Did anyone else watch the documentary, "Last Days of Left Eye" on VH1? They show the wreck when Lisa Lopes died. It's not graphic, but it is obviously sad and intense. If you haven't seen the video, you can watch it on YouTube
They said she felt like she was being chased by demons. She had had premonitions of her death. Three weeks before she died, while still in Honduras, Lisa was the passenger in a car that was driven by her assistant when they accidentally hit a little boy who was crossing the road with his family. The little boy's last name was "Lopez". Lisa felt that the spirit who was trying to kill her had accidentally killed the boy by mistake. She and the boy had the same shoe size, she said.
I found this article and decided to post it here. It has a lot of information that was left out of the documentary. VH1 wasn't entirely honest in the documentary. They made it seem as though Lisa's death happened only days after the little boy died, but really it was three weeks later. VH1 also said that Lisa was wearing her seatbelt, but in the comments I've been reading, many people insist that they have watched the video closely and she is not wearing a seatbelt or lapbelt.
Lisa was apparently into numerology and astrology. Some people feel like VH1 made a bigger deal out of her involvement in these things than was actually true. Of course, they may only be saying that because they are Christian and don't like the idea of her dabbling in the occult. According to the article below, she was also into spirit communication and claimed to have spoken to her deceased father and Tupac Shakur. Her family thinks that all the voodoo in Honduras had something to do with her death.
Lisa was a beautiful and talented person. She clearly had some issues in her past that she was dealing with, but I think she was getting a good grasp on them during her spiritual retreat in Honduras. I hope she didn't die thinking that spirits were chasing her. If she did, that could be a messy situation in the afterlife. You basically get whatever you believe in. That's why it's best to clear your mind of all negativity before you die. Otherwise, you could attract those things to you in the afterlife or spend your time lost in negative thoughts (that is what hell is in my psychedelic experience.)
Over the Waterfall
by Solomon Jones
When Lisa Lopes, star of the hip-hop/R&B trio TLC, arrived in Hondurasâ€“a small, impoverished Central American nation wedged between Guatemala and El Salvadorâ€“it was 100 degrees and it was only late March.
The sun was beating down on the 13 concrete huts in herbalist Dr. Sebiâ€™s Usha Healing Village, a compound at the base of flourishing green hills near the town of Jutiapa. But the smothering heat was a welcome respite for the 30-year-old Philadelphian, whoâ€™d overcome the turbulence of her upbringing to become a Grammy Award-winning recording artist. Honduras represented an escape from hangers-on, abusive relationships, constant turmoil and a nagging sense of loss that sheâ€™d been carrying for more than a decade.
â€œShe was just looking for something different to do with her life,â€ says her 51-year-old mother, Wanda Coleman. â€œShe had been drinking all the time. She wasnâ€™t happy. She would have blackouts, didnâ€™t know what was happening. She said she had a split personality. I donâ€™t know if I believe it, but she said she would be another person.â€
For three years Lopesâ€“a generous free spirit who gave even when there was nothing leftâ€“found refuge in the place she referred to as â€œthe bush.â€ Usha Villageâ€™s electric therapy, thermal baths, natural saunas and herb compounds offered physical and emotional healing, not only from the rigors of fame, but from the haunting memories of her past and a grave premonition of her future.
In Honduras, she fasted and devoured books on Christianity, Buddhism and spiritual communication. She consumed herbs that she believed took her to a higher spiritual plane. She told those close to her that she communicated with the spirit of her father, the late Ronald Lopes Sr., whose 1991 murder haunted her.
But in the midst of the physical cleansing that transformed her, giving her a peace that sometimes showed through in her face, Lisa had dreams and portents. Not the least of which, according to those who knew her best, was a premonition of her own death.
â€œWHEN WE WERE IN HONDURAS, me and Lisa had a chance to take a ride by ourselves,â€ says her brother, Ronald Lopes, who traveled there with Lisa, their sister Raina and a number of others, including a four member-singing group called Egypt that Lisa was mentoring.
