Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes' Final Moments... Should This Video Have Been Released?


This video aired on VH1's "Rock Docs" special that featured Left Eye from TLC. Her friend in the passenger's seat caught the accident on camera.

It's kinda eerie. She was the only one wearing a seatbelt (lap belt), yet she was the only one killed; None of her friends really know what caused the crash, yet they all screamed before the car veered off the road; and Lisa seemed extremely calm during the whole thing--not to mention the fact that whoever was shooting the film never put the camera down before impact.

It's very strange.

The bigger question is was it right for this tape to be released to the public? Is it right to broadcast someone's last moments and re-open her family's, friends' and fans' wounds?

Below is a piece written by Neely Tucker of the Washington Post. In it she discusses the VH1 documentary which Lopes had filmed, and also analyzes her mental state during her last days while on her "spiritual retreat" in Honduras.

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In life, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, the "L" in the pop group TLC, was probably best known for burning down the Atlanta mansion of her boyfriend, NFL star Andre Rison.

In death, after she was killed in a car crash in Honduras in 2002, she was again famous for something other than singing, when a picture of her corpse was a morbid Internet sensation briefly before it was taken down.

Tonight at 9, VH1 and VH1 Soul debuts "Last Days of Left Eye," a 90-minute documentary that includes a clip of the fatal wreck, shot from inside the car. Lopes was filming a documentary about herself and a camera operator was sitting in the passenger seat when Lopes lost control of the SUV she was driving. The last sound is Lopes screaming. The last thing filmed is the onrushing ditch where her car would crash.

It has the awful rubbernecking quality of any wreck you see on the highway, and we can only imagine how quickly it's going to be posted on video-sharing Web sites.

But whatever the grotesqueries involved in watching a pretty young woman die, it's fair to say the 30-year-old Lopes would have wanted you to see it. In a career downturn after personal upheavals and alienating her band mates, Lopes had taken a camera crew to Honduras to document a 30-day self-styled spiritual retreat with friends and family. She opened up her mind, body and thought to the camera, sometimes to cringe-inducing effect.

The wreck clip was included with her family's consent, and director Lauren Lazin ("Tupac: Resurrection") says that after viewing more than 200 hours of raw footage she was convinced that Lopes would have wanted it that way.

"She embraced just showing everything," Lazin said in a telephone interview this week. "She talks about death in a very different way. I don't think she was looking forward to it, but she saw it as a transition to another state of being, and I tried to use that in the film."

The show is much too long, but TLC fans will get a recap of the group's career, along with footage of Lopes growing up in Philadelphia, and plenty of her beliefs about numerology, astrology and herbal dieting. Perhaps more of the latter than you want to see. We're thinking of the scene in which she forces members of an aspiring girl group who've come along on the retreat to drink her foul-tasting concoctions, until one of them says, "Sorry," and vomits on camera.

Lopes was at her best onstage, where her mugging and impish personality were framed by the restrictions of a four-minute song. She wrote the rap parts of the group's 1990s string of hits (which were produced by LA Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds) and provided the group's edginess. On their 1994 disc, "CrazySexyCool," Lopes was the "crazy" one.

It wasn't entirely an act. As she reflects on film, she burned Rison's house amid a series of violent arguments about fidelity. As a means of proclaiming her love for him, she carved "Love" into her forearm with a razor while serving time in alcohol rehab after that incident. When he didn't visit her as often as she wanted -- this just after she burned his house down -- she carved "Hate" over it.

"Look how nice it came out," she says at one point in the retreat, holding up her arm for the camera.

As the show progresses, the degree of her narcissism and turbulent thought patterns becomes achingly clear. She's riding in a car that hits and kills a 10-year-old boy, and her analysis of this tragedy is that a spirit chasing her killed the boy instead. She holds up the dead boy's shoes for the camera and muses that his name was Lopez, like hers. A clip of her on MTV a year or so before her death shows her proudly describing the 40-day fast she's on as part of her "self-cleansing" regimen. What was most clear was how ill she looked.

This was clearly a talented, troubled young woman who needed serious counseling, not to be playing nude in the Honduran rain forest, talking about how she always wanted to be "in the jungle, naked, friends with all the animals."

It's a pity she never found the peace she so clearly sought. Instead, we have her life, loss, fame and early demise all caught on film.

