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The “CrazyS*xyCool: The TLC Story” premiered this week on VH1 to plenty of acclamation except from a few people including original TLC member Crystal Jones.
Jones joined Tom Joyner Morning Show commentator Jacque Reid to defend her “inaccurate” portrayal in the biopic, explain what she says is the real reason she was kicked out the group, reveals how Left Eye apologized for her ousting and more.
Read the entire interview below.
JACQUE REID: Okay, now VH1’s TLC Biopic broke records Monday night, you all know this, millions tuned in to watch the story of one of America’s most successful female groups. We saw how when the group began. Another young lady represented the C in TLC before Chilli, and that other woman is Crystal Jones. And in the Biopic we see that she was replaced because she could not sing. But Crystal Jones says that and other details in the movie are inaccurate. So I’m going Inside Her Story with Crystal Jones. Good morning, Crystal.
CRYSTAL JONES : Good morning, Jacque, how are you?
JACQUE REID: Very well. Let me ask you first; did you watch along with everybody else on Monday?
CRYSTAL JONES : I did watch it and I only watched the first 20 minutes of it, to be honest.
JACQUE REID: And that was the part that included your story, correct?
CRYSTAL JONES : That is correct.
JACQUE REID: Okay, so what was inaccurate about it?
CRYSTAL JONES : Well, the way that they told the story was inaccurate. And the fact that I can’t sing is so untrue. Everybody that does know me knows I can sing. So that wasn’t true. But the way that it went down was not like that at all.
JACQUE REID: Why did you leave the group? Or why were you put out of the group?
CRYSTAL JONES : Well, basically what happened was that we ended up at the attorney’s office that represented Pebbles. And it was myself, Tionna and Lisa. And as we were sitting there at the table, and just kind of keep in mind that we were 18, 19 year olds. And by that time Pebbles had already did her little thing to kind of get us out from under the management contract that we were currently under with a gentleman by the name of Ian Burke. So it was just the three of us. We had no representation, nothing. So we’re sitting at the table, and I’m going through the contract and I’m looking at it, and the legal jargon is just so, you know, over my head. It’s lengthy and I did not understand it. And so I kind of turned to Pebbles and I asked her, you know; can I take this contract home and have my mom look it over a little bit? And she said; no, absolutely not. So I didn’t sign mine.
JACQUE REID: And they moved on without you?
J. ANTHONY BROWN: Did they portray Pebble’s right? Was she portrayed accurately?
CRYSTAL JONES : Yes, to some degree. Yes.
TOM JOYNER: To some degree.
SYBIL WILKES : How much of a degree would you say? How accurate would you say that it was?
J. ANTHONY BROWN: How much? Yeah, what’s the degree?
CRYSTAL JONES : Well, I mean, from what I understand Pebbles is a businesswoman. You know, she is going to go for what she wants. And at the time, you know, we were young, we were impressionable. And I’m sure she had to put her foot down a lot of times. But that’s not the Pebbles I know. I know a different side of Pebbles.
JACQUE REID: So were you upset with Lisa and with T-Boz over, so basically you didn’t sign the contract, so they replaced you in the group. But it was a group that you started.
CRYSTAL JONES : Correct. And what happened, after me not signing the contract, we had a couple of more meetings, they came over to my house. They wanted to bring me some news and that’s when they came and told me that, you know, they didn’t want me in the group anymore. So I just got up from my table at home and I just politely let them out the door and they went about their way and became famous.
JACQUE REID: Wow.
TOM JOYNER: Crystal, are you, were you Pebble’s beautician?
CRYSTAL JONES : No, that was Marie. No, and what a lot of people don’t realize, or don’t know is that I was already in the industry before TLC started. I was a backup dancer for a young lady by the name of Anne G. I was on tour with her. I’ve been on tour with DJ Chuck Chillout and Kool Chip. I was living in New York at one point doing videos. And I ended up pregnant with my daughter and I came back to Atlanta and I met up with Ian Burke who was a good friend of mine and that’s how we set out to cover Lisa and Tionne and came up with the TLC. And it was supposed to be …
J. ANTHONY BROWN: Well, who came up with the name TLC?
CRYSTAL JONES : TLC came up from Pebbles. Our original name was Second Nature. And Pebbles didn’t like that name. She wanted something a little bit more catchier. She said something like Tender Loving Care that people can remember, TLC. Tiana, Lisa and Crystal.
