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Keke Palmer, Drew Sidora Cast As 'Chilli' & 'T-Boz' In TLC Biopic - Fans Apparently Not Pleased

Television
by Courtney
February 17, 2013 4:25 PM
68 Comments
  • |
Keke Drew

According to Vibe magazine, Keke Palmer has been cast to play Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas, and Drew Sidora has been cast as Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, in VH1's in-development biopic on pop/hip hop/R&B group TLC, which the network announced, last November, with shooting to begin next month.

Palmer and Sidora join the Niatia Kirkland - aka Lil' Mama - who'll be playing the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.

Likely the least known of the trio, Drew Sidora is an actress/singer known for her recurring role on That's So Raven, and her parts in movies like Step Up, Never Die Alone, White Chicks, Wild Hogs and others.

Seemingly in response to Twitter comments about her not looking anything like Chilli, Keke Palmer took to the social media site this afternoon in defense of her casting, stating, verbatim:

People kill me, I don't remember Angela Bassett looking ANYTHING like Tina Turner. And she RIPPED that role;

People need to realize hat movies aren't casted by people looking like who they're playing. They're casted by who can do the role.

I don't know about you, but I would much rather see a movie that is well acted, then a movie with a bunch of look a like's.

Cause Ben Affleck isn't even Hispanic, but the man he played in Argo IS.

I shouldn't play the part because my baby hair isn't the perfect texture?. Goodnight Twitter, goodnight.

Okay, I just got snappy lol now I really need to get off this negativity warp. I spoke my mind! God is good!

Those tweets were all posted within a 30-minute-span.

Screenwriter Kate Lanier (What’s Love Got To Do With ItSet it OffBeauty Shop) penned the screenplay for the TLC film, which is currently untitled (Untitled TLC Biopic), which both Chilli and T-Boz have signed on to consult and executive producer, along with Bill Diggins and Maggie Malina, as well as Alexander Motlagh for Pop Films.

The film will tell the story of the hip musical trio who rose to fame in 1991 when they signed to LaFace Records, releasing their multi-platinum debut. Their 1994 follow-up, CrazySexyCool, sold over 22 million copies, and Fanmail sold over 10 million copies in 1999. Of course, it wasn't all peachy; Bankruptcy, illness, group fights, and,death, were just some of the group's challenges. 

Jeff Olde and Jill Holmes are serving as executive producers for VH1, for what will be the first in a series of scripted music-focused feature tele-pics that will air on VH1.

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68 Comments

  • JPie612 | February 20, 2013 5:29 PMReply

    You know why people are up in arms? Because without actors who look the part, people would have to think too much. We have allowed ourselves to become visual idiots and simpletons when it comes to art so we expect to be handed stories that are void of any complexity. Our vigilant support of mediocrity has enabled this nonsense. Hopefully there are enough of us who still vie for something a little higher up the bar. I wish these actresses luck on their roles. Play on.

  • jeftcg | February 20, 2013 5:13 AMReply

    "Keke Palmer?" Wasn't that the chick from "Showtime at the Apollo"? Anyone? Anyone?

  • ALM | February 20, 2013 8:00 AM

    You are talking about KeKe Shepherd, who is a good three or four decades older than KeKe Palmer. You've got jokes this morning.

  • Ila | February 19, 2013 4:59 PMReply

    IilKunta, can you read ? Keke never said anything like! And although Keke has a lot to learn because she is still so very young, at only 19, she has already worked with : Sam Jackson, Lawrence Fishburn's, Robin Williams, Kevin Spacey, Queen Latifah, Maya Angelou, Cecily Tyson, ice Cube, Tyler Perry, Dolly Parton, Jennifer Lopez, and yes Ms Bassett, have you?

  • lilkunta | February 19, 2013 1:39 PMReply

    Keke, you ARE NOT ON ANGELA BASSETT's level to compare yourself to her.
    Talent should be of the utmost concern, however looks matter to. While you do sing....
    I would have cast Piage Hurd(Tasha on everybody Hates Chris) as Chili.

  • Troy | February 20, 2013 12:03 AM

    If Angela Bassett said she wishes she was on Ieke level to your face you wouldn't believe it since it doesn't match the reality you make up.

  • Yes | February 20, 2013 12:01 AM

    I would always pick the lighter skin woman too if I hated my mother.

  • CC | February 19, 2013 9:32 AMReply

    To echo the thoughts of others, if loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right.

    Hip Hip Hooray to Keke! Many people understand (including Keke) that there are millions of female performers, black and white, who would love to be standing in Keke's shoes. As Jame and Megan B. pointed out, given her age, her resume, and the limited oppurtunies for all actresses, I'd say she's well above the curve.

