Lil Mama never doubted for a minute that she could turn out a stunning performance as Left in CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story.
Moments after it was announced that the “Lip Gloss” rapper would be portraying the dynamic group’s lyricist, people immediately began posting their doubts online. Whether on social media or in the comment section on major news sites, a lot of TLC fans just weren’t seeing it for her.
Determined to prove that she could do the role justice, Lil Mama let the prospective criticism roll off of her back as she prepared for her first acting gig ever. “It never hurt me,” Lil Mama told Sister 2 Sister. “People always doubted what I could be since I was kid, and I’ve always overcome that. I always proved them wrong because I know I can do it.”
That determination permeated the cast, which included Drew Sidora and KeKe Palmer, because “it gave us drive.” With that, Lil Mama set about the mission of tapping into her inner Left Eye so that she could really tell the rapper’s story in the most authentic way. But as Lil Mama explored more of who Left Eye was, she believed she felt a connection.
“It was very spiritual thing,” Lil Mama shared. “We have a lot in common as far as energy. We have similarities in our energies, but there were things that just weren’t me. I had to become her.”
That was no small task for Lil Mama. While her co-stars Drew and KeKe had T-Boz and Chilli on hand for character references, the rapper didn’t have the same luxury. Since Left Eye passed away in 2002, Lil Mama only had videos and pictures from which to build the character.
“For one, her not being here–that’s the saddest part of it all,” Lil Mama acknowledged. “For two, just understanding the dynamic of her character is a skillful thing that I had to just pick up from watching videos.”
But Lil Mama could also tap some information from Left Eye’s former band mates, who were astounded by how well Lil Mama fit the role. And it wasn’t just an onscreen thing, the rapper shared that she fit in well with T-Boz and Chilli.
“Tionne and Chilli both, they really gravitated to me as if they knew me for a long time,” Lil Mama told S2S. “They would really get shocked or spooked out at times because of how much I looked like [Left Eye] or the things that I would do that reminded them of her.”
Pulling in a total of 4.5 million viewers on Monday night, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story was a ratings hit for VH1, making it the highest-rated TV movie of the year. And it didn’t do too badly on social media either as the movie generated nearly 2 million tweets, many of which were the messages of those who had doubted Lil Mama commending her work.
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