JACQUE REID: Well, do you know why they portrayed you in that way, Crystal? Why they, you know, made it seem like you could not sing?
CRYSTAL JONES : Well, it’s a Hollywood story. You know? And they’re going to tell their side of the story. So it’s just Hollywood, you know.
TOM JOYNER: License. Yeah.
JACQUE REID: Have you heard from T-Boz or Chilli about this?
SYBIL WILKES : Before or after the movie?
CRYSTAL JONES : Not really. I haven’t heard from them personally, but I have heard some interviews they’ve done. But no, I don’t really speak to them much.
TOM JOYNER: What were you doing …
JACQUE REID: Did you talk to Left Eye before her death about all of this?
CRYSTAL JONES : I did. Left Eye and I had a very, how can I say, intimate moment. We talked, we hugged, she apologized. I told her I understood it was a business. My only let down was that I thought we had a little bit of loyalty. So I figured if I didn’t sign the contract they wouldn’t either, but they went ahead. But, you know, she apologized.
J, ANTHONY BROWN: Would you sing something now?
CRYSTAL JONES : (laughs) I’m sorry?
JACQUE REID: And what happened with your music career beyond that, that moment of not signing that contract?
CRYSTAL JONES : I mean it’s so hard to try to come out with another concept like that, because it was such a great mix. So after that I did try to pursue other things, but it just didn’t work out like that one.
TOM JOYNER: And what are you doing now?
CRYSTAL JONES : Right now, I’m a mom, I work. I’m currently working on a collection of memoirs. And the book is really about my life and my journey and the experiences that I’ve had.
JACQUE REID: Are you going to talk about TLC, that experience in the book?
CRYSTAL JONES : Yes, I am. Yes, I am.
SYBIL WILKES : The real C.
JACQUE REID: (Laugh) Is that the name of it?
CRYSTAL JONES : No, the name is The Awakening of a Shattered Dream.
JACQUE REID: Hmm. What was it like to see TLC rise to the fame that they had? How did that affect you over the years? Knowing what you knew.
CRYSTAL JONES : Well, now that I’m older, I’m very proud of them and I just feel so blessed that I’m able to, you know, myself and my manager at the time, Ian Burke, I’m blessed that we were able to create an image. You know, that everyone would be able to enjoy. And whether or not I was in it is not really that big of a deal to me anymore because I see the business as a business. I don’t see it as entertainment. So I know the business side of it very well.
JACQUE REID: Did it ever bother you at any point?
CRYSTAL JONES : When I was young it did, 18, 19. That’s my life. That’s all I knew. I grew up in a music family. My mother was a classical trained pianist. That’s all I ever knew, I went to the school of the arts.
JAB: Did they ever slip you some cash? Did they ever give you, say; here girl, here’s money?
CRYSTAL JONES : No.
TOM JOYNER: All those Grammies and awards that they won, did they ever thank you?
CRYSTAL JONES : No. Not one time.
JACQUE REID: Would you like, do you feel that they should have? Would that mean something to you? Would it have meant something?
CRYSTAL JONES : That would’ve meant a lot to me. I mean you have no idea. That’s all I’ve ever wanted was a simple thank you so much. That’s it.
SYBIL WILKES : And so now …
CRYSTAL JONES : And I never got it.
SYBIL WILKES : … you are writing, but do you ever see yourself like going to one of those talent shows and restarting your singing career?
CRYSTAL JONES : It’s been asked of me, but I’m just not there right now. I mean that was so long ago. I mean I can’t say what I’m not going to do in the future, but no, not right now. I’m really focused …
SYBIL WILKES : So no X Factor, or no appearance on The Voice?
JAB: Well, why can’t she get back with the group, Sybil? I mean …
JACQUE REID: Do you sing in church?
CRYSTAL JONES : I do sing in church.
JACQUE REID: Okay, well, then sing it for the Lord.
CRYSTAL JONES : That’s something big.
TOM JOYNER: (Laugh) All right.
JACQUE REID: Crystal, thank you for sharing your story with us. We appreciate it.
CRYSTAL JONES : Well, thank you so much for having me.