| He physically abused not only Wanda, but the children as well. Lisa recalled one incident when she was 16 where she, Ronald Jr., and Raina watched their father beat and curse their mother, then go to bed with a knife clutched to his chest. That night the three of them layed awake until morning, terrifed he was going to come and kill them.
Lisa says her father was extremely strict, and treated her and her brother and sister as if they were in boot camp. She says he would have them line up in military fashion, then march back and forth, yelling like a drill sergeant, even if the offense was as minor and insignificant as a dropped pen. "It was almost like he would just wait for me to do something so he could put me on punishment." Lisa says. "And I mean no radio, no TV, no telephone, no front porch, no going in the backyard, no leaving for school before a certain time, no extracurricular activities at school, no nothing. And that lasted for years."
Lisa tried hard to please her father. She was an incredibly intelligent and talented young girl; she was walking by the age of seven months, she brought home straight A report cards and taught herself to play the piano by ear at age four or five.
| But it seemed nothing she did was enough to please him. He treated Lisa differently from the other children, as if he expected more from her. "I always got beat before they did," she says. "It was unfair."
After years of abuse (and after she got Ronald dishonorably discharged from the Army after 13 years of phone calls to the military police) Wanda took the children and up and left her husband in the middle of the night, and went to Florida. For a year, Ronald didn't even know where they were. They later divorced.
However, a product of a broken home herself, Wanda wanted the marriage to work for the sake of the children. "I wanted the marriage to work," she says. "Women in general always want the marriage to work, and that was my goal." The couple soon reconciled and remarried.
"I regret getting married again," Wanda says now. "Before we got married again, Lisa was fine. All the kids were doing well in school, just being away from their father. Lisa, being the oldest, was picked on the most and played tug-of-war with. I'm still finding out things that her father did. He was destroying lives."
After Wanda returned to Philadelphia and the two remarried, things only worsened. The next three years would be the hardest. "They got back together for the kids' sake," Lisa says bitterly. "Yeah, right. I was doing pretty good. I was smart when I was growing up, straight A's and all that. But then my home life distracted me."
|so Tionne and Lisa broke the news to Crystal that TLC was going on without her. They replaced her with a young dancer for the musical act Damian Dame, Rozonda Thomas. The three adopted nicknames to go along with the letters TLC: T-Boz (Tionne Watkins), Left Eye (Lisa Lopes) and Chilli (Rozonda Thomas). After TLC was signed to La Face Records, Lisa was anxious to call her father and tell him the news, to finally prove to him she had done something special, to finally make him proud. Unfortunately she was never able to make that call. That evening, Wanda telephoned Lisa to tell her Ronald Sr. had been shot and killed by a relative he was quarreling with.
"My father died the same day Pebbles said she was going to sign us," she says. "And I got in the car, and for a whole hour, I was just dreaming about getting back with my father and trying to make things right. Then my mother called me that evening and told me my father had been killed. It was the best day of my life, but it turned into the worst evening of my life."
Lisa dealt with her father's death "nonchalantly" as she puts it, and threw herself into the recording of TLC's first album, Ooooooohhh...On the TLC Tip, which was released February 25, 1992.
|TLC blew up with Ooooooohhh...On the TLC Tip, which spawned three hit singles. "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg", "Baby-Baby-Baby"and the Gold-certified street anthem, "What About Your Friends." With their individual sense of style (think oversized, brightly colored, mismatching attire; huge vinyl hats, and colorful condom fashion accesories) no-nonsense attitude, forthright pledge to safe sex, and album filled with a hype urban sound and point-blank saucy lyrics, they became instant stars, and were soaring high with success and fame. However, Lisa was soon going to be facing a downfall of her own, that would not only complicate her personal and private life, but bring it to the attention of the media, her many fans, and anyone else in the country who cared to know.|
| Lisa met NFL wide reciever Andre Rison of the Atlanta Falcons at his birthday party in March 1993. Lisa was at first disinterested. "She wasn't impressed," he says. "Actually tried to get away. She said she was going to the coat rack. I followed her to the coat rack, but she disappeared."
