BY: SUSAN JOHNES
Although April 25th marks 15 years since the death of one of R&B’s biggest characters, her legacy still lives on through the people she knew and the many more souls that grew up with her music. The outspoken heroine from the R&B group, TLC died in 2002, aged 30, during a trip to Honduras.
She was driving to Sambo Creek with her band. Unfortunately, Lisa lost control of her Jeep, and it rolled off the highway.
Thousands of fans attended her funeral in Georgia including famous celebrities such as Alicia Keys, Usher, and Missy Elliott.
After Lisa’s death, T-Boz and Chilli announced that they would finish the fourth album which they had already begun recording. They vowed never replace Lisa with another third member.
Lisa was best known for being the third member of the TLC group TLC which consisted of Tionne “T-Boz,” Watkins, and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas. She wrote many rap verses for several R&B/Hip-Hop songs which provided a rap hook to the TLC songs.
Lisa’s fans regard her as the foundation of TLC who jacked the pop charts with a blend of soul and rap that preached safe sex and self-reliance.
TLC has remained the most successful girl group in history after selling more than 21 million copies of their three albums including the “1994’s CrazySexyCool” and “1999’s Fanmail.”
Lisa was more than a rapper. She had co-written songs such as “Waterfalls” and “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” which occasionally drew the storyboards for their award-winning videos.
TLC was one of the few R&B groups to build a strong identity out of its initial success and successive record. In particular, the Crazy Sexy Cool album had more than 11 million sales, and Fanmail had 6 million sales, both of which won two Grammys.
Furthermore, TLC helped to set the standard for contemporary R&B. It received accreditation for paving the way for groups like Destiny’s Child, due to their image of portraying an independent woman.
Lisa’s life was drastically cut short when she had just begun exposing her unique talent. She used to speak honestly with perspective and humor about her life.
Her background traces back to May 27th, 1971, in the Logan section of North Philadelphia. She was the first daughter of Ron, an Army staff sergeant, and Wanda, a seamstress.
Lisa had an unusual childhood. Her father, who was an amateur musician, held to a high standard of achievement. In 1990, she moved to Atlanta, and within a year, she had joined TLC.