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?