Tionne Watkins

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Tionne Watkins
Tionne Watkins 2016.jpg
Watkins performing in 2016
Background information
Birth name Tionne Tenese Watkins
Also known as T-Boz
Born (1970-04-26) April 26, 1970 (age 47)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Genres Pop, R&B, hip hop, soul
  • Singer-songwriter
  • actress
  • author
  • radio personality
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1990–present
Labels Epic
Associated acts TLC

Tionne Tenese Watkins (born April 26, 1970),[1] better known by her stage name T-Boz, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, author, and executive producer. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Watkins rose to fame in the early 1990s as the lead singer of the girl-group TLC. She has won four Grammy Awards for her work with TLC.

Early life[edit]

Tionne Watkins was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 26, 1970, to James and Gayle Watkins. She is of African American, Native American and Irish descent.[2][3] As a child, Watkins was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia.[4] Since the age of seven, she has been in and out of hospital due to her condition.[4] Watkins' family moved from Des Moines to Atlanta, Georgia, when she was nine years old.



Crystal Jones held auditions for a singing group and chose Watkins, and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. The group eventually attracted the attention of Perri "Pebbles" Reid and her husband, Antonio "L.A." Reid, head of LaFace Records. Jones was replaced with Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and the group was signed in 1991 as TLC. They went on to become one of the most successful girl groups in history with over 65 million records sold worldwide.T-Boz is one of 2 singers of TLC as a contralto.[5] T-Boz has won four Grammy Awards for her work with TLC.[6]

In late 2011, VH1 announced plans to produce a biopic on TLC to air in 2013.[7] Watkins and Thomas signed on as producers. The role of Watkins was portrayed by actress/singer Drew Sidora in CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. Watkins' daughter, Chase, portrayed a younger Tionne in the film.

Solo work[edit]

In addition to her work with TLC, Watkins recorded solo singles, including: "Touch Myself" (For the soundtrack of the 1996 film Fled) and "My Getaway" (for the soundtrack to the 2000 film Rugrats in Paris: The Movie). In addition, she has been a featured vocalist on such songs as: "Ghetto Love" with Da Brat, "Changes" with Society of Soul, "He Say She Say" with Keith Sweat, "Different Times" with Raphael Saadiq and "Be Somebody" with Paula Cole. Watkins has appeared on a song by her TLC bandmate Rozonda Thomas, entitled "Gameproof".

Television and film[edit]

Watkins has worked as an actress, appearing in Hype Williams' 1998 film Belly. She also appeared in an episode of Living Single, the first time guest-starring along with her bandmates and another time without them. Watkins also served as one of the executive producers for the 2006 movie ATL featuring the rapper, T.I.. She was also featured in the music video for "It's Good" with YoungBloodZ, and appeared on The Real Housewives of Atlanta as a friend of Kandi Burruss. In November 2016 she began a two-month acting stint as Sheila, a hardened prison inmate, on Days of our Lives. In 2017, she starred in "Trolland", a direct-to-DVD CGI-animated movie as Jarvik, a cookie loving troll.

Other work[edit]

Watkins published a book of semi-autobiographical poetry called Thoughts on November 3, 1999.[8] In 2005, Watkins and stylist Tara Brivic (who would later appear regularly on Totally T-Boz) opened a children's boutique called Chase's Closet (named after her daughter). It was shut down years later.[citation needed]

Watkins' reality TV show Totally T-Boz, premiered January 1, 2013 on the TLC network.[5] The show chronicled Watkins' quest to create a solo album, reunite with bandmember, Chilli, and her life with her daughter Chase.

During 2013, alongside group-mate Chilli they executive produced the VH1 biopic CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story which aired on October 21, 2013, actress Drew Sidora portrayed Watkins. Her daughter Chase portrayed a younger Tionne in the film. They also released a soundtrack album 20 marking both the band's 20-plus year legacy in entertainment business and the release of their biopic, this album included a new track written by singer Ne-Yo, “Meant to Be.” They also had guest vocals on J. Cole's track "Crooked Smile". TLC celebrated their return with a series of highly publicized performances which included 2 dates: VH1's Mixtape Festival in Hershey, PA on July 27, 2013 and Drake's OVO Fest in Toronto on August 5, 2013. They released a new studio album June 30, 2017 which failed to meet the success of prior works selling only 9,000 copies in it's first week.

