Crazy, sexy and cool are only three words to describe the dynamic personalities that made the hip-hop girl group TLC — and the tumultuous story behind the talented trio came to life Monday night in a brand new biopic which aired on VH1.
Keke Palmer (as Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, Drew Sidora (as Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins) and Lil Mama (as the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes) accurately impersonate the performers who captured millions of hearts during their rise to fame in the ’90s.
With hit singles like “Waterfalls” and “No Scrubs,” TLC won over millions of fans with their edgy style, fun spirit and infectious personalities.
However, although they attained chart dominance relatively quickly, the group experienced some troubling times along the way.
From facing financial woes to T-Boz’s battle with sickle cell anemia, their struggles only mounted along with their success. For instance, Chilli fell in love with music producer Dallas Austin (played by Evan Ross) and later had an abortion after choosing to pursue her career.
The film also recreates Left Eye’s failed relationship with football player Andre Rison in scenes which brought back memories of the late rapper’s antics for fans on social media.
However, the scene that recaptured Left Eye’s tragic death left some on Twitter disappointed as what many expected to be one of the film’s most emotional moments instead received critiques that it was rushed and anti-climatic.
“That…felt…so…incomplete,” one popular blogger, Luvvie, tweeted.
Lil Mama’s performance as Left Eye is arguably the most impressive of the three leads. Aside from the physical resemblance, the former host of America’s Best Dance Crew shocked fans with her spot-on characterization of the feisty, outspoken member of the group.
“She totally came into character,” Chilli said of Lil Mama, according to the Associated Press. “It was kind of scary. The resemblance was just crazy at times. Naturally, she kind of had some of the similar characteristics like Lisa. It was kind of eerie at times for us.”
Fans largely agreed with Chilli’s assessment.
Chilli and T-Boz, who were executive producers of the show, admit that it was difficult to compress their decade-long journey into a 2-hour movie.
“We did want more stories in there,” Chilli confessed to theGrio. “The Temptations was like that. There were so many stories that we couldn’t tell. The hardest part was narrowing down, being able to tell the complete story and add the right scenes to tell that story.”
The movie has received mixed reviews from critics. For example, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote:
“TLC was one of the most innovative pop groups of the 1990s, a modern, forward-looking hybrid with several multiplatinum albums and Grammys to its name. But ‘CrazySexyCool’ … pinballs from one eruption to the next, giving over disproportionate time to the group’s myriad financial squabbles with its label and management. That leaves barely any time for accolades, a shame for a group that received and deserved many.”
But the film, which was shot in only 28 days, was wildly popular on Twitter. Here is what some fans told theGrio:
— ♥~Superstar Nic~♥ (@superstarnic23) October 22, 2013
@thegrio Best Selling Girl Group of all time it was well deserved and the classiness that 90's RB had
— Regina Renee Blount (@25Blount) October 22, 2013
— André St. Clair (@AndreStClair) October 22, 2013
@theGrio Awesome!! Emmy material
— Sonya Carson Devaux (@heavenzmelody) October 22, 2013
@theGrio Yes, they captured so many of the TLC memories. Great cast, great job!
— Phrozensolid06 (@Phrozensolid06) October 22, 2013
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Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works