- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 30, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) — Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes was known as the "crazy one" of the multiplatinum R&B; trio TLC. Her animated onstage antics and her sometimes troublesome personal life made her perhaps the best-known member of the Grammy-winning group.
Close friends and associates, however, say that although the singer played up her volatile reputation, when she was offstage, she sought the tranquillity that had eluded her for much of her life.
"Everybody has an image of Lisa. She was the crazy one, the free spirit," says Bill Diggins, TLC's manager. "What she also was [was] this compassionate, soulful woman who loved working in Honduras with underprivileged kids."
Miss Lopes, who was to turn 31 next month, died Thursday night when she apparently lost control of the sports utility vehicle she was driving in the Central American country. Seven other persons were in the car, but she was the only fatality.
Miss Lopes was arguably the most vibrant member of TLC, the Atlanta-based trio that debuted in 1992 and went on to become the best-selling female group of all time.
Her bold rhymes, which touched on everything from sex to self-empowerment, along with her brash attitude, led to her image as the wild child of the group. It sharply contrasted with Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins' steely demeanor and Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas' glamorous image.
Sometimes, it seemed as if her stage persona and her real-life personality were the same. At times, she criticized her fellow group members and seemed to behave erratically.
She was at her most infamous in 1994, when she was arrested for setting fire to the home of her former fiance, ex-NFL player Andre Rison. She was sentenced to a halfway house and five years of probation and was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and to undergo alcohol and drug rehabilitation as well as counseling about domestic violence .
Jay Marose, a publicist for Miss Lopes, says the experience helped her realize how valuable her life was.
"She was thankful she got that close to the edge because it allowed her to look back at herself and really grow," he says.
Miss Lopes devoted much of her time to charities; in Honduras, she helped promote literacy among the children there, Mr. Diggins says.
She also remained dedicated to her career. After the release of 1999's "Fanmail," she helped create the moderately successful R&B; group Blaque, a facsimile of TLC the female trio even had a rapper modeled after Miss Lopes.
Her attempt at a solo career was less successful. Last year's "Supernova" was released internationally only after it failed to spark interest in the United States. She was working on another solo project for Suge Knight's Tha Row label when she died.
In a statement Friday, Knight said he had no plans to release the material in the near future and mourned her as "a rebel. She wasn't afraid to go against the grain."
Mr. Marose says everything was coming together for Miss Lopes, and she finally had the peace she had sought for so many years.
"She was fulfilled," he says.
Mr. Diggins says her family hoped that she would be remembered for her artistic endeavors instead of the sensationalist parts of her life.
"It's interesting, because Lisa, as tiny as she was, she had a bigger- than-life personality. Unfortunately, the bigger-than-life incidents are the ones that stuck with the press," he says.

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