â€œShe was telling me about a dream she had,â€ recalls her brother. â€œIt was two lions that bit off two heads. And she told me that she thought something was going to happen on this trip. But she felt that it was going to be one of the girls in Egypt. Two of them are Leos and two of them are Geminis. She said she felt as though itâ€™s inevitable that something was going to happen.â€
Two weeks into the visit something did.
Lopes and other members of her entourage left the Usha Healing Village in a car driven by her assistant, Stephanie Patterson. That evening, according to those who were there, the stifling Honduran air was filled with foreboding.
Ronald sensed it while watching vultures devour a horseâ€™s carcass and a flock of birds making shrill, screaming noises from the trees. Lisaâ€™s cousin, Jasmine Brodie, felt it in the very walls of the huts where they were staying.
â€œThe air out there was thick,â€ says Brodie. â€œWe were staying where people who were sick went to get well. They would take the herbs to get better, and if they didnâ€™t get better they died there. A few people died in the room, and when I was in the room, I felt them â€¦ â€˜Hauntedâ€™ is a pretty strong word. But I would say there were spirits in the room.â€
Brodie says she could feel their presence, not just in the huts, but in the air. It made her uncomfortable and afraid, and eventually caused her to make an early return to the States on April 13.
But not before the night of the first accident.
IT WAS DARK WHEN THE CAR DRIVEN BY Lopesâ€™ assistant left the village. Itâ€™s commonplace for people to walk the roads that wind through Honduras, and itâ€™s often difficult to see pedestrians. When a family crossed the road in front of their car, there was the thud of a little boyâ€™s body slamming against the vehicle.
Lopesâ€™ party stopped and found the boy critically wounded. They loaded him into the car, and Lisa, ever the caretaker, cradled the dying boyâ€™s bleeding head in her arms. Someone gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as they rushed him to a nearby hospital. Once there, someone called back to the Usha Healing Village to speak with Ronald.
â€œThey said, â€˜We hit a little boy,â€™â€ he says. â€œThen they told me he was on life support. And then the next day he died. It was a shock.â€
The surname of the boyâ€™s familyâ€“Lopez.
Lisaâ€“exhibiting the generosity that her family says was both her blessing and her curseâ€“paid for the boyâ€™s medical care and funeral. And though her assistant was never charged with any wrongdoing, Lopes later compensated the family for their loss. She returned to Usha wearing the evidence of what sheâ€™d been through.
â€œLisa had blood all over her shirt when she came back,â€ says her cousin Jasmine Brodie. â€œShe kept the boyâ€™s shoes and brought them into the kitchen and sat them on a chair and took pictures of them with the video camera. Then she told us what happened.â€
The members of her entourage listened in shocked silence, not knowing the boyâ€™s death would be a strange harbinger of things to come.
ON APRIL 25, JUST WEEKS AFTER BEING told of the fatal accident on a nearby Honduran road, Ronald Lopes found himself looking into the blood-stained, tear-streaked face of his sister Raina, whoâ€™d just been driven back to Usha from another accident scene.
â€œI asked Raina if everybody was all right, and she said, â€˜I donâ€™t know,â€™â€ Ronald recalls. â€œI asked about Lisa, and she said, â€˜I donâ€™t know.â€™ When she said, â€˜I donâ€™t know,â€™ something came over me, and something told me that something really bad had happened.â€
As Ronald jumped into a waiting vehicle and was driven to the accident scene, he recalled Lisaâ€™s strange behavior that day.
Heâ€™d wondered why she had worn all white in the morning, then changed to all black in the evening, pacing before sheâ€™d gotten into the SUV. When he got out of the car and saw his sisterâ€™s body, he believed that Lisaâ€“who was driving at the time of the accidentâ€“had known she was going to die.
Once at the accident scene, he unleashed a profanity-laced tirade, jumping up and down and screaming before a sense of calm took hold. He reached down and cradled his sister in his arms, just as she had cradled the little boy weeks before.
As he put his hands into her mouth in an effort to clear her airway, her body stiffened. He held her as they drove to a nearby hospital, knowing there was nothing more he could do.
