7 Lessons to Learn from TLC’s CrazySexyCool Biopic (My Review)
TLC is my favorite girls group ever. Ok I might be lying because I’m indecisive, but they’re EASILY in my top 3. What 80s kid didn’t love them? Name them, shame them and delete them from your Facebook friends list this moment!
TLC was about girl power, sass, expressing yourself as you damn well please and they were so awesome for it. I used to sing Waterfalls around the house and bankhead bounce like I was getting paid for it. Who needed Crossfit when you could put “Waterfalls” on repeat in your Sony Walkman and get your jam in? WHO? Their music had a message but best believe you’d be doing your best wop at the same time. Their work is firmly in my childhood soundtrack and this is the reason why I didn’t miss the biopic on VH1 last night. That, and I wanted to live-tweet with my peoples.
And I was really glad I did, because it was a worthy 2.5 hour stroll down memory lane. CrazySexyLove: The TLC Story (starring Keke Palmer as Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, Drew Sidora as Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Lil Mama as Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes) was good movie, not because of anything like cinematography or even the writing. Nah. It’s because it gave my heart the warm and fuzzies. It was like visiting your elementary school that might be run down by now but when you visit your old locker, you don’t e’em care that you don’t recognize anyone in the school. That’s a shitty analogy but you will let me cook.
Anywho, instead of the regular review, I decided to just talk about lessons I took away from CrazySexyCool.
We underestimated Lil Mama – I’ve been clowning Lil Mama since she jumped onstage with Jay-Z and Alicia and got inducted into the “Girl WUT?” Hall of Fame for doing the most when no one asked her. When I heard she’d be playing Left Eye, I did wonder if no one else auditioned and my side-eye was activated. Then I watched Crazy Sexy Cool and had to shut my mouth wide open! Lil Mama came through and told all of us to SUCK IT with that performance, and I was pleasantly surprised. Homegirl transformed into Left-Eye, physically (even when you didn’t squint) and through her mannerisms. Color me impressed, girl! She did that. DEED. THAT.
So yes, we underestimated her and I’m glad she came and told us to tuck in our shaderation. I’m actually rooting for her now. Well, I wasn’t wishing bad things on her before (because I’m not a cartoon villain) but now I’m actively hoping she gets more roles. I hope this is the beginning of great things for her.
Own your work, your name, your ideas – Perri “Pebbles” Reid was the Grinch of the TLC story, having cheated them out of millions with a trifling contract. Yes, it might have been industry standard, but for you to sell 10 million records and have to file for bankruptcy is just ridiculous. When they finally wanted to bounce, they had to pay her $3 million for their name ($1 million for each letter). That part wasn’t in the biopic but it’s a clear message for any creative out there.
OWN YOUR WORK. OWN YOUR NAME. OWN YOUR IDEAS.
Ownership of intellectual property is so important, and it’s why Oprah got so much money. And Tyler Perry. And it’s why George Lucas is a billionaire. For bloggers, read my post on How to Protect Your Blog Content: Know Your Rights.
Related: read contracts and get lawyers to check them out so you don’t get cheated as bad. The bad part is that the lawyer who reviewed TLC’s contract was also Pebbles’ lawyer, which is a GIANT conflict of interest. She was outchea moonlighting as Cinderella’s wicked stepmama and running a musical sweatshop. NAWL!
Shoes are not a game – I mean, I’ve always known that shoes are serious business, as an addict myself. But LAWD. When Lisa Lopes looked through the stack of gymshoes (yes I’m from Chicago. They are gymshoes) and didn’t see her size 4s in there, it was the straw that broke the cheating camel’s back. She set ALL them joints on fire, and also his house. But did the Jordans have to suffer? I ask because shoes have feelings too.
Also, apparently, Andre Rison met her in the club while rocking a white fur coat. Any man who approaches you while looking like a negro panda bear or half of the Hip Hop Dalmatians ain’t ready for your love.
Memorials Are Never Satisfying – It’s REALLY hard to deal with death (I could end this sentence here) of our beloved celebrities onscreen, either in music tributes or however (I still owe y’all a post on the Cory Monteith tribute ep of Glee). And I get that most people never like these attempts at memorializing celebs who pass.
