TLC Is Still Getting Screwed?
The TLC biopic, Crazy Sexy Cool, premiered on VH1 last week, and reminded me how much I love the group to this day. Their immense talent and unbelievable chemistry created a dominant cultural touchstone for people, especially women, who came of age in the late 1980s or early 1990s. TLC is part of the history of my adolescence, and one of the best examples of how prominently women with feminist ideologies and messages flourished in ’90s hip-hop/R&B, as well as the pop music that drew from it.
The film also includes a merciless portrayal of the group’s former manager, Pebbles, and her husband, L.A. Reid, both of LaFace Records. The film shows Pebbles as a manipulator who shamelessly perpetuated a terrible history by binding TLC’s members to exploitative contracts. Worse, Pebbles is doubling down: last week, she decided to file suit against the estate of Lisa Lopes, who died in 2002, for money she claims Lopes owes her from a full two decades ago.
It’s perversely impressive that Pebbles can hold a grudge over money for twenty years even though she is half of a wealthy and successful power couple. There’s something terrifying about a person who will go public about suing a beloved star who has been dead for a decade, for money Pebbles was owed under shady contracts in the first place. Sounds like every unflattering thing Crazy Sexy Cool alleged about Pebbles is true.