I'm Listening: TLC's Chilli Shares How The Group's Mental Health Message Gave Them Purpose

'We decided to make it a good thing'
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Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas will join RADIO.COM's I’m Listening broadcast Wednesday, September 23 at 6PM, to share her experience with mental health, and how she elevated it to the forefront of TLC’s music during the 1990’s.

She spoke with RADIO.COM, explaining the group’s impetus to write socially conscious lyrics. “Everything that we did and still continue to do is just naturally who we are as women,” she said. “We feel like the things we talk about the most are from a woman’s point of view, but a lot of our songs guys can relate to, also.”

TLC exploded onto the popular music scene with their 1994 platinum album CrazySexyCool. The crowning track “Waterfalls” tackled issues around HIV/AIDS. Chilli says it was important to educate a younger audience on the importance of safe sex. “We decided to make it a good thing. We wanted to promote safe sex. We would always say ‘priority is the key.’”

As the group continued putting out socially conscious chart topping hits, their message expanded to a feminist base of listeners. Thomas says TLC didn’t initially intend on propagating the rhetoric, but soon accepted it. “It was so crazy in the beginning. Parents calling us feminists. At first we were like, ‘Feminists? We’re not feminists.’ But when we thought about it, I’m like ‘Yeah, we are.’”

Chilli and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins continued making music under the TLC moniker following the devastating 2002 death of bandmate Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.

In the lead up to September 23, we're also sharing moments from past I'm Listening shows here and at ImListening.org, as well as highlights from this year's line up, including Luke CombsKaty PerryCage The Elephant, and more opening up about mental health.

Join us for I'm Listening, on all RADIO.COM stations and on the RADIO.COM app.

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