There will be some of us who feel like what was done wasn’t enough and some who will feel like too much is exploitive. In this film, I belong in the former group, feeling like they didn’t do enough with Lisa’s death. I’m not saying I wanted them to show her final moments (there’s a documentary for that) but it was like Lil Mama Lisa was sitting by waterfalls, and then they got a call and then her funeral where they nodded at Pebble. It all happened in like 90 seconds and I was like WAIT I WASN’T READY I DIDN’T HAVE TIME. I was at home like:
But again, death is delicate and memorials are never satisfying because what we ultimately want cannot happen. VH1 did what they could and I’m not mad at them.
Your life can be a testimony – Tionne’s survival with sickle cell (or as some on Twitter calls it “sicker cell”) was well-chronicled in the film. Her scene with her mother, when her group mates found out she didn’t just pass out randomly had a G’s thug about to wade in the water. All her life (she’s had to fight), she’s been defying medical odds and been told she wouldn’t live past a certain age. Or she would never be able to have a child. Today, she’s 43 years old with a 13-year old daughter. LOOK AT GAWD! She spoke that LIFE into herself and that’s power. All that fight in one little body and decades worth of asymmetrical haircuts. I salute you, Tionne Watkins, Warrior Princess!
Chilli’s babyhair can be often imitated but never duplicated – Look. Chilli been doing her thing with her baby hair since 1987. Really and truly, no one can copy her custom font cursive edges (I think that’s segoe script). Not even the fake her in the form of Keke Palmer in a lacefront. Her babyhair in the film just didn’t quite CURL alla way over. It looked like it was floating above her forehead in certain scenes.
Also, neither did her wig SHINE like Chilli’s hair be doing. It’s like she walks around with sheen spray, letting her entire soul glo. They couldn’t replicate that look like they should, which is why I don’t think Keke was great in this role. She was ok, though.
Lipsyching is hard – Everyone on RuPaul’s Drag Race should be crowned winner of something because lipsyching for your life is not easy. WHOOOO! Because some of the scenes where they did closeup shots of the girls singing TLC songs (Especially the No Scrubs part), the lips ain’t quite match up with the music. Had they been in front of panelists, they’da gotten the “Sashay away” verdict. Bless ‘em.
But yeah, good job on CrazySexyCool, VH1!!! Y’all had my little sappy heart just thrilled! It was a fitting tribute to one of the greatest girl groups ever, and by the end, I was ready to just throw ALL my monies at ALL the TLC things. TAKE MY MONEY, YOU EPIC TRIO, YOU!
Hollywood needs to bank on millennial nostalgia right now. We’re missing our childhood and things that take us back to it will get you in our pocket. I’m looking forward to the Best Man Holiday next. I cannot wait for that!
So what did you think of CrazySexyCool?
Wait. Did you say “half of the Hip Hop Dalmations”? I quit you Luvvie!
lol was Andre Rin or Tin….That’s a vital question!
Lawwwwwwd good post Luvvie assssss usual!!! I adored this movie and I was with the rest of Black Twitter roasting Pebbles and critiquing. Keke did great but I think she was my least favorite and by surprise Lil Mama was my fav. She went in and let have. She had me all in my feelings. http://cdn2.cagepotato.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/creepy_crying_baby.gif . Overall VH1 did a great job!
That was hilarious!
“Any man who approaches you while looking like a negro panda bear or half of the Hip Hop Dalmatians ain’t ready for your love.” I almost threw my work computer off the desk….LMAO yessshooooh Great post!!!
I straight died!!! Luvvie you slay me!!! lol
It’s weird that I wasn’t even born in 1990 when the movie first started. (I was born in 91) but I’ve ALWAYS been a TLC fan because they preached girl power and when you come from a place where you’re told you’ll never be more than a factory worker that is a powerful message. I’ve always listened to their songs to pump myself up when I’m feeling down or when I need some motivation.
I was born in 1990. But I remember them and felt really sad when Left Eye passed away. I didn’t understand their music as a child, but I loved the Unpretty song. It made me want to sing regardless of my voice.
“The hoe is mine. I was first in line!” <—— my first thought looking at Andre Rison
As much as I wanted to hate Drew Sidora (via her being a man stealing hussy on The Game) I couldn't. I could not and I am mad. Although she couldn't quite get that raspy T-Boz voice down tho……
Keke did her best and they tried but Chilli's hair is everything and could not be replicated. And too, she couldn't quite get that smooth Chilling voice down
Why was half the budget recreating the videos?
