Member of TLC
Tionne 'T-boz' Watkins is best known as part of the highly successful female singing group TLC, along with rapper/singer Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes (died in 2002) and singer Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas. Formed in 1991, the group has since released four studio albums and won four Grammy Awards. Their first album, “Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip” (1992), sold 7 million copies worldwide. The 1994 sophomore effort “CrazySexyCool” became their highest selling album, having sold 15 million pieces worldwide to date. The third album “FanMail” followed five years later in 1999. The album has sold 12 million copies worldwide. The group's fourth album, “3D,” which was released after Lopes' death in April 2002, sold 2 million copies worldwide. With the estimated 36 million sales, TLC becomes one of the best selling all female groups of all time. Outside of TLC, Watkins has recorded solo singles such as “Touch Myself” (For the soundtrack of the 1996 film “Fled”) and “My Getaway” (for the soundtrack to the 2000 film “Rugrats in Paris: The Movie”). She also has made guest appearances in such songs as “Ghetto Love” with Da Brat, “Be Somebody” with Paula Cole and “Someday” with DJ Deckstream, among others. She is also an actress, having appeared in the films “House Party 3” (1994) and “Belly” (1998) as well as in the TV series “Living Single” (1997). Watkins was named one of People Magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” twice in 1995 and 2000.
Watkins is the owner of her own production company, SHEE Entertainment, for which she also serves as the CEO.
Watkins owns a children's boutique called Chase's Closet (named after her daughter), in Houston, Texas, which she started in 2005 with celebrity stylist Tara Brivic Rowntree. She created her own line of children's clothing line called Grungy Glamorous, and a line of scented candles called Anela's Way.
Watkins has been divorced from her rapper husband Mack 10 since 2004. They have one daughter together. After the divorce, she started a relationship with Takeo Spikes of the San Francisco 49ers. She was previously romantically linked to Jodeci band member Dalvin DeGrate in the late 1990s.
“Sickle cell is very excruciating pain. It feels like somebody is stabbing you over and over again. There are sharp pains in my legs, where I can't walk. Sometimes I have to learn to walk all over again. It can make a person feel belittled.” T-boz Watkins
Watkins suffers from sickle cell anemia, but she had chosen to withhold details of her ailment from others for many years before eventually going public in 1996. She went on to become one of the spokespeople for Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. Because of a flare up of sickle cell anemia, she was hospitalized for four months in 2002. She has expressed that her trust in God and her optimism has helped her stay free from the more dangerous effects of sickle cell disease. From 2006 to 2009, Watkins secretly battled a potentially fatal brain tumor, a fact she revealed on CBS' “The Early Show” and in People magazine. She underwent a successful surgery to remove the tumor at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.
Sickle Cell Anemia
Childhood and Family:
Tionne Tenese Watkins was born on April 26, 1970, in Des Moines, Iowa, to parents of both African American and Native American lineage. As a child, she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, and, starting at the age of 7, she had to spend much of her young life in and out of hospitals because of her condition. When she was 9, her family relocated to Atlanta, Georgia.
On August 9, 2000, Tionne was married to rapper Mack 10. Their daughter, Chase Rolison, was born on October 20, 2000. In June 2004, she filed for divorce and asked a restraining order against Mack 10.
Tionne 'T-boz' Watkins, who used to work as a model, manicurist, shampoo girl and hairdresser, began her music career in 1990 by joining the Atlanta local music group 2nd Nature, whose members also included Crystal Jones and Lisa 'Left-Eye' Lopes. The trio finally attracted the attention of Perri “Pebbles” Reid and her husband, LaFace Records chief Antonio “L.A.” Reid. L.A. Reid replaced Jones with Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas, and TLC was born in 1991.
TLC's debut studio album, “Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip,” was released on February 25, 1992 on LaFace Records. The album peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 and No. 3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The album received platinum certification from the RIAA in August 1992 and 4x platinum in May 1996. “Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip” generated four hit singles. The first single “Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg” peaked No. 2 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it their first single to reach the Top 10 on both charts. The second single “Baby-Baby-Baby” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, becoming the group's first No. 1 single on that chart. Both “Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg” and “Baby-Baby-Baby” were certified platinum by the RIAA. The third single “What About Your Friends” reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the group's third consecutive top 10 single, while reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. The single went gold in the US. The fourth and final single “Hat 2 da Back” failed to reach the Top 10 on both the Billboard Hot 10 (#30) and the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks (#14).
