Written by | Ray Cornelius
Grammy-winning singer, actress, reality star and advocate Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins stopped through Atlanta this week as part of the promotional tour of her new book, A Sick Life: TLC and Me – Stories from On and Off the Stage.
The memoire chronicles her meteoric rise to superstardom in the early 90s as a member of one of the best-selling girl groups of all time—TLC. It also gives readers and fans a behind-the-scenes account of her personal struggle with sickle-cell disease and how it has impacted her life and musical career throughout the years.
Watkins participated in a very intimate conversation with former LaFace Records marketing executive and good friend Shanti Das. She worked very closely with label founders—L.A. Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds—on developing promotional campaigns for the group as well as Usher, Outkast and Toni Braxton during their formative years. Das even traveled with TLC during their hugely successful “CrazySexyCool Tour” in 1995. The event took place at the Woodruff Art Center’s Rich Auditorium and was packed with TLC fans and music enthusiasts.
Check out a few highlights below:
On creating dance moves for the songs “Creep” and “Waterfalls”
“It started when Devyne Stephens told me what a real choreographer was. He said it’s not a person that learns a dance and teaches it to others but it’s a person who creates a dance and makes the world follow. So that’s how I came up with dances for ‘Creep,’ ‘What about your Friends’ and ‘Waterfalls.'”
On the impact of her song, “Unpretty”
“I happen to be watching Ricki Lake and there was a segment about how women were being disrespected by their men. So I was like, I’m going to create a word and write a poem and it’s gonna be called Unpretty because society has a way of making us all feel like we’re not going enough to fit in. I felt like we’ve all been through some stuff and we can all relate to that song. I just didn’t realize the impact it would really have and how big the song would really be.”
On having a premonition about Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ death
“I was on my way to a birthday party in my Porsche when I told my security, Dave, that I needed him to take me all the way back home. I felt like I was going to be in an wreck and if I got in a wreck with my Hummer, it wouldn’t kill me but they would smash up this Porsche. So I made him drive an hour and a half back home to switch out my car and that was exactly the moment that she [Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes] had died. Crazy right?
Check out more photos below and click here to get your copy of her book:
Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Shanti Das
T-Boz signed books following the conversation
T-Boz greeted fans all the way from London, England
T-Boz signing the book of Ian Burke, who helped discovered the group TLC
TLC fan Shanterrie Martin holding her copy of Sick Life
Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com