TLC Forever is a documentary that tells the story of the legendary music group TLC, a journey that spans over 30 years. The film, which took around 2½ years to create, offers an intimate look into the triumphs and tragedies of the trio as they crafted nine Top 10 hits. Songs like “Unpretty” and “No Scrubs” dominated the radio waves in 1999, solidifying TLC’s place in music history. The documentary premiered on A&E and Lifetime on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/PT, leaving a profound impact on viewers.
TLC, consisting of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, takes us back to their early days when they were baggy-clothed stars. Their unique blend of hip-hop and pop helped establish Atlanta as a prominent music capital. The group experienced massive success with their albums “CrazySexyCool” and “FanMail.” However, amidst their rise to fame, tragedy struck in 2002 with the untimely death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.
The documentary goes beyond the headlines and delves into the realities of their lives, including health challenges, abortion, births, adoptions, restaurant affiliations, grueling tour rehearsals, and the enduring bond of friendship between T-Boz and Chilli.
T-Boz sheds light on the severity of her health challenges, revealing that doctors once predicted she wouldn’t live past the age of 30. Born with sickle cell anemia, T-Boz has always relied on medical intervention and treatment. The documentary shows cellphone footage of her in a hospital room just days before the launch of TLC’s Celebration of CrazySexyCool tour in 2021. This footage serves as a reminder of her ongoing struggles. Now 53, T-Boz decided to share this personal journey to create awareness and provide hope to others facing similar challenges.
Despite her health battles, T-Boz remains dedicated to her music. She maintains a strict regimen that includes massages to improve blood circulation, stretching exercises, holistic vitamins, and inhaling oxygen before and after performances. What brings her solace and strength is having her children, Chase and Chance, by her side. Chase, who runs the Anela Beauty line, is responsible for TLC’s makeup on tour, adding to the blessings T-Boz feels in her life.
Towards the end of the documentary, T-Boz and Chilli share a lighthearted moment, imagining what Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes would be like if she were alive today. T-Boz humorously suggests that Left Eye would be the “female Kanye West,” known for her outspoken and unfiltered nature. Through vintage footage, the film showcases Left Eye’s fierce personality and her candid opinions, from her desire to explore creative boundaries within TLC to her controversial relationship with Andre Rison, the former Atlanta Falcons football player, whose mansion she infamously set on fire.
TLC’s legacy as the most successful female group in U.S. music history remains intact, and the documentary pays tribute to their contributions. Esteemed musicians such as Questlove, Missy Elliott, Jermaine Dupri, and Dave Grohl acknowledge TLC’s impact and offer their admiration and support. Dave Grohl, in particular, provides a unique perspective, having experienced grief himself with the loss of band members Kurt Cobain and Taylor Hawkins. He understands the challenges faced by T-Boz and Chilli.
While TLC’s discography includes a string of hits like “Waterfalls,” “Creep,” and “What About Your Friends,” the documentary reveals that their journey is far from over. T-Boz and Chilli assert that they are not fading away. Although a new album is unlikely after their self-funded 2017 release, “TLC,” they believe there is always room for new music and opportunities. In fact, there are discussions about a Broadway play that would explore their history. Their determination to keep their music alive and continue their legacy shines through.
TLC Forever is a testament to TLC’s resilience, friendship, and unwavering dedication to their art. Through the highs and lows, they have remained icons in the music industry, inspiring generations of artists and fans alike. Their story is one of strength, unity, and a commitment to keeping TLC alive in the hearts of their devoted followers.