â€œOne thing Iâ€™ll never forget is the feeling of having my sisterâ€™s arms go cold in my hands,â€ he says. â€œThe hospital was like a 10-minute ride. And by the time we got to the hospital, her body was cold.â€
Thirty-one years earlier, nearly half a continent away from the Honduran road where she died, Lisa Lopes was born in Philadelphiaâ€™s Naval Hospital.
â€œI was in a lot of pain â€¦ I had a hard time dilating,â€ says her mother, Wanda Coleman, of the day Lisa was born. â€œThey had to break my water and they gave me a saddle blockâ€“thatâ€™s when they put a needle in the lower part of your spine and it numbs you. Eventually, they pulled her out with tongs.â€
Even on that day, her mother and fatherâ€“who met while attending Germantown and Gratz high schools respectivelyâ€“experienced many of the same problems that would plague their 13 years of on-again-off-again marriage.
Wanda says Lisaâ€™s father, an Army soldier, arrived at the hospital drunk and carrying artificial flowers. â€œAfter that I was pretty much raising Lisa on my own, with him spendingâ€“just wastingâ€“a lot of the money. It got to the point where I had to work and pay rent because he wasnâ€™t bringing the money home, and I had to file for an allotment from his pay.â€
As Lisaâ€™s fatherâ€™s drinking worsened, the marital problems escalated. Coleman says he beat her, sometimes in front of Lisa and later in front of her younger siblings. When the beatings would start, Wanda and the children would leave to stay with her father, Jose Andino, and his wife, Eva.
In between, Wanda says, her husband often bought alcohol and drugs with money that should have paid for rent or food. He sometimes left the small family stranded and penniless on military bases when he shipped out on deployments.
Once, the fighting got the family evicted from base housing in Fort Dix, N.J. And the violent spats sometimes involved other family members.
Wanda says Ronald Lopesâ€™ mother, Gladys Chaneyfield, would become part of the disputes. And Ronaldâ€™s sister, Karen Fequa, once broke a window at the familyâ€™s house in an effort to defend her brother. Another time Wandaâ€™s father had to intercede when a brother-in-law threatened to beat her.
Fequa says her brother was not an abusive brute, but admits there may have been some physical confrontations.
Asked how the chaos at home impacted the children, Lisaâ€™s brother says it affected them all in different ways.
â€œMy father made me afraid of him, which kind of put me in a shell for a good portion of my life,â€ he says. â€œWith Lisa it was different. She always expressed herself and felt strongly about what she believed in â€¦ I admired her because at that point I couldnâ€™t do that. I was too scared of my father.â€
When Lisa was 10, her parents separated. Wanda took the children and moved to Florida. There was a divorce, and Wanda returned to Philadelphia. Soon after, Ronald Sr. was stabbed in a dispute and nearly died.
One of the first people he wanted to see was his ex-wife. She initially didnâ€™t want to see him, but eventually relented. A year later the two remarried, Wanda says, because she believed things would be different.
â€œHe said he [became a Christian]. He got saved â€¦ But he pretty much did not change. The fighting started, him being like a very dogmatic person. His mother got involved again. It was mainly his mother.â€
By the time Lisa was 13, she was living with her paternal grandmotherâ€“an arrangement her mother opposed. Wanda says her husband wouldnâ€™t allow her to go and get her daughter.
â€œHe took me up in the bedroom and said, â€˜Lisa and my mother have a bond, and Lisa asked me if she could stay around there, and I told her yeah.â€™
â€œI said, â€˜What? What are you talking about, â€˜bond?â€™ What do you mean, â€˜bond?â€™
â€œHe wouldnâ€™t let me out of the room, so we ended up in a fight,â€ says Wanda. â€œAnd I jumped out the window. It was a window like that over there [about the height of a porch]. It was like 11 oâ€™clock at night and it was raining. I ran barefoot around to my grandmotherâ€™s house, where she used to live at that time. I was just boo-hooing â€¦ all I could do was cry. Wrap my arms around my grandmom and cry.â€
After that night Lisa was shuttled between relatives for the remainder of her teenage years, dropping out of high school and eventually earning a G.E.D. Though she did live with her mother again for several short stints, Wanda kicked her out for being â€œdisrespectful,â€ and her grandmother, Gladys Chaneyfield, later did the same.
â€œShe lived with me prior to going to Atlanta,â€ says her aunt, Karen Fequa. â€œShe used to dance onstage at a club called Second Cousins. They would have rappers and beatboxes and talent shows or whatever, and she tried out for someoneâ€™s video. This singer named Lorenzo. She was picked to dance in his video. Lisa left Philly to go to Atlanta with Lorenzo, and they got screwed out of some money. They were left down there with nothing.â€
Lorenzo and his manager wanted to come back to Philadelphia. Lisa decided to stay. She became involved with an early version of the group TLC (the group later replaced an original member with Rozonda Thomas). As the groupâ€™s members took nicknames that began with the letters T-L-C, Lisa chose Left Eye, explaining that a guy once told her he was attracted to her left eye. Through an Atlanta hairdresser, they met Pebblesâ€“a singer-turned-manager who signed the group to a management deal.
â€œThat day, in January 1991, she left the meeting with Pebbles and was thinking that she was going to buy Mommy and Daddy a house,â€ says Fequa. â€œThen she said to herself, â€˜Well, Iâ€™m going to buy Mommy a house and then Iâ€™m going to buy Daddy a house, â€™cause Mommy and Daddy canâ€™t live together.â€™ But as she was celebrating, she gets home and gets word that Daddy was killed.â€
Five months earlier Ronald Lopes Sr. had relocated to a house in Kinston, N.C., that had been left to his paternal grandmotherâ€™s heirs. He was there to try to work things out, his sister says. He wanted to make changes. But a cousin was already living in the house, and the two argued frequently.
â€œHe was shot in the stomach,â€ says Wanda, who got the news soon after it happened. â€œI think some people came by and heard the shots, but it still took them a while to get there. I think he died on the way to the hospital.
â€œI called and told Lisa. And she said, â€˜Oh what?â€™ I donâ€™t know if she cried. She didnâ€™t cry on the phone. She seemed really calm.â€
But inwardly Lisa was devastated.
â€œPart of the reason was that so much of him was in her,â€ says her brother Ronald. â€œSome of his wild side was in her. His spirituality was in her, his curiosity for finding out things was in her and his musical talent was in her. She always felt like my dad could kick anybodyâ€™s ass. She felt protected when he was around.â€
Some relatives privately speculate that Lisa was looking for that kind of security in her often disastrous relationships with men. Even as TLCâ€™s CDs, OOoooooHHH â€¦ On the TLC Tip (1992), CrazySexyCool (1994) and the triple platinum Fanmail (1999) took off, Lisa was both looking for a father figure and emulating what sheâ€™d seen in her parentsâ€™ relationship.
Though she told relatives that she had been romantically involved with numerous celebrities, including Keith Sweat and later Marion â€œSugeâ€ Knight, it was her link with former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Andre Rison that most resembled her parentsâ€™ failed marriage.
â€œBoth men had controlling mothers, both relationships had experiences of domestic violence and both relationships were negatively affected by outside influences,â€ says her aunt, LaVeta Jones. â€œAnd the outside influence, I would say, was family. I donâ€™t think Andreâ€™s mother liked Lisa. She spoke negatively of her. And his mother also controlled his money. Both relationships were marked by infidelity.
â€œI believe that Lisaâ€™s parentsâ€™ relationship greatly influenced her choices, in that she did not know what a healthy relationship was and may have even thought that violence and strife were par for the course.â€
In 1993 Rison allegedly pulled a gun when someone tried to break up a fight he and Lisa were having. Nine months later, after another fight, Lisa put some of Risonâ€™s possessions into the bathroom sink, doused them with nail polish remover and burned them.
She then found some of his sneakers and put them in the bathtub and burned them. In the chaos that followed, some of Risonâ€™s friends searched for a fire extinguisher while others vandalized Lisaâ€™s car, says Lisaâ€™s uncle, fashion designer Kyle Young, who witnessed the fracas. Meanwhile, the flames spread, and Risonâ€™s house was engulfed.