Truly, sadly, the way things are now.

15 comments:

JustMeWriting said...

WOW... I didn't even look at the video and I'd STILL SAY NO. Goodness, there's no peace and privacy even in death. People just need to get a life.

Gene said...

I'm not completely convinced that Left Eye didn't want this to be shown. I'm not saying that she is a narcissist like the writer said, but was it every mentioned what she was hoping to do with this footage?

Andrew The Asshole said...

Hell yeah they can release the video it was good MARKETING... Right before the VH1 special drops. How many more people will tune after see the short clip? Lots

In the day of YouTubing and video blog mobile blogging etc People are interested in this type of thing.

Sure the Croc Hunter's family didn't release the tape, but its their right to release what they see fit (aka profitable)

MzCoko said...

Well her family wanted it released and somehow I think Lisa did too... she was on another level of thinking..

Brandon said...

So you guys think she would have wanted her death released? Or a better question would be, did she crash the car on purpose?

I didn't think so at first, but after I saw the tape, it looks like she deliberately turned left and right for the trees. Like usually if you swerve to avoid hitting something, your natural instinct is to go around it and try to overcompensate. She didn't even try to turn away from the ditch... was it a suicide to end her documentary?

Sojourner G said...

Thanks for this bruh. Can't see the video at work, and not sure I want to see the real thing, but it's good to know what goes through people's minds sometime.

Gene said...

Brandon -
I don't know if it was suicide, but I wouldn't be surprised. We really don't know what was going on in her head. She probably doesn't know.

A Beautiful Life said...

I went back and forth deciding whether to watch it. I watched it, and I don't know what to think. I would hope it's an accident and not suicide.

Andrew The Asshole said...

She did burn a motherfuckers house down... purposely getting into an accident for PR or just depressed wanting to hurt herself for attention. All possible, I don't think it was suicide

A Beautiful Life said...

I can see that

Andrew The Asshole said...

I did some research and they hit a pot hole. The camera man was there filming her charity work in the country as a documentary. The footage is not owned by the family its owned by blu box entertainment which is headquartered in the ATL. In fact the family held up the footage from just now being viewed and VH1 special.

How do I know well I'm on a boat with a partner of Blu Box

Andrew The Asshole said...

Not just an ass a well connected ASS

Caroline said...

this article was fucked up.. to say the least.. theyre judging her so hard on how they think she needed counseling and shit.. uh, obviously she was strong enough to counsel herself.. she was getting away from the hustle and bustle of being famous.. she never had an attitude int hat video like she was ever better than anyone else... and it makes me mad that they say she looked ill when she was talking about her 40 day fast.. Lisa was in DAMN GOOD shape.. and she knew what she was doing... there isnt a "craZy" idea of spirits following.. why is it so crazy??? Because other people refuse to open their minds to thos ekinds of beliefs?? This whole article is made to make her sound ignorant and full of herself, and it's just wrong.. she wasn't like that at all, and if you even WATCHED the documentary you would see that... i can't believe you're all sitting here judging weather or not her crash should have been a part of her video.. leave it the fuck alone and PRAY.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Caroline! It's just plain ignorance to life. If you actually watch the documentary with an open mind you'll see that Lisa Lopes had demons her whole life. I believe Lisa on the documentary when she said she had a dream and a spiritual feeling that she was going to pass. The earth is an energy field, even scientist believe that and that not everything can be explained. Not everyone is "Crazy" when they talk about spirituality. I believe she was beyond intelligent.

Anonymous said...

Just watched the documentary. I was a huge TLC fan back in the day. I think Lisa was extremely gifted at many things, but I couldn't agree more about the narcissism. that little boy never had the chance to grow up. It was weird how she made it about her. She rambled a lot and seemed generally lost at many points. She was searching, like the rest of us, and she had a very beautiful side that was funny and engaging. I feel bad for her that she was so desperate to find healing. A lot of times addicts do latch onto something (like the USHA place) and become obsessive about what they believe is THE answer. in the end she had her problems, selfishness - taking off and leaving her friends high and dry so she could "be the star" by not showing up. that's crappy. and she was also so giving with charity and so down to earth - saying "why are we telling her to cheat on him? Just leave" true - she had a great no bs side. she was complicated and multifaceted, just like the rest of us.