Tionne Watkins

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Tionne Watkins
Tionne Watkins 2016.jpg
Watkins performing in 2016
Background information
Birth nameTionne Tenese Watkins
Also known asT-Boz, Tionne Rolison
Born (1970-04-26) April 26, 1970 (age 53)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
  • author
Years active1990–present [1]
Labels Epic
Member of TLC
(m. 2000;div. 2004)

Tionne Tenese Watkins (born April 26, 1970), [2] better known by her stage name T-Boz, is an American singer and actress. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Watkins rose to fame in the early 1990s as a member of the girl-group TLC. She has won four Grammy Awards for her work with TLC.


Early life

Tionne Watkins was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 26, 1970, to James and Gayle Watkins. She has written that she is of African American, Native American and Irish descent. [3] [4] Watkins' family moved from Des Moines to Atlanta, Georgia, when she was nine years old. [5]



Crystal Jones held auditions for a singing group and chose Watkins, and Lisa 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 Thomas and the group was signed in 1991 as TLC. In order to preserve the TLC name, Watkins is now named "T-Boz", while Lopes became "Left Eye" and Thomas became "Chilli". The successful group sold more than 65 million records. [6] T-Boz has won four Grammy Awards as a member of TLC. [7] Since Lopes' death in 2002, T-Boz and Chilli have performed as a duo.

In late 2011, VH1 announced plans to produce a biopic on the group. [8] Watkins and Thomas signed on as producers. The film, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story , premiered October 21, 2013. The role of Watkins was portrayed by actress/singer Drew Sidora. Watkins' daughter, Chase, portrayed a younger Tionne in the film.

Solo work

In addition to her work with TLC, Watkins has recorded solo singles like "Touch Myself" (for the soundtrack of the 1996 film Fled ) and "My Getaway" (for the soundtrack of the 2000 film Rugrats in Paris: The Movie ). Additionally, she has been a featured vocalist on songs such 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. She also featured on the song "It's Good" by YoungBloodZ. [9] On January 22, 2013, Watkins released her first solo single in over 15 years titled "Champion". [10] The song was released digitally, and proceeds went to help raise awareness for people suffering from blood conditions such as sickle cell and leukemia. [11] On September 6, 2017, Watkins digitally released her latest single titled "Dreams" from her audiobook "A Sick Life". [12]

Television and film

Watkins has worked as an actress, appearing in Hype Williams' 1998 film Belly . [13] She also appeared in two episodes of Living Single , the first time guest-starring along with her bandmates and another time without them. Watkins served as one of the executive producers for the 2006 movie ATL featuring the rapper, T.I. [14] She also appeared on The Real Housewives of Atlanta as a friend of Kandi Burruss. [15] Watkins made a guest appearance as Pam Grier in one episode of the Adult Swim series Black Dynamite . In 2009, Watkins was a participant in the eighth season of The Apprentice , finishing in 11th place. [16] Watkins' reality TV show Totally T-Boz , premiered January 1, 2013, on the TLC network, and ran four episodes. [6] The show chronicled Watkins' quest to create a solo album, reunite with bandmember, Chilli, and her life with her daughter Chase.

In 2016, Watkins and Chili joined actress Zoe Saldana onstage for her second round performance of "No Scrubs" on Spike's Lip Sync Battle against actor Zachary Quinto. [17] In November 2016, she began a two-month acting stint as Sheila, a hardened prison inmate, on Days of Our Lives . [18] Watkins would later return to Days of Our Lives as a recurring character, playing the zany ex-con Sheila, in both 2017 and 2018. In 2017, she lent her voice to a character in Trolland, also known as Trollz, a direct-to-DVD CGI-animated movie.

Other work

Watkins published a book of semi-autobiographical poetry called Thoughts on November 3, 1999. [19] 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). [20] [21] It was shut down years later. [22] TLC 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". [23] TLC celebrated their return with a series of highly publicized performances which included 2 dates: VH1's Mixtape Festival in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on July 27, 2013, and Drake's OVO Fest in Toronto on August 5, 2013. They released an album, TLC, on June 30, 2017. [24]

Personal life

As a child, Watkins was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. [25] Since the age of seven, she has been in and out of the hospital due to the painful condition. [25] T-Boz opened up to the public about the disease in 1996; [26] she later became one of the spokespersons for Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. [27] [28] In 2002, she was hospitalized for four months due to a flare-up of sickle-cell anemia. [29] She is a national co-chair of the progressive organization Health Care Voter. [30]

