Ever wonder/what put the thunder deeply in my eyes/take a look and you'll find the sunshine/my life/my life/my life... -- Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes from "My Life"
"Power is about being at the center of your own universe," says Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, the "L" dead in the middle of hit pop trio TLC. Her huge brown eyes, both the left and right one, begin to dance when she spots the Lacotasu tribal headdress she is to adorn. "Oooh," she whispers. "I like this."
You see, Left Eye is herself a cheif of sorts. The unlikely kind. She is the type of chief that many young women like her become--chief by default, chief by necessity, chief by will. For us--a new urban magazine, young, female, and on the edge--she was the perfect subject to introduce this precarious matter of power. We chose her to top our New Power Generation pile because of the subtle ways in which she deconstructs power's commonly held notions. Ever clear, of course, that Left Eye has had her share of difficulties. For bad decisions and bad men past, she's paid hefty dues. It was only natural she'd be labeled the crazy one--along with the zany hats and out there outfits, Left-Eye set fires and shit.
But as women, we know things are never as simple as they look. One of the greatest minds of the 20th century, Frederick Douglass once said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand." Long over her tormented love-affair, the abuse and self-abuse, Lisa's demands of late, have all been herself. "It hit me in the head one day. I was frustrated with what was going on around me. i guess the day you understand power, is the day you realize you don't have it," she remarks.
Today is a new day for our power girl. Cleaned up from the stench of negative controversy, she is remaking herself. Like Vanessa Williams, the beautiful woman once thought could never clear her public image, Left Eye, too, took control of her life back from others. MTV peeped it. Offered her a show ("The Cut!") which she did so unexpectedly well, they're gearing up for next season. Then she made an even iller cut (Cradle Rock) with the supersexy Method Man. And, best yet, our chief has found love again. "It's easy for me to fall in love. I'm not the type who believes you only love once. People are beautiful, incredible, amazing," she says.
As far as ventures go which exclude her music partners T-Boz and Chilli, Left-Eye makes it clear they are each other's biggest supporters. Their new album Fanmail, is set to sell another 10 million. "But," she explains, "we're growing up and would never want to hold one another back. We [branch out] for each other."
Watching the diminutive Left Eye prance onto the set of the Atlanta studio in her new crown reminded me of a profound something Iyania Vanzant once said, "There are no circumstances around you more powerful than the power within."
From Honey Magazine Spring 1999