Childhood & Early Life
Natina Tiawana Reed was born on October 28, 1980, in Queens, New York City, New York. She was born to Tamara Goodridge and Paul Reed. Her parents got divorced when she was young. She had a brother, two sisters, and seven step-siblings. American singer-songwriter Farrah Franklin is her cousin.
Natina was a multi-talented child. She modeled for ‘Bloomingdale’s Inc.’ and ‘Macy’s’ and had featured in a hot dog commercial by the time she was eight. She also played drums at her father’s church, performed in the church’s drama ministry, and sang in its choir. She did beat-boxing and wrote songs, poems, and jingles. One of her jingles was purchased by ‘Sprite.’ Around the age of 13, she submitted a song for a competition and emerged victorious. Natina studied at the ‘Cedar Grove High School’ in Ellenwood, Georgia and wanted to pursue a career in showbiz.
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Natina was discovered by Lisa Lopes, who hired her as a writer for ‘TLC.’ Natina later said that Lisa helped her to build her confidence. Natina was also encouraged to take up the job of a writer by music executive Tommy Mottola.
Lisa Lopes created the group ‘Blaque.’ Subsequently, singers Brandi Williams and Shamari Fears joined the group. ‘Blaque’ was signed by Lopes’ company ‘Left Eye Productions’ when Natina was 19 years old. According to the girl group, ‘Blaque’ was an acronym for ‘Believe, Life, Achieving, Quest, Unity, and Everything.’ Natina was described as the writer and rapper of the group by Lopes.
Natina started gaining attention from the late 1990s as one of the members of ‘Blaque.’ ‘Billboard’ mentioned that the music of the group includes elements of R&B, rap music, and pop music. The members of ‘Blaque’ made an appearance in the music video of Lil' Kim’s remix version of ‘Not Tonight.’ The group also featured in the music video of Jermaine Dupri’s 1998 song ‘Someday at Christmas.’ In 1999, ‘Blaque’ performed the opening acts for ‘TLC’s’ ‘FanMail Tour’ and ‘NSYNC’s’ tour ‘NSYNC in Concert.’
Natina’s popularity increased with the release of ‘Blaque’s’ self-titled debut album on June 1, 1999. The album peaked at number 53 on ‘Billboard’ magazine’s chart ‘Billboard 200.’ It received platinum certification from ‘RIAA’ on April 10, 2000. During the recording sessions of the album, the trio collaborated with rappers Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott. The album was released internationally under the title ‘Blaque Ivory.’
Out of the 14 tracks of the album, Natina co-wrote five tracks, namely ‘Roll with Me,’ ‘Leny,’ ‘Rainbow Drive,’ ‘808,’ and ‘Mind of a King.’ The single ‘I Do’ was written entirely by Natina. She had originally written the track ‘I Do’ at the age of 14 after getting inspired by watching noted Canadian-American singer and songwriter Alanis Morissette perform on ‘MTV.’ Among the singles of the album, ‘808’ peaked at number eight on ‘Billboard Hot 100’ and was certified gold on June 2, 1999, for selling more than 500,000 copies. Meanwhile, another single titled ‘Bring It All to Me’ peaked at number five on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart.
Natina made her acting debut when she played cheerleader Jenelope in the American teen comedy film ‘Bring It On,’ which eventually became a cult classic. After releasing on August 25, 2000, the film went on to become a hit as it grossed $90.5 million at the box-office. Two songs from the film’s soundtrack, namely ‘As If’ and a remix of ‘Bring It All to Me’ were contributed by ‘Blaque.’
In 2001, Natina appeared as herself in one of the episodes of the American action-comedy-drama TV series ‘V.I.P.’ In 2003, she was seen in the dance film ‘Honey.’ In 2008, she was seen in a TV film titled ‘Til 6 in the Morning by Platinum Souls.’ A single titled ‘I'm Good’ was contributed by ‘Blaque’ to the soundtrack album of ‘Honey.’ ‘I'm Good’ peaked at number 17 on the ‘UK Singles Chart.’ The song became the highest charting single of ‘Blaque’ in the UK.
Meanwhile in 2001, Natina featured in the track ‘It's Over’ from the album ‘Space Boogie: Smoke Oddessey.’ ‘Space Boogie’ was the third studio album of Natina’s then-fiancé Kurupt.
The girl group’s second album ‘Blaque Out!’ was shelved in America. However, it was released in Japan on January 29, 2002. It later had its release in the US in the form of a digital download in 2007. The album failed to match up to the success of the group’s first album.
Natina’s song ‘Rock Climber’ was included in the compilation album ‘Dragonfly Presents a Better Life Through Chemistry’ in 2002. That year, she also made a cameo appearance in the music video of the song ‘Welcome to Atlanta’ by Jermaine Dupri.
The third album of ‘Blaque’ titled ‘Torch’ was scheduled to release in August 2003, but was never released. ‘Blaque’ disbanded in 2004. The group’s comeback attempt in 2012 was unsuccessful because of Natina’s untimely death.
Natina had hired an agent to revive her acting career. She was also working on scripts, a solo album, and a book before she died on October 26, 2012.
Family & Personal Life
Natina was engaged to Kurupt during the early 2000s and became pregnant with his child. She gave birth to their son Tren Brown in 2002. Tren had started living with Kurupt four years before Natina’s death. He continues to live with his father.
On April 13, 2010, it was reported that Natina was arrested in Gwinnett County for cocaine possession, disorderly conduct, and prostitution. However, the news was denied by her management.
She faced arrest on June 29, 2011, and was jailed for two days for driving without a license, driving under the influence (DUI), and reckless driving. Her license had been revoked when she was previously arrested for driving under the influence.
Natina died in an accident on October 26, 2012, when she was struck by a red ‘Honda Accord’ on the Lawrenceville Highway near Hamilton Road north of Lilburn, Georgia. The car driver and the passenger unsuccessfully attempted CPR on her.
A public funeral service was organized at the ‘Abundant Life Church’ in Lithonia, Georgia. It was organized by the ‘Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home’ on November 3, 2012. Her mortal remains were buried at the ‘North Atlanta Memorial Park’ in Dunwoody, Georgia.