that no member of TLC can ever be replaced, implying that people are finally understanding that fact, after continuing to tour as a duo with T-Boz over the years, keeping Lisa’s legacy alive and never muting her raps.

Chilli was surprised by Kate Garraway questioning her about Left Eye taking a day release from ‘prison’ to record for “CrazySexyCool”.

In 1994, Lisa was sentenced to five years probation at a diversion center after she set fire to her ex-boyfriend Andre Rison‘s trainers and subsequently burned down their home.

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TLC perfoming in 2019

Clearly astounded by Kate’s line of questioning, a perplexed Chilli asked: ‘Did you say prison?’

She then asked: ‘Jail?’ before simply laughing at Kate and brushed off the subject completely.

However, she did add: ‘We weren’t able to record at the same time, but she was very much a part of that.’

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T-Boz, who saw the interview later on, was also disappointed in Kate’s questioning, and took to her Twitter to make a statement. “It’s quite disappointing that Kate Garraway of Good Morning Britain decided to bait Chilli (who handled it very well) by disrespecting Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in the midst of spreading false information during an interview.

T-Boz went on to school Kate on the facts of the subject she was trying to refer to during the interview. “Lisa was in a diversion center not “Prison” and that is completely unacceptable. It’s CLEAR Kate didn’t do her homework and stood by her preposterous statement. Sadly, Chilli never got a chance to promote our June 29th upcoming show at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire which was the point of the interview.”

GMB viewers were quick to pick up on the tension, as they took to Twitter to comment on the exchange.

 

#Ooops! “Did you say prison?” I don’t think Kate was supposed to go there. #GMB’ wrote one viewer.

While another remarked: ‘How to screw up an interview 101. Well done Kate #TLC #GMB.’

With a third tickled person simply adding: ‘That’s a no then.’

Tickets to TLC’s one-off show in London this summer at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on June 29 are still on sale. Get your tickets HERE