Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes
The feisty “L” in successful R&B girl group TLC, Left Eye made her mark as the band’s only rapper. She cofounded the award winning, multiplatinum band in 1990 and they shortly afterwards signed to LaFace Records. Their early style was influenced by new jack swing and hip hop, but later matured to a smoother, sexier, modern R&B image. Lisa stood out with her oversized hats, colourful outfits and various tattoos; she also famously covered the left eye of her glasses with an unwrapped condom in their early promotional appearances. Left Eye made headlines in 1994 when she was sentenced to five years’ probation and a stint in rehab for setting fire to her boyfriend NFL star Andre Rison’s shoes in a bathtub after an argument, which subsequently led to the unintentional burning down of his mansion. Highly competitive in nature, she notoriously challenged her band-mates in a letter published in Entertainment Weekly to release solo albums simultaneously so that they could see who the most talented member was. She was in the process of creating her second solo album and in talks with Suge Knight to join new label Tha Row Records when she came to her untimely death at age 30. On April 25, 2002, she was involved in a car accident in Honduras, where she was enjoying a 30-day spiritual retreat with her friends and family. Lisa was the only fatality out of eight passengers.