Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez was as well known in the ’90s for her outlandish fashion sense (condom eyepatch, anyone?) and violent temper (she burned down her boyfriend’s house after an argument) as she was for her musical ability, but she did have talent, and I think it got overshadowed a bit by her antics. When she died in a car accident in Honduras in 2002, she left the music world in shock and a lasting influence on people who would eventually get into the business.
R&B singer Monica says she was only 12 when she first met Left Eye, but she received some very valuable advice from her that has resonated through the years.
Left Eye had some famous conflict with her bandmates before her death, challenging them to a contest between solo albums because she said she wanted her talent to be known. Apparently she felt she wasn’t being given enough creative credit, an issue that was especially heated after her rap was taken out of the single version of “No Scrubs”, one of the group’s most popular hits. Chili and T-Boz fired back, saying, ”We think it’d be best to paraphrase the great poet Iyanla Vanzant…. ‘At a time when unity is so desperately needed it is significantly lacking…. Unity does not mean we will all believe in or do the same things. It means we will agree to do something without battling over how and why.”’
But in the wake of Left Eye’s death, the remaining members of TLC put aside any hard feelings they may have had and banded together to pay tribute to her on MTV.
Yesterday, on the tenth anniversary of her death, TLC announced a new tour which will incorporate Left Eye through archived footage. Perhaps inspired by the Tupac hologram at Coachella this year, the group says they will have Left Eye singing with them while her image is projected onto a giant screen.
The tour is scheduled in five major U.S. cities already and more will be added.
I couldn’t resist adding in the video for “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg”, which I believe was the first song I ever heard from the group; I immediately rushed out to buy the single (on cassette tape, kids. On a cassette tape).