Who is Rozonda Thomas?
Rozonda Thomas is an award-winning American singer and songwriter. The multi-faceted personality has also proven her worth as a dancer and actress. She is best known for her work in the female pop group TLC. The group was very successful during the 1990s and had also scored several hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, she joined the TLC at the age of twenty. She performed under the nickname “Chilli.” Over the next few years, the group found huge success and also became one of the bestselling girl groups of all time. Thomas has won multiple Grammy Awards for her work with the group. She has also made guest appearances on several TV shows such as ‘The Parkers’ and ‘Strong Medicine’. She appeared in a minor role in the comedy film ‘Snow Day’ as well. More recently, Thomas played a supporting role in the biographical film ‘Marshall’. It was based on the life of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Childhood & Early Life
Rozonda Ocelian Thomas was born on 27th February 1971 in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States to Abdul Ali and Ava Thomas. Her mother is of African-American as well as Native American descent, while her father is of East Indian and Middle Eastern Background. She was raised by a single mother and didn’t meet her father until she was 25.
Thomas studied at Benjamin E. Mays High School, from where she graduated in 1989. Soon she started working as a back-up dancer for the R&B group Damian Dame.
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In 1991, Rozonda Thomas joined the pop group TLC. Their debut album ‘Ooooooohhh… On The TLC Tip’ released in February 1992. The album was a huge success and peaked at the 14th position on the US Billboard 200 chart. It sold six million copies worldwide.
The group’s second album ‘CrazySexyCool’ was released in November 1994. The album was a huge success, peaking at the 3rd position on the US Billboard 200. It sold over 11 million copies in the United States alone. The album was nominated for six Grammy Awards, out of which it won two.
The group released their third album ‘FanMail’ in February 1999. It was meant to be a tribute to their fans who had sent them fan mail over the years. The album was a major hit and won three Grammy Awards out of eight nominations. It peaked at the first position on the US Billboard 200, and also sold around 318,000 copies in its first week itself!
In the year 2000, Thomas played a main role in the Christmas TV film ‘A Diva’s Christmas Carol’. She also appeared in several TV shows such as ‘Living Single’ and ‘The Parkers’. She was seen in films such as ‘Hav Plenty’ and ‘Snow Day’ as well.
She had also started working on her solo album in 2000. However, she stopped its production after the group began working on their fourth album ‘3D’ which was released in November 2002. The album was a success, peaking at the 6th position on the US Billboard 200. It sold 143,000 copies in its first week.
In 2009, she starred in the American reality TV series ‘What Chilli Wants’ which focused on her quest to find true love. She was also seen in several episodes of the TV drama series ‘Single Ladies’. She later played a supporting role in the 2017 biographical film ‘Marshall’. Though the film was a commercial failure, it was appreciated by critics.
Her group released their fifth and final album ‘TLC’ in June 2017. It stood at the 38th position on the US Billboard 200. Though the album was met with positive reviews, it not as successful as their previous albums.
The album ‘CrazySexyCool’ can be regarded as the most important work of Rozonda Thomas’s group ‘TLC’. The album was a huge success critically and commercially. It sold more than 23 million copies worldwide, which made it the group’s bestselling album. The album was also listed by Rolling Stone Magazine in their list of ‘The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time’. The album won several awards including two Grammys out of six nominations.
‘FanMail’ was the third album by Thomas’ group ‘TLC’. It peaked at the first position on the US Billboard 200. It sold over ten million copies worldwide, making it the group’s second highest selling album. The album also charted in several other countries such as Belgium, Canada, Germany, Sweden, and the UK.
Rozonda Thomas is also known for her supporting role in the biographical film ‘Marshall’. The film revolved around one of the first cases of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Justice of the US Supreme Court. Though the film failed to do well commercially, it was praised by critics.
Awards & Achievements
As a member of the group TLC, Rozonda Thomas won two Grammy Awards in 1996. The first one was for ‘Best R&B Album’ for the album ‘CrazySexyCool’. The second one was for ‘Best R&B Performance’ for their song ‘Creep’ from the same album.
Along with the group, she won three Grammy Awards in 2000. The first one was for ‘Best R&B Album for the group’s third album ‘FanMail’. The second and third ones were for ‘Best R&B Performance’ and ‘Best R&B Song’ for the song ‘No Scrubs’.
Rozonda Thomas started dating Dallas Austin at an early age. She became pregnant for the first time at the age of twenty. However, she chose to have an abortion. Later in June 1997, she gave birth to a son named Tron Austin. The couple broke up later on. She also dated Usher for a short while.
She founded a nonprofit organization named ‘Chilli’s Crew’ in 2012.