    To those who feel compelled to water-down her accomplishments with "yeah but(s)" and the ambiguous request for "better things", the begging question is, better than who? And what exactly are those things?

    Lastly, I can safely assume that most actresses, couch potatoes and armchair critics would take Keke's hand and throw theirs in file 13.

  • Jame Coulter | February 19, 2013 5:13 AMReply

    Akimbo, with all due respect, " better things", you come on a blog and say 19 year old Keke Palmer should be doing better things? She does charity work and starred in 2 feature film projects last year, 2 very highly rated television movies, she produced a film with Nick Cannon, at 17 the youngest ever to produce in the history of Hollywood , The Olsen twins did it first at 18, she was on two number one soundtracks, and worked for the Obama campaign traveling all across the country to get out the young new voter, so people who know nothing about the business can post whatever they like, but learn the business, because it is a business, it took Beyonce 16 years to get a special on HBO, Lady Gaga did it in two, so what Beyonce should have been doing "better things" over the 16 year period ? And " to echo the thoughts of others", what a few people on a blog, get off the blogs and picket Hollywood to create " better roles", because being an anonymous critic from your basement is counter productive, this young lady is working and making history, never in the history of film has there ever been a young black woman under the age of 20 who has been in over 14 films where she was the lead in 8 , whether on Tv or the big screen this is something we need to celebrate not tear down on a damn blog! She is a fan of TLC so why can't she do a project which is a labor of love for her, too crazy!

  • C'Mon | February 20, 2013 2:47 AM

    Jurnee Smollett and Regina King both went from child stars to successful adult actors, she cod look at their careers. Why y'all keep talking about how much money Keke got (not as much as Raven) and how much history she's supposedly made (not as much as Quevanzhane, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Janet Jackson, or Raven)? Keke is not at the top of her game, otherwise she'd be doing something bigger. Stop frontin. She's not even that good of an actress, always acting all sassy.

  • Still | February 19, 2013 11:58 PM

    Is there any black female actress she can pattern her aspirations or body of work after? Maybe someone who was somewhat close to her in financial success around her age that went on to have feature film success. How many black women had the lead in feature films last year? What percent does Keke represent of all black women actorsfor the year 2012? What percent of movies lead by black women in 2012 does Keke represent? Who knows where they will be in 12 years. Being light years ahead of 99.9% of everyone else in the history of the world at 19 ain't a bad place to be.

  • Akimbo | February 19, 2013 12:21 PM

    I don't know where to begin. I get that you're a Keke stan, so I'm going to ignore all the "loser blog commenter" subtext and get to the heart of the matter. "Better things" for Keke would be feature films, not VH1 movies opposite Lil Mama and Drew Sidora. Better things would also be television series on network or one of the respected cable channels. Keke has gone from starring in the lovely "Akeelah and the Bee" to being the lead of a (kind of cheesy) Nickelodeon show to a kind of high-profile Lifetime movie to the co-lead of this mess. She started strong with roles in network series and studio films, opted to go the teen star route, and now she's taking on roles she should be "too good for" careerwise. She's regressing. The fact that you compare her to the untalented but business savvy Olsen twins and Nick Cannon speaks volumes. If it's just about being a brand and just trying to make money, then by all means, she should keep pursuing her music career and signing onto lackluster projects. As for the Beyonce comparison: notice how she went from being the member of a group, to going solo? Do you think that, after being solo, she's going to join another singing group? Notice how she went from guest starring on Smart Guy to the Fighting Temptations to Dreamgirls? Do you think we'll ever see her guest star on a family sitcom again? Or in another Fighting Temptations equivalent? It's called progression and it's something I want for Keke. Either her team has no vision or she was simply adamant about taking on this role because it is not the right "next step" for someone at her level. She should be recurring on a quality show right now and priming herself for her next series regular role. Pilot season is currently in full effect and I sincerely hope she's not passing it up, especially not for this. I say all this as a creator and as someone with experience in talent representation, not as a "hater" or "basement dweller." Grasping at straws and trying to pump Keke up as a history-maker does not change the fact that the next role for this talented young woman will be "Chilli" in the wholly unnecessary TLC biopic. On the network that gave us Single Ladies, Flavor of Love, Love & Hip Hop, etc. I know that roles are farther between for black actors but Keke already has a leg up on the competition: she's a "name" and that counts for a lot in this town.

  • Akimbo | February 19, 2013 12:34 AMReply

    My only issue with Keke's casting, to echo the thoughts of others, is that she should be doing better things in her career. I don't believe for one second that Lil Mama is a decent actor and "The Game" soured me on the incredibly mediocre Drew Sidora. People will watch regardless, half to watch the trainwreck and the other half for the Twitter participation.