Perri "Pebbles" Reid has to go……….TONIGHT! Tboz still out here getting minivans repossessed which I believe stem from Pebbles greedy, racially ambiguous ass
I wanted to see Ursher pop up dammit
WHAT HAPPENED TO CRYSTAL????????
Crystal went upstairs like the girl from Family Matters who never came back down or like Richie Cunningham’s brother.
#dead&gone #ImBack #ThankTheLawd
Resting in peace
I don’t believe Crystal’s voice was that bad they shaded if that was the case then there wouldn’t have been adds with her, Left Eye and T-Boz already out an an emerging group.
I do think she needs to let go that she was ever in TLC she even has it in her twitter bio like girl let it go you ain’t even sing nuffin.
lol she didn’t wanna sue anyone…or go on a Latavia or Farrah-like in-her-feelings rant? NUTHIN!!? #ByeFelicia
I am flatlining! Upstairs? Bwahahaaaaa!
Nooooooo!!!! I really can’t anymore.
One last thing, was the nosy chick on the red carpet supposed to be Beyoncé?!
I thought it was Lil Kim. But wasn’t sure
Not sounding like Eve she wasn’t. LOL! You all know they would have had a horrible southern drawl for the character if it was Beyoncé.
yo….after watching the movie again, i think that was Blu Cantrell. lol notice TLC didn’t bother saying her name or making her relevant outside of her failed shade fest. She tried it!
I laughed, i cried, and then I remembered we’ll never get a rhyme from Left Eye ever again.
…and this is all from reading your post. Damn Imma be a mess when I actually tune in and watch it.
Yes this movie had me remembering parts of my childhood when those songs came out. Being a 90s kid is the best. I went through an entire range of emotions watching my favorite girl group. Man the memories had me up til 4a this morning trying to calm down.
“Hip Hop Dalmatians” – was that a “Brown Sugar” reference in midst of a crazy, sexy, cool recap?? I heart you for that! And then throwing in the Best Man Holiday. Chile…nostalgia for days.
Soooooo, we just gon’ not talk about the fact that Crystal promptly got told “U R Not the Girl, goodbye!” (See what I did there?) Awwwwww ok……..
To me it was kinda of eerie how much these actors resemble their characters, especially Lil’ Mama. Brava on casting!
And also Luvvie, you forgot to mention that any nigga named Larry CANNOT BE TRUSTED!!!!!! They are the archetype of the ain’t shit negro. BTW, love the recap; as always they give me my life.
Yea Crystal got boot kicked and it was her audition…but it seems that talent and ambition won
I’ve been down with TLC since their first song. Brings back so many memories of college. Its kinda sad that all anyone ever remembers of them is Waterfalls, which was my least fav song they did.
It was downright awesome! I need to finish my (first) BuzzFeed top ten moment on it. If anyone have any ideas please share! I will definitely credit you. 🙂
A lot of groups got robbed…Those industry standard contracts had New Edition dropped back off in the projects with new VCR’s after the Candy Girl tour… Smdh
Sir or madam I quit you! Roflmao
Chilli’s baby hair is the only thing I think they got wrong…this is the most epic biopic since that Tina Turner movie.
And I thought Keke did a great job. It was hard seeing Akeela getting an abortion, tho…
This movie had me all the way in my feelings. It was a reminder of how good 90s music really was and how girl groups used to keep their clothes on. After watching that movie, I will definitely buy any new project. I just need to know how to buy it so that thievin’ wench Pebbles doesn’t get a cut.
As usual you were right on the money. I especially loved your analogy using a visit to the elementary school to express your sentiment. I get it. First of all I started watching this movie with the lowest expectations and was pleasantly surprised. It was actually very entertaining. I thought Lil Mama was awesome as Left Eye. I also agree with you about Chilli’s baby hair being a significant part of TLC and should have been featured in this movie. I thought Keke Palmer was okay as Chilli, part of the problem is that she has established herself as an actress with certain characteristics and I saw more KeKe than Chilli. I also wished we would have gotten a little bit more insight into their family life, but it was really a good movie for a cable television product. Thanks for your recap, I really look forward to them.