In their first national tour, TLC served as the opening act for MC Hammer. It was during this period that Lopes and Thomas discovered that Watkins had sickle cell disease.
Watkins and her bandmates enjoyed even greater success with their second album, “CrazySexyCool,” which was released by LaFace Records on November 15, 1994 in North America. The album reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums Chart. It went 11x platinum in the US, making TLC the first (and to date only) female group in history to ever be awarded diamond status by the RIAA. The album has sold 15 million units worldwide and became the group's biggest selling album to date. “CrazySexyCool” produced four Top 10 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Creep” (#1), “Red Light Special” (#2), “Waterfalls” (#1) and “Diggin' on You” (#5) and won TLC two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “Creep.”
Still in 1994, Watkins and two other members of TLC appeared in the comedy film “House Party 3,” which was directed by Eric Meza and starred Christopher Reid, Christopher Martin and David Edwards. They also recorded the theme song to Nickelodeon's popular sketch comedy “All That,” which ran for ten seasons.
In 1996, Watkins recorded her first solo single, “Touch Myself,” for the soundtrack of the action film “Fled,” starring Laurence Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin. The song, which was written and produced by Dallas Austin, TLC's main producer, reached No. 23 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 48 on the UK Singles Chart. The remix version of the song, featuring Richie Rich, peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music. The same year, she also was featured in rapper Da Brat's Top 20 hit single, “Ghetto Love,” from Brat's second studio album, “Anuthatantrum.”
With TLC, Watkins recorded the song “This Is How It Works” for the soundtrack of the 1996 motion picture “Waiting to Exhale.” It marked the group's first effort following two years of legal debates with LaFace. After signing a new contract with LaFace/Arista, the group were set to reentered the recording the studio in 1997, but preliminary work on their third album had to be delayed when conflict arose between the group and Austin.
In 1997, Watkins made a guest appearance as Camille Harris in an episode of “Living Single” called “Three Men and a Buckeye.” In the following year, she hosted the music show “One World Music Beat.” The same year, Watkins also landed the important supporting role of Tionne on the 1998 crime/drama film “Belly,” starring Nas, DMX and Taral Hicks and directed by Hype Williams.
TLC's third studio album, “FanMail,” hit the music stores on February 23, 1999. The album debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. It was certified 6x platinum by the RIAA. The album spawned two No. 1 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with “No Scrubs” and “Unpretty,” with the first also reaching the top of the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. “FanMail” brought TLC two Grammys for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “No Scrubs”.
Still in 1999, Watkins appeared on Paula Cole's single, “Be Somebody.” She also released a book of her memoir titled “Thoughts,” which was told through essays and poems that she has written about her life experiences.
After the conclusion of the successful “FanMail Tour,” TLC took some time off and pursued personal interest. During this period, Watkins recorded a solo single titled “My Getaway” 2000) for the “Rugrats in Paris Movie Soundtrack.” The song, which she wrote with Brycn Evans, reached No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 14 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and No. 44 on the UK Singles Chart. The same year, she also appeared on Mack 10's album “The Paper Route” on the song “Tight To Def.”
In April 2002, Watkins and Thomas experienced a traumatic event with the death of Lopes. Seven months later, the surviving members of TLC launched the fourth studio album “3D” on November 12, 2002. The album debuted at No. 6 on both the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Top Internet Albums, and at No. 4 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums. The album was certified platinum by the RIAA. It garnered the group two Grammy nominations for Best R&B Album, and Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for the single “Hands Up.” The compilation albums “Now and Forever: The Hits” and “Crazy Sexy Hits: The Very Best of TLC” followed in 2003 and 2007, respectively.
In 2005, Watkins made a guest appearance in YoungBloodZ's single, “It's Good.” She later appeared on DJ Deckstream's 2009 single, “ Someday.”
In 2006, Watkins served as executive producer on the the comedy/crime film “ATL,” directed by Chris Robinson. The film brought her a 2006 Black Movie nomination for Outstanding Motion Picture, sharing with Dallas Austin, Will Smith, Jody Gerson and James Lassiter.
In July 2010, Watkins and Thomas went to Japan to perform shows. More recently, in May 2011, the two performed “No Scrubs” and “Waterfalls” on the “American Idol” season finale and received a standing ovation from the audience.
Grammy: Best R&B Album, “Fanmail,” 2000
Grammy: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, “No Scrubs,” 2000
Grammy: Best R&B Album, “CrazySexyCool,” 1996
Grammy: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, “Creep,” 1996