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Actress Keke Palmer was just being born when TLC, the musical trio of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Rozonda “Chili” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins first hit the music scene. Now both TLC and Palmer are 20 years old and VHI dramatizes their story in “Crazysexycool” airing on VH1 Monday night at 9 p.m.
Palmer, who has said that she and her girlfriends dressed up and played around as the group growing up, is playing Chili. Rapper Li’l Mama is Left Eye and actress/singer Drew Sidora of “The Game” is playing T-Boz. At first, the casting led to widespread derision by TLC fans, but pics and clips from the biopic started changing people’s minds when they saw how accurately the TLC era was recreated.
The movie delves into all the issues and problems that challenged the group even during their 90’s heyday where they were then the best-selling girl group of all time. (Destiny’s Child has since eclipsed them.)
From their acrimonious break with manager Pebbles, to Lopes’ s infamous torching of NFL boyfriend Andre Rison’s mansion to the group’s bankruptcy at the height of their fame, everything is covered.
“It really showed true how authentic they were as a group,” Palmer told the Tom Joyner Morning Show.“All the hard things they had to go through they needed to go through them in order to make the music that inspired a generation.”
Palmer, now in Philly shooting a coming of age film through Queen Latifah’s production company called “Brotherly Love,” says that playing Chili, who she’d long admired, was challenging in the beginning. “It was nerve wracking at first, but after a while we became such good friends that when they said ‘Chili’s going to be on the set today’ I would be excited.”
Thomas and Watkins are executive producers of the biopic. They told EW.com that reliving Lopes’ death was by far the toughest of the things included in “Crazysexycool.” Lopes’ untimely death at the age of 30 in 2002 is of course included in the movie. Palmer says that the tragedies that the group went through were reflected in their music and that’s what ultimately has given the group such an influential legacy.
“I think the main thing is they put all their lives on the line through the music. So that’s the even more impressive part. They went through a lot of stuff but because of the gift they had through music, they shared their stories and that’s how they were able to touch other people,” Palmer says.
“Crazysexycool” airs October 21 at 9 p.m. on VHI. TLC’s new album “20” the soundtrack to the film is out now.