Some have labeled her “flamboyant.” Others said she was “loud.” Many called her “selfish,” “controversial” and a “problemed-person.” What if, however, she was simply a sensitive, creative soul that was more committed to the evolution of her true self than being stifled by societal expectations of her presentation? Would people be less judgmental and more loving if they understood what she seemed to know — the factual adage that “life is short?”
Meet Lisa Nicole Lopes, also known as “Left Eye.” Lopes won four Grammy Awards with the 1990s all-girl group TLC. She died at 30 years old.
At 19, Lopes went to Atlanta to audition for what would later become known as “one of the biggest female groups of all time” — TLC. The group introduced itself to the world in 1992 with its first album “Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip.” It sold six million copies worldwide which was phenomenal. More hit albums soon followed. By the end of the ‘90s, however, Lopes had had enough. She wanted to pursue separate projects as well as develop new musical talent.
Lopes is quoted as saying in the May 1999 issue of “Vibe” magazine: “I’ve graduated from this era. I cannot stand 100 percent behind this TLC project and the music that is supposed to represent me.”
At that time, her decision did not sit well with the remaining TLC members. Lopes held her position. She went on to expand her solo career as well as help develop new musical artists. No one knew that she would be dead a short time later.
Have you ever made a decision to pursue something that seemed greater than you but your “group” strongly objected? The master plan is always greater than self. Following it is not always easy.
Because of Lopes’ determination, she was able to devote her attention to assisting the people her heart called her to help. In addition, the bond between Lopes and the members of TLC was greater than the friction between them. Before her death, they reached a place of peace rooted in the love they sincerely shared for one another.
Lopes acquired numerous headlines after first being introduced to the world in 1992. Some were positive. Others were not. Her honesty about her struggles with alcoholism and her involvement in abusive relationships warns us to not equate “success” with an absence of struggle.
Lopes’ life illustrates the power of dreams. She dreamt to sing. She dreamt to rap. She dreamt to be a member of a successful musical group. She dreamt to be a solo artist. She dreamt to discover and mentor new talent. She dreamt to help children and families in need. She even dreamt of her death.
Engraved on her casket are the following lyrics that Lopes rapped in the TLC song, “Waterfalls:”
Dreams are hopeless aspirations, in hopes of coming true, believe in yourself, the rest is up to me and you.