TLC‘s status as one of the greatest girl-groups of all-time is undeniable.
However, disaster, dodgy decisions, and dodgier business deals have plagued the trio from their debut right up until today.
It’s an unfortunate trajectory for a Grammy winning ensemble, yet one that continues to be the reality of TLC.
Because, in a shocking move, today has seen surviving members Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins and Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas launch a Kickstarter campaign which asks fans to help them fund the recording of their final album.
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Insisting that they’re not strapped for cash, the ladies instead tout the campaign as the perfect way of getting “our fans getting involved.”
T-Boz explained in the statement:
“At this point we’ve got the fans who have been with us since day one. With this album on Kickstarter we can bring them all together as our collaborators. I can’t think of a better way to create our last album.”
Minimum donations start $5, which immediately awards donors an instant-grat track. As is routine with such campaigns, the “rewards” get more alluring the more one contributes. VIP concert tickets, a spot in a fitness class with Chilli or some of T-Boz’s costumes are just some of the incentives given to encourage higher hand-outs.
The campaign will reportedly go live today, something the duo’s official social media accounts have begun teasing:
With all due respect, this is a mucky, smelly mess.
An act with TLC’s talent and success narrative should not be reduced to asking fans for money. Because, whichever way it’s diced, sliced, or spiced, that is exactly what they’re doing here.
In all fairness to the group, it’s clear “something” went down following the airing of their VH1 biopic in 2013. Many will recall that they re-signed with L.A Reid, this time under Epic Records, and released a greatest hits compilation which was billed a prelude to a new full-length album. All went eerily quiet, though, once Reid’s ex wife (and the group’s former manager) Pebbles took public aim at them for her depiction in the movie. Suffice to say, the ladies are no longer with Epic.
Still, in an industry where “perception is everything”, thinly-veiled requests for money only serve to dent the TLC legacy.
Like, is a “final album” even necessary? Their discography is almost flawless as it is and there are many things T-Boz and Chilli could and should be doing in the industry that could help elongate their careers. Presenting and creating new groups being immediate examples. And if indeed an album is what they desire, then why not take a cue from SWV and use the vehicle of reality TV?
This just feels like an unfortunate and unnecessary chapter in a story that’s already compelling as it is.
That said, we’ll readily eat crow and support the music if the ladies pull “it” off, but we’re not holding our breath.