As a member of TLC, Left Eye was the rapping counterpoint to groupmates T-Boz and Chilli‘s smooth R&B and helped the celebrated trio amass total album sales in excess of 50 million to become the best-selling female group of all time.
Tragically, as the group prepared to release a fourth album, Left Eye died in a car accident while vacationing in Honduras. She was 30 years old.
In a bittersweet exclusive interview with Essence magazine, T-Boz and Chilli reflect on both their fallen sister and the group’s legacy, as 2012 also marks the 20-year anniversary of their debut album Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip.
“She died a day before my birthday. I remember everything,” T-Boz says about the day she found out about Left Eye’s deadly accident. “I was sitting in a rocking chair in my daughter’s room after putting her down when I got a call from Chilli. She was screaming. … I remember Lisa played a trick where she went missing and nobody knew where she was. This was the one time I wish she was joking and doing one of her stunts, but she wasn’t.”
The duo also touches on misconceptions about Left Eye (“[B]ecause she spoke her mind, all of the time, it caused people to misjudge her.“); the infighting that was rumored to be going on at the time of her passing (“At the time, she just didn’t agree with what the record company was doing … It had nothing personal to do with the group.“); and about the possibility of a new album and tour to commemorate two decades in the business (“Yes, that’s for sure!“).
“I loved that we never compromised our values when it came to the subject matter and what we talked about in our songs and how we represented ourselves as women,” Chilli said of the group’s legacy. “Starting out as young women, we didn’t care that people thought that we were a fad or if people thought we didn’t dress girly enough … We were able to accomplish that with three totally different girls, in a group.”
Read the interview in its entirety at Essence.com.