BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC
(I’m taking some time off for vacation – my colleague Rodney Ho (firstname.lastname@example.org) is kind enough to fill in with any important music news in my absence.)
The way Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins explained it, the title of her new book, “A Sick Life,” has more than one meaning.
“I have sickle cell anemia and it’s a non-curable disease. But I’ve also had an awesome life. I got to work with Michael Jackson. I got in a lot of fights! I’ve had a sick life and that means a lot of things.”
Watkins was speaking recently at a gathering in Rich Auditorium at Woodruff Arts Center to promote her memoir.
Though TLC – Watkins, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and the deceased Lisa Lopes – originated in Atlanta, where Thomas still lives, Watkins is currently a Los Angeles resident.
It didn’t take her long to remember the worst part of being in Atlanta.
“The humidity…Jesus! I forgot,” she said, garnering many knowing laughs.
In a freewheeling discussion moderated by music industry veteran Shanti Das, Watkins was at times emotional – she teared up talking about the cousin she lost to sickle cell, as well as another cousin in Illinois, “who the cops just killed” – funny and always candid.
T-Boz talks about Lisa Lopes:
She talked about her 2009 stint on “Celebrity Apprentice” with particular bite.
“I didn’t like him,” she said of reality-TV-star-turned-President Donald Trump. “I didn’t want any of the election crap because I didn’t like him then…we’d go in (the conference room) with his orange behind and everybody would change and kiss his butt. I didn’t like the way he treated people.”
Watkins didn’t have much love for that season’s runner-up Annie Duke, either.
“I wanted to beat Annie Duke down!” she said. “I was sick (on the show) and she kept trying my patience. But as soon as I got better, I let her know.
The reason she did the show, she said, was to bring awareness to her disease.
“I didn’t know it was going to involve six days a week and 15-16 hour days starting at 5 a.m. The food was always late and the cold when it got there. They always wanted you sleep-deprived, hungry and evil.”
Check out T-Boz’s comments on some other aspects of her career.
T-Boz talks about the origin of “Unpretty”: