TLC was at the forefront of a wave of female artists in the 1990s, ranging from hip-hoppers like Salt-N-Pepa to rock stars like Alanis Morissette and PJ Harvey, who gave voice to a generation of women not interested in only being sex kittens or virginal girls-next-door. They defied the preapproved boxes that female pop stars had been placed in, and became symbols of female empowerment.
“We kind of just put ourselves out there,” Chilli says. “Whether it was interviews or the songs we sang about. I think people knew that we were all about girl power. We’ve been called feminists, and we are a little bit, but not to the extreme that some people may think. We’ve been called ‘male bashers,’ but we’re definitely not male bashers. We just talked about things from a woman’s perspective. And a lot of our songs aren’t just for girl power, it’s just power for everybody.
“I think when we had songs out at the time, it seems like you could turn on the radio and hear positive messages — as well as some that weren’t so positive,” she adds. “It seems to me that that’s missing. Every now and again you’ll have an artist who puts out that kind of record — I think Katy Perry does it and definitely Kelly Clarkston. But I think it’s missing. I don’t think you can have too many uplifting songs. Everyone in the world needs that.”