On August 19, 2000, Watkins married rapper Mack 10 in California. [31] The couple's daughter, Chase Anela Rolison, was born premature a few months later on October 20, 2000. [5] In June 2004, she filed for divorce, and requested a restraining order against the rapper. [32] 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 that she had secretly battled a potentially fatal brain tumor for three years. [33] [34] In March 2006, she was diagnosed as having a grape-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. [35]

Watkins filed for bankruptcy in February 2011 and again in October 2011. [36] In an episode of the Reelz TV series Broke & Famous, entertainment reporter Viviana Vigil stated Watkins spent $9,000 a month and owed $770,000 on her home with a reported monthly income of $11,000, while another reporter Nina Parker cited Watkins's medical bills and brain tumor. [36]

In June 2016, Watkins announced that she had adopted a 10-month-old boy named Chance. [37]




As lead artist

List of singles as a lead artist, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
TitleYearPeak chart positionsAlbum
"Touch Myself"1996402348 Fled
"My Getaway"2000798644 Rugrats in Paris: The Movie: Music from the Motion Picture
"Champion" [10] 2013Non-album singles
"Dreams" [12] 2017
List of singles as a featured artist, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
TitleYearPeak chart positionsAlbum

"Touch Myself" (Remix)
(Richie Rich featuring T-Boz and Jermaine Dupri)
1996 Seasoned Veteran and The Game
"Ghetto Love"
(Da Brat featuring T-Boz)
199716114 Anuthatantrum
"Tight To Def"
(Mack 10 featuring T-Boz)
200065 The Paper Route
"Someday" [43]
(DJ Deckstream featuring T-Boz)
2009Deckstream Soundtracks 2

Guest appearances

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
TitleYearOther artist(s)Album
"Word to the Badd" [44] 1991 Jermaine Jackson You Said
"Be Somebody" [45] 1999 Paula Cole Amen
"Different Times" [46] 2002 Raphael Saadiq Instant Vintage
"It's Good" [47] 2005 YoungBloodZ Ev'rybody Know Me
"Red Planet" [48] 2012 Little Mix DNA
"Creep" [49] 2015 Eric Bellinger Cuffing Season

Music videos

1997"Ghetto Love" (with Da Brat) Gustavo Garzon



1994 House Party 3 Sex as a Weapon (as TLC)
1998 Belly Tionne
2016TrollandJarvik (voice)
2021After MasksCheryl


1992 CBS Schoolbreak Special 1st Rapper (as TLC)Episode: "Words Up!"
Out All Night Herself (as TLC)Episode: "Pilot"
Showtime at the Apollo Herself (as TLC)Episode: "#6.12"
1995 Living Single Herself (as TLC)Episode: "The Following Is a Sponsored Program"
1997The HitchhikerEpisode: "Three Men and a Buckeye"
1999Ultra SoundHerself (as TLC)Episode: "TLC: You've Got Mail"
1999–2004 Behind the Music HerselfEpisode: "TLC" & "TLC: The Final Chapter"
2000 Sally Jessy Raphael HerselfEpisode: "I'm 13 and Too Ugly to Live!"
2001Top TenHerselfEpisode: "Girl Bands"
2003Born to DivaJudgeTV Series
2003Inside OutHerselfEpisode: "Toni Braxton: Family Comes First"
2005 R U the Girl Herself/hostessTV Series
2009 The Apprentice Herself/ContestantMain Cast: Season 8
The Real Housewives of Atlanta HerselfEpisode: "Unbeweavable"
2010 What Chilli Wants HerselfEpisode: "The Floyd Situation"
2013 Totally T-Boz HerselfMain Cast
2014 Black Dynamite Pam Grier / Anti-Bionic GirlEpisode: "Sweet Bill's Badass Singalong Song or Bill Cosby Ain't Himself"
2016 The Haunting of... HerselfEpisode: "The Haunting of Tionne T-Boz Watkins"
2017 Lip Sync Battle Herself (as TLC)Episode: "Zoe Saldana vs. Zachary Quinto"
Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry HerselfEpisode: "Mel B/Reza Farahan/Jana Kramer/Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins"
2019 Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta Herself2 Episodes
2016–20 Days of Our Lives Sheila WatkinsRegular Cast

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