Watkins has made a guest appearance as Pam Grier in one episode of the Adult Swim series Black Dynamite.

She has been the face of multiple short-lived phone applications including ItsASecret and Valleyhood.

Personal life[edit]

Watkins has sickle cell anemia, and opened up to the public about the disease in 1996; she later became one of the spokespersons for Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. In 2002, she was hospitalized for four months due to a flare-up of sickle-cell anemia. She has stated that her faith in God and her optimism have helped her stay free from the more serious effects of sickle-cell disease.[4]

On August 19, 2000, Watkins married rapper Mack 10. The couple's daughter, Chase Anela Rolison, was prematurely born a few months later on October 20, 2000. In June 2004, she filed for divorce, and requested a restraining order against Mack 10.[9] In 2012, Watkins moved with Chase from Atlanta to Los Angeles, California in order for Chase to be closer to her father.

In October 2009, Watkins revealed on CBS' The Early Show[10] and in People magazine[11] that she had secretly battled a potentially fatal brain tumor for three years. In March 2006, she was diagnosed as having a strawberry-sized acoustic neuroma on her vestibular nerve that affected her balance, weight, hearing, sight, and facial movement. Many physicians refused to remove the tumor due to her sickle-cell-related complications, leaving her alternatives grim. Ultimately, she underwent surgery at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.[12]

In June 2016, Watkins announced that she had adopted a 10-month-old son named Chance.[13]



As lead artist[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions
Year Title Chart positions Album
Hot 100
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs UK Singles Chart
1996 "Touch Myself" 40 23 48 Fled
2000 "My Getaway" 44 Rugrats in Paris: The Movie: Music from the Motion Picture

Featured songs[edit]

Year Title Chart Positions Album
Hot 100
UK Singles Chart
1991 "Word to the Badd!!" (Jermaine Jackson featuring T-Boz) 78 88 You Said
1996 "Touch Myself" (Remix) (T-Boz featuring Richie Rich) Seasoned Veteran
"Ghetto Love" (Da Brat featuring T-Boz) 16 11 Anuthatantrum
1999 "Be Somebody" (Paula Cole featuring T-Boz) Amen
2000 "Tight To Def" (Mack 10 with T-Boz) The Paper Route
2002 "Different Times" (Raphael Saadiq feat. T-Boz of TLC) Instant Vintage
2005 "It's Good" (YoungBloodZ featuring T-Boz) Ev'rybody Know Me
2009 "Someday" (DJ Deckstream with T-Boz) Sound Tracks 2
2012 "Red Planet" (Little Mix featuring T-Boz) DNA

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1997 "Ghetto Love" (with Da Brat) Gustavo Garzon


  1. ^ "Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins Biography". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  2. ^ Thoughts accessed 2008-08-29, Author Tionne Watkins, Published 1999, Publisher HarperCollins Publishers
  3. ^ The reliable source (July 6, 2011). "Celebvocate: T-Boz recruits bone-marrow donors". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  4. ^ a b c Hicks, Tameka L. (2008). "T-Boz: Fighting against the odds". USA Weekend. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  5. ^ a b Hollywood Reporter (October 1, 2012). "TLC's T-Boz Gets Her Own Reality Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  6. ^ "Grammy.com". Retrieved May 16, 2012.  Best R&B song is awarded to the songwriter(s) of the winning song, not to the performing artist(s) (except if the songwriter is also the performing artist)
  7. ^ VH1 (2011). "VH1 Announces Plans To Produce A New TLC Movie". VH1. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  8. ^ Gardner, Elysa (November 15, 1999). "Poetic 'thoughts' and observations". USA Today. Archived from the original on March 2, 2000. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  9. ^ "For The Record: Quick News On Ray Charles, 50 Cent, Fantasia Barrino, T-Boz, Incubas & More". MTV.com. June 15, 2004. 
  10. ^ CBS This Morning. "The Early Show Video – T-Boz's Brain Tumor Battle". CBS.com. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  11. ^ Herndon, Jessica. "Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins Fighting to Stay Alive". People.com. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  12. ^ Atlanta Entertainment News. "Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins of TLC Discusses Brain Tumor & Sickle Cell". StraightFromTheA.com. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  13. ^ T-Boz has a 10-month-old baby boy named Chance

External links[edit]