Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins On The Return Of TLC And The Pressures Of Stardom

by (@emilyexton)

Have you been able to see your own influence on any of today’s acts?
I always run into a potential TLC group, but I don’t worry about that stuff. I feel like there’s enough out here for everybody and of course you see people do your stuff here and there, but that’s cool. That just means you’re appreciated and they liked something you did. I don’t ever look at it like, “Oh, man, they stole my stuff.” That happens all the time. When I see my dance and someone else does it that’s an honor. I don’t look at it as a bad thing at all, I think it’s great.

What do you think about the music of 2013?
Lyrical content is missing. I love that song “Diamonds” by Rihanna–she wrote the heck out of that song. Even though it wasn’t deep-deep, it was just the melody and the metaphor of shining bright like a diamond; it means something and makes you feel good. That’s needed, especially with the recession. You can never have too many [songs like] “Unpretty” or “Waterfalls,” because people need to be inspired and feel good about themselves. Today is more faddy, like “Let’s do dance” or “Let’s do dubstep.” That’s cool, but I think we’re missing a lot of superstars. There’s a lot of great music, but it’s just not forever, it’s for today.

Do you see this film as an opportunity to clear up any misconceptions people may have, particularly of your group’s later years?
Honestly, the media wasn’t like it is now. People were more respectful and appreciated what you did. They didn’t get into what you’re doing at home or what you cook for your baby–it’s none of their business. We’ve always said we’re not replacing Lisa, but when we did [2005 UPN reality series] R U The Girl? people would say, “So what happened to the third member?” They just read and take in what they want, so you’ll just be losing energy trying to clean up all day. I want people to understand how hard we work and how much we put into this. Our dancing was as big as our image, and our image was as big as our record sales. I hope they understand us as a group. I don’t want to clear up anything, I just want them to understand.

With such increased media scrutiny what do you think about younger acts like Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber–two artists that have been in the public eye since they were teenagers–transitioning to adulthood? They’re constantly covered on TV, TMZ, and in various blogs.
People make mistakes–we’re talking about a day in time where people are popping molly or smoking weed. You just have to hope they don’t get lost and don’t go down the wrong well. All of us could, it’s just more in-your-face media-wise now. It was always there for us when we were 19, I just chose not to go that route. It’s really individually on them, and hopefully they have a good platform to grow from, like parents or people around them. I don’t know who Justin or Taylor has but I wish them the best. I like both of them a lot and I think they are very talented. TMZ takes it too far. The only thing true in the article is is your name. You can’t just start talking about people physically–these are humans. People have families and they report their death before… CNN will give you the respect of letting the family know and give in your statement. [TMZ] just puts stuff out whether it’s true or not and adds problems and lies. I don’t respect that. These are real people with hearts and lives, mothers and fathers, it’s just not worth the money to me. But that’s what makes the world go round for a lot of these people, so good luck with that.

Catch T-Boz and Chilli on stage at the Mixtape Festival this weekend in Hershey, PA. VH1’s CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story premieres in October.

TLC 2013

RELATED: 5 Crazy, 5 Sexy, 5 Cool Moments In TLC’s Career

[Photo Credit: Piotr Sikora for VH1; Getty Images]

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