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Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas
Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas

  
All her life, her own face had been a mystery. The almond eyes, straight ebony hair and voluptuous lips were a striking, but mysterious, mosaic: neither black nor white, neither Asian nor Hispanic. It made for a tough childhood for Rozonda Thomas, better known as Chilli, the melodic voice of the Grammy-winning R&B group TLC.

Miss Rozanda Ocelean Thomas was born on February 27, 1971 in Atlanta to a 17 year old girl named Ava Thomas.  Ava had an fling with a soldier stationed in Fort Benning,GA.  His name is Abdul Ali. He's of East Indian and Middle Eastern descent. He left Ava without noticing that she was pregnant with Rozanda.This reminds me of a romantic story written by a French author, Alphonse de Lamartine.  Lamartine's was about a Neapolitan fisher girl named Graziella, who had fallen in love with a sophisticated Frenchman who eventually abandons her in order to marry someone of  his class.   Chilli's mother didn't want to raise her lovely child on  welfare,  so she had her mother and  extended family members to raise her daugther so she could finish high school on time.   Her family lived in the projects in Atlanta.  Her mother eventually married.  Chilli's first words to her mother  were "I love you."  Later on,  she credited her mother for keeping her out of trouble.  Speaking of her mother,  she told an interviewer:  "Mom had me when she was 17.  She could have easily said, 'Let me get on welfare.'"  Her proudest accomplishments were to be levelheaded and successful.   Again,  she credited her mother for  helping her toughen up because, according to Chilli:  "I'm extremely sensitive and would cry at the drop of the hat."

While growing up, Chilli had  experienced racism first hand. She had fights with her fellow students, was harassed by neighbors at the housing project while growing up, and was discriminated against by strangers because of her multiracial heritage.  She had a hard time telling them because she never knew her father. She said, "When you look different, it's a big deal." She didn't allow racism to affect her while she was attending  school.  She graduated from high school in 1989.  She enrolled in college soon after. Originally,  she wanted to become a fashion designer. Instead,  she became a dancer for the late hip hop/rapper, Damian Dame.  In less than two years, she joined Pebbles' up and coming hip hop group, TLC after Crystal dropped out .  Pebbles had an obstacle.  Chilli's first name is Rozonda.  Pebbles  nicknamed her Chilli so it would sound  right for her first girl group. It would have been a total disaster had she not come up with new nickname for Rozonda.  Pebbles also said the Chilli adds all the hot sauce and she did delivered it to her devoted fans.

In 1992,  TLC were on a roll with top 40 hits such as "Ain't Too Proud To Beg," "Baby Baby Baby," and "What About Your Friends?"  They also generated a lot of controversy due to their dress and music.  They toured with MC Hammer in '92. In '94, they achieve even more with their second album.  "Creep" was in the top 10 as was "Waterfalls" and "Diggin on You".  Soon after their second album release,  group had to file for bankruptcy in 1995.   the In the same year, Chilli  had pleaded on Sally Jessy Raphael to locate  her absentee father.  Ali Abdul of Atlantic City  NJ, came on the show to  reveal that he was her father .     Her father also brough his children to the show.  It made her very happy that she found her father.  The following year,  she was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in  the annual People magazine issue.

In 1997, she gave birth to her son, Tron.  She said that he was her "perfect life." She had always wanted to be a mother since she was nineteen.   In recent years, she had been on the modeling scene.  In the same year, she started a publishing company called T-Ron, after her son.  In 1998, she signed a contract with Coach leather.  She has  been a model for Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.  In 1999, TLC released their third album, Fanmail, with Chilli predominating the vocals .  They toured around the world and performed at various award shows,  most notably,  the 1999 VH-1 Fashion Awards.  During the same time period,  the group was the focus of VH-1's "Behind the Music" special.   Several years ago there were  rumors that TLC would break up. Chilli denied those reports, but she said that she is spending less time with the group so she could be with her son, Tron.  Recently, she was  number two in VH-1's top 25 sexiest people of R&B.  In June 2000, she attended the wedding of her bandmate T-Boz. Her other bandmate, Left Eye didn't show up.  Later that year, her bandmate, T-Boz, gave birth to her daughter, Chase.

During the same year,   she has done two made for TV movies.   She worked  with Vanessa L. Williams in "A Diva's Christmas Carol," a modern update of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol."  She played  a ghost who constantly haunts Vanessa's character  because of  her ruthlessness.  She told her former bandmate to change her  greedy, wicked ways or else.  Chilli  also played the guidance counselor for troubled black girls on "Love Song,"which featured  singer and native Atlantan,  Monica.    She was also featured in a straight to video movie in late 2001.

Politically, Chilli is a liberal.  In the most contested presidential election in the history of the nation, Chilli had criticized the conservatism of George W. Bush.   My hope for Chilli right now is for her to continue to develop her God-given talents.  I was very disappointed that Chilli had a cameo role in Love Song.  However, she performed well in her role of  ghost Marli on A Diva's Christmas Carol last month.  Vannesa L. Williams and Chilli have done a duet  song for that movie.    Last March,  she appeared  in the Outkast video, "So Fresh, So Clean."  At the end of the video,  Big Boi kissed Chilli. In her second video apperance,  "You Remind Me,"  she appeared with Usher, wearing a  very scanty outfit. She was also in Usher's video, "You've Got it Bad, " in 2001.  In the same year,  she showed up at  the wedding of Toni Braxton with Usher.  Their  photo  was in the June 2001 issue of Ebony Magazine.  

In April, 2002,  TLC  lost a very dear  bandmate, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.  Lopes was killed in
a car accident in Honduras.  She would have been 31 years old this year.  Ms. Lopes had a lot going for her.  She was working at the herbal institute in that country as well as helping out with needy children at a daycare center there.  We will always remember her in our hearts.

In late 2002, Chilli and T-Boz went ahead and release their forth album.  That album is dedicated to the late Lisa Lopes.  In that album, it's a sampling of R&B, latin, rap, hip hop, and pop.  It's definitely a crowd pleaser album.  Chilli and T-Boz were on the cover of December's Honey Magazine.  People magazine once again honor Chilli with the 50 Most Beautiful People along with her beau, Usher Raymond in early May of  2003.   Unfortunately, the couple broke up in early 2004, citing incompatibility.  At the time of his breakup, he released his latest CD entitled "Confessions."  Chilli moved on.   Recently,  she and T-Boz are doing a reality show for the UPN network.  It's a talent search to find a replacement for the late Lisa Lopes.  I hope the show finds a charismatic talent to take TLC out of its premature retirement.  It's currently running on the UPN network. They are currently featured in the August 8th issue of People Magazine.   She's also featured in a four-page spread in October 2005 issue of Maxim Magazine.  In it, she said that she isn't dating right now and that she is celibate for the time being.