When the ladies of TLC-T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli-adorned themselves in condoms and declared they weren't too "Proud To Beg" for what they wanted, feminism reached a new plateau of liberation. Not only was the female hip-hop-soul trio fiercely bold, but their flirtatious spirits were infectious and ushered in a new generation of independent ladies. As the laid-back one of her posse, T-Boz defined über-coolness with her distinct vocals. ESSENCE.com caught up with the single mom to discuss the love of her life and those "ridiculous" rumors about losing her home.
ESSENCE.COM: We need more T-Boz sightings! The last time we saw you was in Times Square during a taping of Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" raising money for a charity. How have you been?
T-BOZ: I'm doing great. I'm healthy and happy. And I love raising awareness and money for kids. The show was interesting and I loved experiencing new things, but I wouldn't do it again.
ESSENCE.COM: And how's motherhood treating you?
T-BOZ: Wonderful. My daughter, Chase Anela, is 8 years old, and she's the sweetest thing and makes me the happiest. She makes me breakfast in bed. She'll make me scrambled eggs or oatmeal in the microwave and serve it to me. She's my world.
ESSENCE.COM: (Laughs.) That is so sweet! Well, there have been reports that a Georgia property of yours is going into foreclosure. Is that true?
T-BOZ: No, I'm not homeless. During my last marriage [to Mack 10], I had a bunch of things that were put in my name. If one of those properties is going into foreclosure then I don't know. Although I've been divorced for five years, there are still a lot of things I'm dealing with on getting straight in that regard. All I know is that the house I live in with my daughter is not. When you pull up my name, my real house doesn't show up because it's not in my real name, because I enjoy my privacy and I'm not trying to have people be able to find me that easily.
ESSENCE.COM: There were also reports of you losing a home in Houston?
T-BOZ: I've never owned a home in Houston. I closed a store in Houston, Chase's Closet, where I sold girls and boys clothing from infants to 12 years. The store is named after my daughter, Chase. For now, I only have the online store (chasescloset.com).
ESSENCE.COM: That explains the locale. Did you see the photos they had of you that were allegedly in front of your Houston home begging for donations?
T-BOZ: It's almost a waste of energy to give an explanation, but I'll just say that the [blogosphere] loves to make up things. I remember that photo and it was on Craiglist.com showing me holding up an autographed picture on the internet saying, "If you come to this address with cash we'll give you an autographed picture." The only thing that irritated me was that they said that the proceeds would be donated to St. Jude's [Children's Research Hospital]. I can take people talking about me all day, but don't use my name to make fun of sick children because that's beyond low and sick. I was a sick kid for a long time, in and out of the hospital most of my life battling my sickle cell, so I don't find anything funny about that kind of joking. Why would anyone target innocent sick children to make fun of? That's not cool at all. I mean someone actually took the time to make up all this stuff.
ESSENCE.COM: How do you think the rumor began?
T-BOZ: Honestly, I don't know. Ever since the news that TLC went bankrupt back in the day, I suppose everyone wants to believe that we are all struggling, but we're doing fine. And if it were true, does it really matter? All those things are material. I get that negativity and violence sells, so people just stick to that formula. I'm just trying to live life and raise a little a girl that I was told I couldn't have because of my sickle cell disease. I'm trying to do something that matters and make a difference with diseases. When I think about having my organs fail, my heartbeat stop and then begin again, this stuff is so trivial and I'm shocked that people believe everything they read because so much of it is far-fetched. My friends call me a miracle, and I am because there were so many times I almost didn't make it when I was dealing with my sickness, but I'm doing so much better and I can only thank God.
Continue to the next page for more from T-Boz on Left Eye and the new man in her life »
ESSENCE.COM: Wow! So how do you combat the rumors?
T-BOZ: I let people say what they want to say. I really don't care. At the end of the day, none of these people are ever going to pay my bills or help get me out the hospital bed when I'm sick. That stuff is a waste of energy to me. You have to wonder if some of these bloggers lives are so bad that you have to harp on other people's problems and fabricate stories. If some of the things are true about people losing their homes, have some compassion because it could be any one of us one day. It's so ridiculous that you have to ask what is going on and half the battle begins with us as Black folks. If we don't sit together and make change and start to treat each other with more respect, then how are we going to help our President? He can't do this alone, so we have to come together and do better.
ESSENCE.COM: Do you miss Left Eye?
T-BOZ: Yes, we were sisters in every sense of the word. I was depressed for two years and just had to take time to be a mom and a normal person and focus on the things that truly mattered. She died the day before my birthday. I got the call around 11 P.M. while I was in the hospital, and my birthday rolled in at midnight so it's always hard for me.
ESSENCE.COM: Were you able to see her before her trip to Honduras?
T-BOZ: Yes. She came to visit me in the hospital when I was sick. We'd had an argument and she wanted to make sure we were cool. I could tell she was troubled but we just squashed whatever we were arguing about. I kept asking her if she was okay and she was like, "Yeah, I'm cool; just taking a lttle vacation." I'm not gonna lie and say we never bumped heads because Lisa definitely went through a time when she was tripping but she apologized to me and that's all I care about. All the other stuff that people say about our relationship are inaccurate. That was my girl. You don't divorce the people you love; you work it out. Things were never that bad between the three of us that we couldn't work it out and we always did.
ESSENCE.COM: Was there ever a time that you thought you wouldn't make peace with one another?
T-BOZ: No matter how much we argued or agreed to disagree, we'd kiss and make up and come back together even stronger, especially when it was the outside world against us. What people don't know is that we are family. My uncle married her mom about eight years ago. They met at my mom's house and I felt a little awkward and my mom was like, "I can't help what grown people do." Lisa was like, "That's cool we're gonna be family for real now." So we were cousins.
ESSENCE.COM: Speaking of which, you're a divorcee. Are you happy in a new relationship.
T-BOZ: Yes, I am. I am with Takeo Spikes. He's a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, No. 51. We've been dating for the past three years and I'm so happy. We are friends and he's so supportive of me and I support his career. He even raises funds for sickle cell because of me and I love him for that.
ESSENCE.COM: So do we hear wedding bells?
T-BOZ: (Laughs.) Girl, I'm working on it. We'll see, but right now I couldn't be more happy.