"He wouldn't leave me alone," Lisa has said. "He just kept following me, buying me roses, buying me drinks....I found him attractive but...he was following me. It was a turn-off. I never expected this to be the person I was gonna be with."
Andre continued to pursue her over the next few months, until she finally accepted an invitation to his house. Obviously something changed her mind, because she never left. She moved in with him before they even had an official first date.
However, things didn't go that smoothly in the time that followed. The couple's rocky relationship was made known to the people through slightly violent public arguements, including one incident in the parking lot of an Atlanta suburb grocery store where two bystanders struggled to intervene when Andre allegedly hit her. A gun was fired, although both Lisa and Andre claim it wasn't aimed at anything but air, and the charges were soon dropped.
Rumors of domestic abuse on Andre's part followed, although to this day both deny it. (Left Eye has actually stated that if anyone was abusive, it was she.) But in the early morning hours of June 9, 1994, Lisa would make history with an occurence that she is still known for today.
| Lisa had always described Andre as controlling and said that he would often stay out all hours of the night, but didn't like her to go out much. So one evening Lisa decided to let Andre know what it felt like - she went with a group of friends out to a club and didn't return to around five o'clock in the morning. However, Andre was still not home, which angered Lisa even more. When he finally did get home at around six, he and Lisa got into a noisy arguement with a lot of pushing and shoving.
When they got into the bedroom, Andre struggled to regain control of an enraged Lisa by pushing her onto the bed and sitting on top of her. He admits to only hitting her once "not to hurt her but to calm her." It didn't work, and Andre gave up and left. By this time Lisa had already blacked out once due to the large amount of alcohol she had consumed that night, and was also extremely upset, furious and out of her head. She pulled open the closet to see a large amount of new sneakers Andre had bought. Disgusted that she didn't see a single pair in her size, she grabbed the sneakers, tossed them into the Jacuzzi, and lit them on fire. Unfortunately, most likely due to the state that she was in, Lisa didn't remember that the Jacuzzi was now fiberglass - it had replaced the old marble one after a similar incident early in their relationship when Lisa had burned a teddy
|bear collection she had given Andre after catching him in bed with another woman. The fiberglass tub soon melted and the fire quickly spread, burning the $2 million mansion the two shared to the ground. Lisa left immediately and spent the night in a hotel room with some friends. She was arrested the next day.
Lisa pleaded guilty to the charge of arson in the first degree and was sentenced to three months in a diversion center, a $10,000 fine, and five years of probabtion. Andre came to visit her while she was incarcerated every day, not about to let the incident end the relationship. "People say I'm crazy,"he said. "But I can't get my mind off her. I have cried a lot, but I can't say that I've shed one tear for the house. I can replace a house, but I can't replace the life I had, or a certain girl." About the rumors of abuse, Andre has flatly denied it. "It hurts me," he says, "because I'm not like that. We did everything together -- shopped, cooked, laughed, cried, went to nightclubs, parks, functions . . ."
Lisa and Andre did stay together after the fire, and tried to make the relationship work, on and off through the years. "I mean, Andre was very loving, very romantic..he was my best friend," said Left Eye. "But at the same time he was very jealous, very possessive..he wasn't havin' it. He had me in check, though. He had me. I had him, too."
However, despite the couple's tumultuous history, they got back together last year and had planned to get married some time in 2001. But, Andre appeared on Atlanta's Hot 97.5 not long after and announced the two had gone their seperate ways, for undisclosed reasons.
"You know, me and Andre just have a bond no one will understand," Left Eye has said. "Sometimes even I don't."
|TLC's sophomore effort, CrazySexyCool was released November 15, 1994 shortly after the fire. Lisa hadn't made it to much of the recording of the album due to the hectic state her life was in at the time, but the album still went on to be TLC's best-selling yet -11 million copies to date. It was one of the first albums to be certified Diamond (the award for 10 million copies sold) and has been named the biggest-selling hip-hop album of all time. It also swept numerous award shows through out 1995 and 1996, including the1995 MTV Video Music Awards (they won four awards including Video of the Year and Viewers' "Waterfalls") the 1995 Billboard Music Awards (they won two awards including Artist of the Year), the 1995 Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards (they won two awards includin|
|R&B/Soul Album of the Year), the 1996 Grammy Awards (they won two awards including Album of the Year), the 1996 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards (Album of the Year), 1996 Soul Train Awards (they won three awards including R&B/Soul Album of the Year), and the 1996 Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards.