  • Kai | February 18, 2013 10:48 PMReply

    I'm so proud of these gorgeous talented young ladies and hope their opportunity isn't tainted by ignorant negative haters. I loved Drew on "the Game" she can sing, dance and act. We all know Keke is an amazing actress and she can sing as well. I will support them for sure. Love seeing deep brown beauties on TV. Will pray for your success, ladies. I support you!

  • Troy | February 19, 2013 11:40 PM

    Ah that is the problem. They are deep brown beauties. You know how every in the world feels about deep brown beauties.

  • Me | February 18, 2013 10:31 PMReply

    And what the fuck, drew sidora+!not only does she not look anything like tboz, she doesnt act like her or is cool like her and keekee i understand but Ur not even perfect for thid role or prob wnt rio it, i love tlc and nobodys messing this up, and angela did favor tina turner, u cant compare urself to Angela bassett , sorry, i like u n other stuff, but idk on this.. But wtf i draw the line and all the lines at drew being tboz how and wtf, the chemistry of tlc is beautiful.. And all 3 of TLC are gorgeous smh..

  • Troy | February 19, 2013 11:38 PM

    So you don't think Tboz and Chilli had anything to do with casting?

  • Scotty | February 18, 2013 9:25 PMReply

    TLC still has Fans?

  • Troy | February 19, 2013 11:37 PM

    So you like TLC but don't want them to make money off of their story?

  • BeautyIAM | February 19, 2013 12:44 AM

    Yes, they do. I love TLC. I don't care much for this project, but TLC was an amazing group.

  • me | February 18, 2013 10:26 PM

    Ummm hell yeah and u know it, dnt talk about them like theyre Destinys child

  • ALM | February 18, 2013 9:37 PM

    @ Scotty: Yes.

  • Ladybug | February 18, 2013 7:01 PMReply

    Casted . . . sigh

  • Winn | February 20, 2013 3:47 PM

    Thank you. I understand that it's only Twitter, but this: "People need to realize hat movies aren't casted by people looking like who they're playing. They're casted by who can do the role"? That is just painful.

  • thehardtruth | February 18, 2013 3:24 PMReply

    Some people are just too hard to please, in today's society you're damned if you and damned if you don't. Okay tweeters you're opinions have been heard, now sit back and enjoy the movie.

  • Troy | February 19, 2013 11:35 PM

    So we get rid of all the white people not who else do we restrict freedoms from.

  • Bam | February 19, 2013 5:20 AM

    No some people have a voice and should not have one, we need to rethink that whole freedom of speech thing.....

  • listen and learn | February 18, 2013 2:15 PMReply

    I belive the people’s frustration w/the casting choices is that they were excited to hear Chili & Tboz wanted to intoduce some "FRESH FACES". But are a bit disappointed to find that its going to be the same old, same old. Belive it or not the fans, viewers, consumers, etc are ready for some new energy and talent.
    Some of the mis conceptions
    1. UNKNOWN OR FRESH FACE does not = Unexperienced. The public is only aware of 10% of the Guilds members (about 1% of that being black talent). Guess who the other 90% are? Working, therefore experienced talent that you have never heard oF but have probably seen in your favorite productions w/smaller roles.

    2. VH1 AND the TLC brand don't require POPULAR NAMES to sell, raise money or market the biopic. Its a TV movie. All you need is a great story (TLC) and the machine (VH1).

    3. The casting process is challenging and rigorous. Its a TEAM effort but the final decisions come down to the producers. The casting director is usually a worker bee gathering selections. As the viewers, if you are disappointed blame the producers (and in this case add T Boz& Chilli ).

  • Jules | February 18, 2013 2:00 PMReply

    KeKe is actually a pretty good match for Chili. I'm more worried about the Lisa Lopes casting than the Chili casting.

  • Jenn | February 18, 2013 1:36 PMReply

    Denzel doesn't look a thing like Malcolm X and he killed that roll. The question always should be, will the film do honor to the people being portrayed?

  • Jenn | February 21, 2013 11:36 AM

    I used the word honor as in "respect." Can a depiction of a person who by the religion that they founded stipulate that they should *not* be depicted show honor and respect? You tell me.

  • Troy | February 19, 2013 11:32 PM

    So should Isiah Washington's performance honor Muhammad in the Blue Caprice movie?

  • CC | February 18, 2013 1:25 PMReply

    First, it's simply ridiculous to believe an actor's performance weighs heavily on whether of not they look like the person they're portraying. History tells us that's not true. Done deal.

    But, now I am more concerned with the word nerds smelling their own upper lips.

    **in the tune of Elvis' Blue Suede Shoes**

    Well, it's one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, now go, cat, go. But don't you mis-conjugate my verb. You can do anything but lay off my casted word.

