Crazy Sexy Cool

Tonight @ 9pm Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story aired on Vh1 and of course I had to tune in. When thinking about Girl Power and Pop culture it is impossible not to include the group TLC in the conversation. They are the epitome of a 90s girl group. The group consisted of 3 girls, Tionne Watkins (T-Boz), Lisa Lopes (Left-eye) and Rozonda Thomas (Chili). The group has sold more than 65 million records and is known as one of the greatest female groups of all time. They are most known for their “female empowering anthems” and unusual combination of voices. They also supported the safe sex movement by attaching condoms to their clothing. Their distinct baggy clothes and raspy voices allowed them to stand out from any other group at the time.

I could go on and on talking about the influence of TLC in Hip-Hop and R&B music but I think I would like to point out some interesting moments in the movie. (Promise not to spoil it).

The group is known for songs such as “No Scrubs” and “What About Your Friends” songs about putting your sisters first and not relying on a man but the movie reveals that their personal lives did not match their lyrics in the slightest. The females bounce from relationship to relationship and are the victims of abuse and infidelity.

Towards the beginning of the film they perform in front of music mogul LA Reid. After their performance, he is overjoyed with the possibilities of the group, but then he tries to throw them in the same box they are trying to move away from. He says Left-Eye is “Hip-Hop” and T-Boz is “R&B” and Chili is the “pretty girl”. By labeling on each of the members of the group he constricts the women to those characters, which is highly evident in their music and images. Later in the scene his wife and ex-TLC manager goes on to tell the girls that she wants them to wear tights and heels, but thankfully they object and decide to stick to their baggy clothes.

To avoid giving too much away about the movie, I will stop here but I encourage everyone to check it out. Also here is one of my favorite TLC songs.


2 thoughts on “Crazy Sexy Cool

  1. These TLC type empowering anthems actually remind me of other late 90s, early 2000s empowering songs like “Nasty Girl” by Destiny’s child. Another huge success in the cliche 3 female singers group category, Destiny’s child was my heart and soul. It is nice to know they were supposed to be empowering (most of the time) because at that time, I didn’t care much for what those lyrics meant but I danced my face off to those tunes. So when I heard nasty girl on my spotify radio I did not think twice before saving it onto my playlist of favorites. However, a few weeks later, when it randomly came on while I studied I didn’t really feel like dancing. As i tried to sing along to the lyrics I would have to stop halfway because I realized the whole song is a slut shame! The discourse of feminism and girl power must have been so different because the stakes then are different today. It is shocking that many at the time approved this with the stamp of feminism especially.
    The chorus reads
    “Nasty put some clothes on, I told ya
    Don’t walk out your house without no clothes on, I told ya
    Girl what ya thinkin’ bout lookin’ that to’ down, I told ya
    These men don’t want no hot female that’s been around the block female, you nasty girl”
    …It is basically all about what “these men want” for DC.

    To remind yourself of the song, here is the link

  2. Pingback: Illegally blonde | Girlpower

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