Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins: Singer, Director, Survivor and “Champion”
Her reality show just ended but Tionne “T-Bozâ€ Watkins has got so much going on she can barely tick off the season’s highlights.
As it turns out “Totally T-Bozâ€ — a short-lived series on TLC — was just the first in a long line of new projects the fem-cee is expected to release now that her health has stabilized. The 42-year-old rapper — a long-time celebrity poster child for sickle-cell anemia — survived a near-fatal brain tumor a few years back, a medical scare that put a monkey wrench in her personal and professional life. Now, MC Mack 10’s ex-wife and mother of their daughter, Chase, has gone back to work, tackling television, music and a whole host of new entrepreneurial ventures.
One of them is a two-parter: a biopic VH1 has signed on to do about T-Boz’s groundbreaking group TLC, as well as an accompanying soundtrack. It will include some music she’s set to record with Canadian rap star Drake.
“[The music] is actually for our new 20th anniversary package — the movie and CD that we’re putting together,â€ T-Boz explains of she and surviving bandmate Rozonda “Chilliâ€ Thomas’ plans to honor their more than two decades in the music business. (Lisa “Left Eyeâ€ Lopez died in a car accident in 2002.)
“We’re going to do two new singles and re-release some of our older hits. As for the movie, we’re hoping to begin shooting at the end of this month, the beginning of March,â€ she says of the duo’s consulting and co-producing roles. “We’re trying to finalize the characters now and I am a little nervous about that because it’s hard to find somebody [who can play you], especially when, you know, when you’re still alive and stuff,â€ she laughs of the film helmed by “Drumlineâ€ director Charles Stone. “We’ll see.â€
T-Boz is also playing the waiting game regarding several other ideas that have been percolating inside her head for awhile. She says they’ll all be developed in due time.
“I’m in the stage where I’m having to turn some stuff down because I can’t do everything at the same time,â€ she shares. “I’m trying to prioritize and strategically plan what’s more important to me now, particularly on the movie and TV front.
“‘ATL’ [with T.I. and Lauren London] was the first movie I executive produced, so when I was down for three years with my brain tumor I started writing movie treatments to keep myself busy,â€ T-Boz explains. “I also started writing TV shows and cartoons. I want to produce more movies. I’m also writing a second book — my first one was called ‘Thoughts’ and it came out in 1999.Â Between my music and the TLC biopic and me doing music with other people it’s getting kind of crazy — I’m being approached about doing skin care lines, writing songs and all kinds of other stuff — so I’m going to have to calm back down again and not be all over the place,â€ she says.
One thing the singer-songwriter will always make time for, however, is charity. T-Boz says she will continue to be a face for sickle-cell anemia, a disease that has plagued her since childhood.
“I just put out a song called “Championâ€ on iTunes,â€ notes the multiple Grammy award winner. “It’s basically a song I recorded to raise money for children living with leukemia and sickle cell — kids who grew up with the disease just like me. I’m asking people to support — to download it only costs $1.29. I wrote this song because I feel like champions aren’t born, they’re made,â€ she says. “And that goes out to anybody who has worked hard for anything — whether it’s sports, track, a boxing match or cancer. It’s for anybody who has ever overcome something in their life that they worked really hard for — you’re a champion.â€
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