After the success of CrazySexyCool, TLC took a break and Left Eye took advantage to work on some side projects. She collaborated with other artists such as Method Man (for the track "Cradle Rock" for his album Tical 2000: Judgment Day) her cousin Tangi (for the song "No Tighter Wish" which appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Kazaam), and a team of female MC's to record the smash single "Not Tonight Remix" (better know as "Ladies' Night")
|for the Nothing to Lose Soundtrack. The Grammy-nominated track featured Lil' Kim, Left Eye, Da Brat, Missy Elliott and Angie Martinez and became one of the biggest hits of the summer of 1997. She also did several televison interviews and appeareances (including BET's Rap City, Yo!MTV Raps, and The 1997 MTV Video Music Awards). She also got her Left Eye Productions up and running, and got R&B girl group Blaque signed to Columbia Records. She did numerous magazine interviews and covers (Sister 2 Sister, Sophisticate's Black Hair, Pride, XXL, Honey, Black Beat...), hosted MTV's The Cut, and more.
After TLC's much anticipated third album, FanMail, was released on February 23, 1999, Left Eye started some breakup rumors when she spoke out on how she felt about some things that were going on with TLC and some of the "politics" that were involved with the making of FanMail. It seemed the ladies of TLC weren't getting along very well and were having many business disagreements. For one, Left Eye submitted 8 songs she had written for FanMail, all of which were rejected by executive producer and Chilli's then - boyfriend Dallas Austin becuase they weren't, in his words "up to par". But Lisa has herself expressed her dislike for Dallas and his so-called skills: in one interview she bluntly remarked,"I know producers who could roll him up and smoke his ass."
Lisa also didn't agree with TLC's world tour because due to the poor promotion they weren't making money. She even staged a public protest by not showing up to a TRL spot TLC had scheduled to talk about the tour. Fortunately, however, Lisa stuck it out and stayed with the tour, and the second leg of the tour did much better; with proper promotion and advertisement as well as playing major cities TLC was performing to sold out shows.
In September 2000, Left Eye made headlines one again when she and then - boyfriend, model Sean Newman, were both reported missing for about a week's time. It started when Left Eye didn't show up for a family party on Labor Day Weekend, and then was not home when a friend came to pick her up for a press conference. However, no police report was filed, and none of her friends and releatives were incredibly worried; they all knew Lisa well and said she had done things like this before.
| But that didn't keep the press from getting involved. It was all over the papers, and several entertainment news programs ran stories such as EXTRA and Access Hollywood. Left Eye's uncle, designer Kyle Young, friend and former business associate Ian Burke, as well as her brother Ronald, Jr. appeared on television to plead with Left Eye and ask her to contact someone so they would know she was all right. She didn't - but shortly afterwards footage of Left Eye and Sean in a van in New Orleans was aired. However, when the reporter neared them to get a comment, Left Eye shook her head, waved him off, and drove away.
Rumors began that the couple took off to elope, but that soon proved untrue. Instead, evidence surfaced that the reason for sabbatical was to promote the 2000 MOBO Awards - a British music awards show Left Eye would co-host the following month.
Left Eye's bandmates T-Boz and Chilli took advantage of this incident to lash out at their partner - criticsizing her for doing something irresponsible that caused numerous people - including her many fans - to worry.
However, Left Eye took their jeers in stride as usual, and never really talked about her disappearance to the press. She never directly responded to T-Boz's and Chilli's harsh comments to my knowledge - but then again - she rarely does.
