Remembering Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes

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Even when she actively beefed with her fellow TLC members Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was always the lifeblood and the lynchpin of their trio, so when Lopes was killed in a car accident nine years ago today, the group, after wrapping production on work-in-progress album, effectively ceased to exist.

Left Eye was always the most flamboyant of the three, brash and unembarrassed. From the Ooooooohhh…On the TLC Tip days, when, as the Philly-transplant in Atlanta, she rocked the b-girl look ten times harder than T-Boz or Chilli but somehow still sold it better, to the prosperity-gospel-with-a-spiritual-twist of her “No Scrubs” verse: “If you can’t spatially expand my horizons, then that leaves you in a class with scrubs, never rising,” and beyond, Left Eye was always fighting to be seen and heard.

But she also fought to be her best self; the 2007 VH1 Rock Docs presentation of The Last Days of Left Eye shows her not as the spendthrift who burned down her boyfriend’s mansion (as she was seen in the popular imagination), but rather as a generous but troubled soul seeking peace while founding an educational center on property she owned in Honduras. It’s no surprise luminaries like Missy Elliott pay her frequent public homage.

Part of Left Eye’s “Waterfalls” verse was engraved on her casket: “Dreams are hopeless aspirations/ in hopes of coming true/ believe in yourself/ the rest is up to me and you.” Here’s the groundbreaking video in its entirety:

[Photo: Getty Images]