TLC’s Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins has revealed that the group once held the executives of their record label, Arista, at gunpoint in a dispute over royalties. The group felt that Arista were not giving them their fair share of profits from their 1994 album, ‘CrazySexyCool’, and the courts are quite slow, so they took matters into their own hands.
Watkins told US talk show host Mo’Nique: “We held the record company, [including founder and president] Clive Davis, hostage with guns. Guns with bullets. Because TLC had generated on ‘CrazySexyCool’ $75 million and they gave us $50,000 a piece and I was like, ‘What the hell!’ So, of course, Lisa [‘Left Eye’ Lopes] was the ring leader. We had a limo driver, and he was the getaway car”.
And they would have gotten away with it, too. If it wasn’t for that pesky P Diddy: “We got up there and held everybody hostage and Puffy was the one that snitched us out. He caught us because we kicked him out of the meeting. We interrupted Puffy’s meeting. We were like, ‘Sorry we really gotta handle this’. We were getting sick and sweating, really working hard for this money and wanted to know who the hell had our cheque. [LA Reid, who was then Arista’s CEO] said Clive did, so that’s where we went”.
The matter was resolved peacefully in the end, and no charges were pressed. Watkins admitted that it didn’t resolve their royalty issues – see kids, violence is never the answer, no matter how good a story it gives you for subsequent TV appearances. She concluded: “They did give us some money, but they still took it back and recouped it. You live and learn in the business – it worked out well, we didn’t go to jail – thank God”.