Her family insists that Lisa did not purposely burn Risonâ€™s house to the ground and that the media made the story into something it wasnâ€™t. In a plea bargain, Lisa pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a halfway house, five years probation and a $10,000 fine.
Though their on-again-off-again relationship was allegedly marred by abuse, Lisa still helped pay Risonâ€™s debt when he fell thousands of dollars behind in child support payments. And in 2001 the two planned to be marriedâ€“a move that family members opposed.
â€œA person whoâ€™s abusive doesnâ€™t stop,â€ says a relative who asked not to be identified. â€œThey buy you something nice and they apologize. Some people, they see that growing up and they say, â€˜Thatâ€™s how it is.â€™ And some people see it and say, â€˜I donâ€™t want to be the same way.â€™ It just depends on what kind of person you are. Some people confuse love with abuse. If he hits me, he really loves me because he was jealous because I did this with so and so. Iâ€™m not saying thatâ€™s how Lisa was, but some people are like that.â€
Lisa, the relative says, liked thugsâ€“men who could exert power and control over others. And because she was so short, at 5 feet 2 inches, she wanted a big man whom she felt could protect her.
That was her attraction to the man who embodied power and control, Tha Row Records CEO Suge Knight. Knight once oversaw the careers of Snoop Dogg and the late Tupac Shakur, and he took over the label and changed its name from Death Row to Tha Row after a messy breakup with former partner Dr. Dre.
â€œLisa had a dream about [Suge Knight],â€ says Jasmine Brodie, the 20-year-old cousin who accompanied her to Honduras. â€œShe had a dream he was looking for her. As soon as he got out of jail [where he served five years on charges stemming from a 1996 assault], one of his people contacted her people, and she flew down there. Then she changed her name to N.I.N.A., under his label, Tha Row. N.I.N.A. stands for â€˜New Identity Not Applicable.â€™ And she recorded some stuff for him.â€
Relatives were privately worried about her relationship with Knight, whom she was romantically involved with for several months. After Lisa broke up with Knight, she told at least two relatives that the record executive had choked her after she asked him about a large advance for signing with his label.
Despite the allegation, Knight is planning to release some of the music Lisa worked on with Tha Row just months before her death. Her family is not pleased.
In recent years, according to relatives, the music came to matter less to Lisa. She provided money and lodging for people who couldnâ€™tâ€“and sometimes wouldnâ€™tâ€“care for themselves. She began the process of adopting a girl named Snow whose mother sheâ€™d met after the fire at Risonâ€™s house.
Snow, like many of the people whom Lisa tried to help, was troubled. She had suffered a rough home life with a mother whose on-and-off addiction had scarred her. And it showed.
Once, say relatives, Lisa took the girl to church. During the service, the girl ran to the front and screamed out that she hated God and everyone in the sanctuary.
Eventually, Lisa returned Snow to her mother.
Other ventures, including a book, a clothing line, a doll line and a documentary began to take priority, along with a relentless search for her father that took her into the spiritual realm.
â€œI know she really missed him,â€ says Jasmine. â€œWhen youâ€™re missing something, youâ€™re searching for it, and you do things that people think are odd trying to find it. Trying to find happiness, trying to fill the void.â€
She would sometimes disappear behind closed doors for hours, even days, in an effort to talk to her fatherâ€™s spirit. And sometimes, according to relatives, she believed she succeeded.
â€œI heard her mention it before, and also I found a letter where she conversed with my father and with Tupac, and wrote down what my father was saying,â€ Ronald says.
â€œSeeing that made me understand more about why Lisa was fasting and how serious she was about her spirituality. I wish I would have known how deep she was into certain things. I would have spent more time with her. She probably felt as though the rest of the family didnâ€™t understand.â€
In truth, many didnâ€™t. Lisa grew up attending Third Eternal Baptist Church in Germantown with her maternal grandparents in a belief system that considers forays into the realm of the dead demonic.