Whoo that movie was everything however I never doubted Lil mama in fact I doubted Drew more than her, we never seen Lil Mama act so what judgment could I have to go on. I actually though Keke would be the best but Lil Mama would def. prove everyone wrong and that she did.
Yes for the Brown Sugar reference. The soundtrack for the film was everything. However casting played my boy Dalvin that dude was FIONE and idk who’s cousin they gave the part as well as Married Larry cause he was fine too someone pulled up his pic on twitter: Light-skin, green eyes and cornrows. TLC’s men may have been shxtty but they never lacked in looks.
I was born in 91 actually I was born on the exact day that the MC Hammer concert TLC opened for came to my town. Right after my mom gave birth my big sis and big cousins came to see me and off to the concert they went. I wish they had took pictures just so I can see how they were dressed lol.
glad i’m not the only one who doubted Drew! and i thought Keke was great….the lack of baby hair realness is the hair dept’s fault, not hers lol! speaking of hair, Mr. Dalvin didn’t deserve 4 his hairline to come up as missing as Christal now!
Oh can we get into the fact that Destiny’s Child and Toni Braxton were trending during the movie LMAO. Listen I’m all here for both biopics, we’ll def. see the latter before the former. Hell DC members have spilled some truth but not all and I doubt they’ll let two back into the fold to have a say in the film so it won’t be happening.
I was pleasantly surprised. Especially at Lil Ma who I remember back when she was still dressing like a giant baby.
That said Tionne is my spirit animal. After all that she went through in the movie a few year back she had a brain tumor. She was on Dr. Oz Monday talking about how she lost some hearing and balance, but the other side of her body now compensates and now she can dance again! Tionne ain’t letting NOTHING hold her back!
I know this is old but I have never laughed so hard in my life when you said she dressed like a giant baby…I real tears coming out and can’t breathe! Thank YOU
I LOVED this movie! Lil Mama proved me, you, and everybody else wrong. I really wasn’t sure how that was going to work and I knew that if she didn’t do well she was going to have to go into hiding, like Pebbles. I was sad when Left Eye died, but I was young when it happened, and I don’t think I fully understood what her death meant. When her verse to Waterfalls came on in the movie, and Lil Mama started performing, I began to sob because her death hit me, as an adult. A day later and I’m still in my feelings because the ending of that movie made me feel like we’d lost Lisa all over again.
On another note, I love their new song Meant To be, and I appreciate them sharing the recording process at the end of the movie. I definitely bought the 20 album after the movie, and I was happy to see that it was #6 on itunes.
Hey Luvvie, hey Gladiators! When you get a chance, check out- artemusgordon’s page on instagram. He sheds some light on the drama between tlc and pebbles as well as a host of other amazing stories. This is where I found out that “Larry” was really Pac and Left Eye was really supposed to sign to Death Row not Master P. Things that make you go hmmmmm
Yessss!!! All the way yes for this movie! I was pleasantly surprised (was I the only one who did a wall slide when they found out Left Eye died?). And I didn’t realize that they were so GANGSTA! Especially T-Boz! When she was reading Chilli about the fact that Dallas had another baby mama and that she TOLD her about his triflin ass, I had to shake my tambourine on that one. Love her!
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Wow. This article was hilarious. I laughed so loud, I think my neighbors heard me! I agree with almost all of your sentiments…including the one about Keke’s lacefront. Since I’m the weavologist in my crew, I try to go easy on folks. In any event, please be sure to check out this review of the Crazy, Sexy, Cool trio as well: http://smoochingfrogs.com/blog/2013/10/24/movie-review-crazy-sexy-cool-the-tlc-story
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I doubted KeKe from the jump and I was right. I cannot stand her acting with her no crying but and what do they do? Have her tail crying all throughout the movie! Lil Mama was Left Eye and Drew, well there’s no better T-Boz than T-Boz! But yea I had my doubts on Ms. Palmer and they were correct.
Omg stfu u are complaning out baby hair biych do u got baby hair……alright so stfu and worry about her performance which was flawless u are a hatin ass bitch. Lastly they lipsync was great and it did match the music, u just hatin, u wont even in the movie to be complaining bitch