And, of course, there was her much-anticipated solo LP, titled Supernova, which had been in the works for about three years. The album was named for a rare star that increases a billion times in brightness - something Left Eye thought she would do with the LP's release. It was released overseas in October 2001, but not in the US due to a breach of contract. It is rumored that it will be relesed sometime this year, however. Left Eye also signed a contract with Suge Knight on Tha Row (formerly Death Row) Records and began recording an entirely different album under the name NINA (New Identity Non-Applicable). She never completed it, but the material that was recorded may be released.
As you all know, on April 25, 2002, Left Eye was tragically killed in a car accident in Honduras, a Central American country she visited a few times a year as a spirtual retreat. She would've been 31 a month later.
The rented SUV Left Eye was driving also held her brother, sister, four members of a singing group she was mentoring, and a couple producers. Left Eye was the only fatality.
A funeral service was held exactly a week later, and was attended by thousands, including fans and celebrities such as T-Boz and Chilli, Mack 10, Usher, Andre Rison, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, Monica, Blaque, Suge Knight, Jermaine Dupri, Ashanti, Ja Rule, and many others.
After her death, Left Eye well-known on again/off again boyfriend Andre Rison (who was not dating her at the time of her death) said, "She's my heart and I will love her forever." Me too.
| Left Eye had come a long way since TLC debuted in 1992. She went from being the rapper of an all-female trio to being a many-sided, multi-talented superstar in her own right, with much individual attention. She was not only uniquely talented and creative, but smart, beautiful, and a strong role model. She was not afraid to do and say what she feels no matter who it offended, or to be her own person and do things her own way, not what people expected of her. She'd been through a lot in her life, but that didn't stop her. It's not easy to come through such negativity and make life better for yourself, but Lisa did it without looking back. There were so many sides to her, and she could be anything she wanted: Ghetto then classy, subdued then outgoing. And no matter what personality she was showing that day, it fit. Because being so many different women rolled into one is what she did best. It was just being Left Eye.
I'll miss her so much.
Copyright LADY Pimp ProducktionZ/i luvvv left eye. entertainment 2001-02
| Left Eye was becoming much more than just one-third of the platinum selling, Grammy award-winning R&B/rap trio TLC. She was on her way to letting her whole individual skill and star quality be known to the world throughout the many different fields and aspects of the entertainment industry.
Left Eye was born Lisa Nicole Lopes on May 27, 1971 to Ronald E. Lopes. Sr., and Wanda D. Lopes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lisa was the oldest of three children; later would come her sister Raina, and last her little brother Ronald, Jr. Lisa's childhood wasn't exactly easy - in additon to the constant moving due to her father being in the military (they moved from Philadelphia to Kansas to Panama to New Jersey and back to Philly), Lisa had to endure her father's alcoholism and abusive nature.
| At age 17, Lisa finally got out of her dysfunctional home. She left Philly with her then-boyfriend for Atlanta, in hopes of stardom. However, when things didn't work out for the couple, Lisa found herself on the streets, keeping herself housed and fed "by any means necessary". But Lisa would soon be introduced to Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and a girl named Crystal, and they formed the trio Second Nature.
Tionne had connections to recording artist and wife of LaFace CEO Antonio "LA" Reid, Perri "Pebbles" Reid, through a hairdresser named Marie Davis who worked alongside Tionne at a beauty salon. Pebbles wanted to sign the trio, and gave them a new name -TLC, for Tionne, Lisa and Crystal. But before she would sign them, Pebbles made it clear Crystal did not have what it took for celebrity,
|The teen years.|
|Left Eye backstage on TLC's 99-00 FanMail tour.|
|Backstage on the tour.|
|Left Eye and Andre from a '96 photo shoot.|
|TLC at the '95 MTV VMA's.|
|Top: Left Eye on the cover of the Feb. 98 Sister 2 Sister
Bottom: The cover of the June/July '99 SBH.
|Left Eye and ex-boyfriend Sean Newman at the 2000 MOBO's, which she co-hosted.|
|Left Eye at the 2000 Grammy Awards.|
|Left Eye at the '99 Source hip-Hop Awards, which she co-hosted.|