Her father, according to relatives on both sides of the family, didnâ€™t have those kinds of reservations. And neither did Lisa.
â€œShe was very spiritual, as was her father,â€ says Lisaâ€™s aunt, Karen Fequa. â€œThey both believed in life outside of this physical being. They believed the spirit lives forever, regardless of how, where or if itâ€™s housed.â€
Fequa says both she and Lisaâ€™s uncle, Charles Lopes, have had experiences that involved a presence they believed to be that of their dead brother, Ronald.
But when Lisa began to travel to Honduras and to partake of certain herbs and participate in certain practices, some relatives privately wondered if she was dabbling in the occult. Some, her mother included, believed her life was in jeopardy.
Two years before her death, Lisaâ€™s mother says she had a vision of her eldest daughter in a casket. She came to believe that Lisa would die young. She didnâ€™t know when and didnâ€™t know where. But Lisa, who had experienced visions of her own death, believed she knew the exact date.
â€œShe didnâ€™t have it right,â€ Wanda says. â€œI think as time went on, I donâ€™t think she entertained the thought anymore and she started to plan things again the last several months. She thought that since it didnâ€™t happen at the time, she thought it wasnâ€™t going to happen. And I kinda thought that, too.â€
Just months before the fatal accident in Honduras, Lisa began a 40-day fast, and her mother fasted with her.
â€œI fasted for intercessory prayer for her,â€ Wanda says.
She pauses, then talks about how God cushioned the blow by revealing what was going to happen. Still, she says, when the accident did happen, it was eerie and sad and spiritual.
â€œIt was like I heard that crash,â€ says Wanda, who was at home in Georgia at the time. â€œThat crash was in my kitchen. But I couldnâ€™t relate it to anything. I just was wondering what that loud screeching noise was. I looked behind me to see if anything fell off the counter or anything moved. I was in the house by myself, so it was quiet. I heard this big screeching crash and I said, â€˜What was that noise?â€™ Nothing was disturbed. But it stayed on my mind. What was that noise? What was that noise?â€
When she learned about the accident, Wanda was at once hysterical and calm. Although sheâ€™d expected it to happen, the surprise was no less real.
â€œAll of a sudden itâ€™s here,â€ she says. â€œThatâ€™s the shock. Iâ€™m going through this. It actually happened. Lisaâ€™s not here anymore. But there was a reason for that. I mean, itâ€™s like, the Lord did this for me. Iâ€™m supposed to tell other people that he can do this for them. They donâ€™t have to suffer. They donâ€™t have to be grieved for a long period of time â€¦ Itâ€™s down in your soul, down in your spirit, that yearning is there. He knows it.â€
They say death comes in threes. A few months after Lisaâ€™s passing, the saying came to fruition. Lisaâ€™s uncle Anthony Lopesâ€“a disabled Vietnam veteran who had followed Lisa to Honduras and remained there, watching over her investmentsâ€“died on July 17. He joined the little boy who was hit by the car and Lisa as the third one connected to die in Honduras in a span of three months.
â€œAnthony lived in Orlando, Fla., and went back and forth from there to Honduras with Lisa,â€ says Lisaâ€™s aunt, Karen Fequa. â€œThe next thing I know, in May of 2000, he went to Honduras and didnâ€™t come back.â€
Initially, Anthony Lopesâ€“Lisaâ€™s fatherâ€™s brotherâ€“followed the teachings of Dr. Sebi along with Lisa. Weighing some 300 pounds at his arrival, he fasted and ate the herbs that were offered in the village, eventually losing 100 pounds. But he soon stopped following the regimen and regained all the weight, Fequa says.
He died of congestive heart failure.
His death, following so closely on the heels of Lisaâ€™s, seemed odd, says Fequa. It was almost as if there was some spiritual element, some connection.
â€œBoth my brother and my niece died in Honduras within months of each other,â€ says Fequa, who believes that the practice of voodoo in Honduras may have had an effect on her family. â€œItâ€™s just a little uncanny.â€
Solomon Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org
), PWâ€™s senior writer, last wrote about storefront churches in the city.[/img]