Losing Left Eye: 8 Years Later

Posted by Jessica Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lisa Nicole Lopes tragically lost her life 8 years ago today in a fatal car accident in Honduras.  And while we could dwell on her not being here, I'd rather celebrate the 30 years she spent enriching the lives of her friends, family, and fans.  Here's a look back.

Lisa Nicole Lopes (also known as “Left Eye”) was born on May 27, 1971 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was highly thought of as a creative and spiritual rapper, singer, songwriter, friend, daughter, and sister. Her career began when she became a member of a female trio originally called Second Nature. The group eventually changed their name to TLC which represented the first initials of the three founding members, Tionne, Lisa, and Crystal. Crystal ended up not working out for the group, and singer Rozonda Thomas was brought in as the new third member. To maintain the theme of the band’s name, Thomas took on the nickname “Chilli”. Tionne ended up becoming T-boz, and Lisa renamed herself “Left Eye”, after she was once told she had beautiful eyes, " particularly the left eye."

TLC exploded onto the music scene in February 1992 with the album Ooooooohhh.... On the TLC Tip. The album sold a staggering 6 million copies worldwide and produced 3 hit singles (and 1 other). After a few years of touring and taking a small break, the group came back with their sophomore album, CrazySexyCool in December 1994, which produced 4 hit singles, including the iconic smash "Waterfalls". The project was met with critical acclaim and solidified TLC as the biggest female group of all time. The album sold over 15 million copies worldwide, was awarded with the 1996 Grammy for Best R&B album, and today is considered by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the 500 greatest records of all time. TLC’s third album, FanMail was released in 1999 and was also a commercial success following the release of it's first single "No Scrubs"; the album sold in excess of 10 million copes worldwide and took home two Grammy’s: Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Best R&B album. After the success of FanMail, Lisa started to explore her own creative endeavors and began expanding her solo career.

“Left Eye” was a featured rapper on several artists’ records during her solo career, including Melanie C of the Spice Girls, Donell Jones, *N Sync, and Toni Braxton. She spent much of her free time after the headlining tour of FanMail recording her debut solo album, Supernova. The album was only released overseas only, but was later remixed and combined with unreleased material to create the posthumous album Eye Legacy.  Lisa's solo project fueled rumors that TLC were braking up, and Lisa further complicated the situation when she called out T-Boz and Chilli in Entertainment Weekly with The Challenge: she wanted each member to make a solo album and the girl with the highest sales wins.  T-Boz and Chilli have yet to release solo albums.  But at the end of the day, TLC never broke up, and always remained sisters and friends.  Lisa was quoted on their FanMail tour as saying it: "TLC is forever."

While working on songs for the fourth TLC album, 3D, Lisa began a spiritual retreat in Honduras, which was Lisa’s “home away from home” where she went to get away from the chaos of the media and press. Lisa wanted to film a documentary during this retreat so her fans could catch a glimpse of her real life. She did not get to finish filming. She was only 30 years old at the time of her death. Her funeral was held at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia where over 30,000 fans came from around the world to say goodbye to the Hip-Hop and R&B icon, and every fan was allowed to pay their respects. Engraved upon her white casket was her verse from “Waterfalls”...

“Dreams are hopeless aspirations, in hopes of coming true, believe in yourself, the rest is up to me and you”


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