Lisa Lopes was a legendary entertainer whose name is remembered several years after her untimely death due to her contributions to the music industry in her short but impactful life. In just 30 years on earth, she held sway with a hip-hop group known as T.L.C, comprising of three gifted acts, where she was more or less behind the group’s artistry and through which she garnered five Grammy awards.
Aside from her great achievements, she also made headlines in a negative way when she set her then boyfriend’s mansion on fire which led to her arrest and detention. But even though she is dead, her legacy still lives on! Read through to know how she died.
Who Was Lisa Lopes?
Lisa Nicole Lopes was born on May 27, 1971, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Ronald Lopes Sr (father) who was a US Army officer and Wande Denise (mother), who was a seamstress.
She had two younger siblings; a brother named Ronald Jr and a sister named Raina Anitra, professionally known as Reigndrop. Her father was a talented musician who masterfully played instruments like harmonica, piano, saxophone, and clarinet. More so, he was a strict and domineering man who didn’t spare those attributes even at home. Lisa grew up in the custody of her paternal grandmother following the divorce of her parents when she was still in high school. She attended Philadelphia High School for Girls before establishing herself as a full-time musician.
She would later adopt “Left Eye” as her stage name during the prime of her music career. Lisa’s musical artistry began at age 5; she played with a toy keyboard, composed songs, and would assemble her siblings to form a music trio which performed at events and churches.
In 1991, Lisa Lopes together with Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas formed a group called T.L.C. The acronym was the initials of their stage names; T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli. They released their first studio album titled Ooooooohhh… On the TLC in 1992 which announced them to the music industry as it sold about 6 million copies worldwide and eventually debuted No. 14 on the US Billboard 200.
The success of the first album was followed by their 2nd studio album titled Crazy Sexy Cool on November of 1994. It had 23 million copies sales and spotted No. 15 on the US Billboard 200. In addition, th Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album eleven-times platinum; it got nominated for six Grammy Awards and several notable nominations. The group eventually won two awards, as Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for Creep.
Their third studio album titled Fanmail dropped on February 23, 1999, and it was also a commercial success, with 14 million copies sold worldwide. It clinched the No. 1 spot on US Billboard 200, garnering eight nominations, of which the group won three – Best R&B Album, Best R&B Performed by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best R&B Song. After they embarked on FainMail tours to support their third album, several internal issues erupted among them that caused them to split, each went solo, though they remained in the label, Arista Records.
Lisa floated music projects, creating Left Eye Productions where she discovered new talents and mentored some artists. She also helped them to secure record deals. She created a family studio named UNI studio for the public to record solo projects with Ronald her brother, as the manager.
She began to work on her first solo 13-track studio album titled Supernova which was finally released on August 14, 2001, after several postponements. The album was first released in the UK before being released in Australia on November 12, 2001. The album had a single dedicated to her dad titled A New Star is Born.
She began working on her 2nd album titled N.I.N.A in 2002, under Death Row Records. Lisa had the opportunity to work with big acts such as Missy Elliott, Ray J and David Bowie on the project but she met her untimely death on April 25, 2002. However, few tracks from the unreleased album were later uploaded to YouTube and were also sampled in the fourth album of the defunct T.L.C titled 3D. The album was released on October 10, 2002, 7 months after Lisa passed on. The album debuted at No. 6 on the US Billboard 200.
In 2008, a posthumous honorary album titled Eye Legacy was released. The album had some of her unreleased songs and some from her Supernova album.
Relationship With Andre Rison And Fire Incident
Lisa was in a relationship with a former American footballer named Andre Rison and along the line, in 1994, they had issues in which Lisa claimed that Andre beat her up. With revenge on her mind, she set Andre’s sneakers on fire and the fire escalated and consumed a mansion worth $1.3 million which they both lived in at that time. Lisa was later sentenced to 5 years probation with therapy. After her rehab, rumors surfaced about a wedding with Rison, which later was discredited by People magazine.
Death – How Did Lisa Lopes Die?
Lisa Lopes’s spectacular music career came to a halt on April 25, 2002, in a ghastly motor accident. She was said to be driving a rented Mitsubishi Montero SUV with her sister and others on a highway in Roma, in an attempt to avoid collision with an oncoming car, she lost control and strayed, hitting two trees, rolling over several times. While the car was rolling, Lisa and three others were thrown out of the car’s window. While others survived the horrible accident, only Lisa died instantly from neck injuries and head impact.
Her funeral took place in New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Lithonia, Georgia on May 2, 2002, in the presence of her family, friends like the Mary Mary Gospel duo who sang at her funeral, and thousands of fans. Her final resting place is Hillandale Memorial Gardens in Lithonia.
Here Are Things We Have Learned After Her Death
A documentary which Lisa Lopes was working on before her death was released and premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival in April of 2007. The documentary titled The Last Days of Left Eye showed the final 27 days of Lisa’s life. Some clips from the documentary showed Lisa alongside her sister and brother in Honduras for a 30-day spiritual retreat.
In the released documentary, Lisa revealed about a struggling mother she met while she was on rehab, she later adopted the woman’s daughter who was eight at the time.
After her death, an episode where Lisa alongside Joey Mclntyre, Tyrese, Nick Lachey, and Lee Ann Womack appeared on singers’ edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in July 2001 where she dropped the $125,000 question and won $32,000 was shown and dedicated to her.
A foundation named Lisa Lopes Foundation was established by her family in 2003, to provide necessary alms to the needy and impoverished youths. As at 2012, the Foundation began to host annual music festival known as Left Eye Music Fest to sustain the legacies of Lisa Lopes.