Fans flooded Twitter on Wednesday with remembrances of TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, exactly 10 years after her April 25 death in a car wreck in Roma, Honduras.
The same day, TMZ.com reported that TLC’s 2012 reunion tour may include a hologram version of Left Eye, a la the Tupac hologram that lit up Cochella almost two weeks ago.
A decade after her death, Left Eye’s former group mates still ache over losing her. Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins said in a statement, “The word anniversary means a celebration. For us her death will never be a celebration, it’s still something that hurts.” Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas added, “Lisa is our sister. You never get over losing a family member. We love her and we miss her and that isn’t ever going to change.”
On Wednesday, Chilli tweeted a word of thanks to fans for remembering her and T-Boz’s close friend, writing, “Thank u all so much for ur kind words…and thank u for always remembering our sister, ‘Lisa Left Eye Lopes’ TLC is 4eva!!!!!”
Left Eye, who was 30 at the time of her passing, had made Honduras her second home, and was there working to establish a non-profit educational and medical facility on property she owned there. That’s according to the Lisa Lopes Foundation, which promises on its website “to make Lisa’s dream a reality” and carry out her mission to care for impoverished youth.
Well before she became a philanthropist, Left Eye broke onto the 90s music scene as one-third of the trio TLC. She quickly established herself as the zaniest member of the group, which was known then for its affinity for bright colors and oversized clothes. But while Chilli and T-Boz encouraged safe sex by pinning wrapped condoms to their crayon-colored apparel, Left Eye kicked it up a notch, attaching a condom to the left eye of her glasses.
By the time TLC’s “Crazy, Sexy, Cool” album hit shelves in 1994, Left Eye had been pegged as the “crazy” element in the trio. Her attention-grabbing personality was not limited to the stage. Also in 1994, Left Eye reportedly set fire to the home of her then-boyfriend, NFL player Andre Rison.
Left Eye was sentenced to probation and a fine, and she and Rison eventually reconciled. She later said in interviews that her intention had not been to burn down his home, but instead to destroy his sneakers, which she had thrown in an empty bathtub and set on fire after the couple had an argument.
TLC went on to deliver another successful album, 1999′s “FanMail,” but behind the scenes there was friction between the women. Their rivalry went public when Left Eye issued a challenge via Entertainment Weekly that invited Chilli and T-Boz to craft solo albums and allow fans to decide who in the crew was the most talented.
That competition never happened, but in 2001 Left Eye did release a solo album, Supernova, in the UK. Before recording began for TLC’s final album, 3D, Chilli and T-Boz were pulling away from Left Eye, both personally and professionally.
Left Eye was contemplating leaving TLC and had already begun making her second album when tragedy struck. She was shooting a documentary in Honduras when cameras following her in her new phase of life captured footage of the crash that ended her life.
Formed in 1991, TLC marks its 20th anniversary this year. To recognize that milestone, Chilli and T-Boz are executive-producing a biopic on the group’s rise to fame, which, Chilli said in statement, “…is truly a dream come true for us.”
Beyond the tour and film, TLC’s surviving members have plans to roll out an album featuring new material and remixes of the group’s previous hits to highlight their 20th anniversary.