    (Chorus)
    "feet don't fail me now"

    Well, you can knock me down, step in my face, slander my name all over the damn place. But uh-uh, Honey, lay off of my conjugated verb. Play Left Eye, Chili Thighs, and T-Boz too, but baby, I's a educated fool.

    Please folks, it's a twitter comment.

  • lilkuntaName | February 19, 2013 2:12 PM

    CC: It isnt 4 20 so what are you on?

  • Donella | February 18, 2013 11:46 AMReply

    Would rather see KeKe portray Whitney Houston on the big screen. But if this is what she wants...

  • Donella | February 20, 2013 5:32 PM

    I think KeKe sings.

  • lilkunta | February 19, 2013 1:49 PM

    donella; no No NO! An unknown WHO CAN SING should portray Whitney if ever a biopic is made. I think a biopic is too soon right now. She JUST died last year.

  • bohemian princess | February 18, 2013 11:33 AMReply

    I'm more upset about the fact that KeKe has been relegated to Lifetime Movies , Nickelodeon films, & VH-1 projects than her being cast as Chilli. She should be headlining Hollywood films like her white contemporaries (i.e. Jennifer Lawrence) but then again we all know what time it is. Sidebar: Is she even a part of that 'Virgin Mary' film with Abigail Breslin because it's no longer listed on her IMDB credits.

  • ALM | February 19, 2013 8:43 AM

    @ Megan B: Ava does amazing work. A lot of the Academy Awards won by actors in the last few years have been due to roles in indie films. There is nothing wrong with doing a combination of what you refer to as a "low budget" film role from a high qulity director such as Ava, and then doing larger feature film roles. I like KeKe. The point is that the full potential of her talent has not been used. Did you read my original comment outside of this reply string? I actually defended KeKe.

  • Meagan B | February 18, 2013 10:21 PM

    Ava Duvernay does low budget films, again that is not on the Hunger Games level, the actors have to live, so they cannot just do low budget projects to satisfy their fans, Zoe is blessed at 24 to be cast in big budget films, but she is one person, again we cannot expect one actress to be the example for all, Keke was 14- 15 ish when she did Nickelodeon, what else was she suppose to do? Wait on roles that were never to come? And she did do a big screen film last year with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton that few bothered to go see, it is playing on HBO right now, and she was in Ice Age 4 last year that grossed over 800 million dollars and she sang the theme song, and she did do The Carlina White Story and received rave reviews last year, and she did do a mixtape that received a good reception, so I am not sure what people expect of this young lady, she is doing television , and film, and music, wow, when she plays that crackhead and wins the Oscar guess people will say she has finally made it...... not, they will say how little Akeelah is degrading herself to win an Oscar, so she has no win with so many armchair critics who have no clue about how the game really works.

  • ALM | February 18, 2013 9:36 PM

    @ Megan B.: That's exactly our point. There aren't big budget roles for young African American actresses in KeKe's age range. The only person that immediately comes to mind is Zoe Kravitz, and having Lenny as a father definitely didn't hurt her career. Someone (Spike Lee, Tim Story, John Singleton, Kasi Lemmons, etc.) should be writing major film roles for KeKe and her peers. Can someone get Ava Duvernay on the line? Seriously.

  • Megan B. | February 18, 2013 9:12 PM

    Not only Keke but Angela Basset, Queen Latifah is working on a TV Show as well, what is the big film project she should be doing? She should be headlining a movie? Really, ok well point out the other 19 year old black girls who is doing that? Please let's not put unrealistic expectations on Keke, she is working and doing a damn good job, there are no big budget movies for young black people, there are no small budget films for young black folks, Tyler Perry is casting his generation not Keke's, Hunger Games had 2 blacks and they both had 3 lines each, so Keke should do that instead of being the lead in a tv movie? I don't think so, I would rather see her in a TLC film having fun portraying her idols, instead of saying 2 lines in Twightlight 4 , acting is acting and black folks can only ruin their careers when they are not seen for long periods of time , they will be replaced with the quickness, relevant, you must stay relevant and because you all are talking about Keke she is relevant, that is all a film producer are looking for " when was your last job". As long as Keke consistently does great work whether on TV or in Films she will be fine, it ultimately is about the work!

  • Anwar | February 18, 2013 3:59 PM

    I feel that the Nickelodeon show was real big step back career-wise. Hardly anyone from Nickelodeon jumps right into heavy dramatic material right after their shows are over. It takes some time. Those kids are not taken seriously and it sucks that the biggest fame Keke Palmer has gotten has come from a tween network that basically owns it's actors. A crappy CW show may have been better. People no longer see her as "the girl from Akeelah." They see her as "True Jackson VP." So, she's now in a place where she has to prove her dramatic chops again. These type of movies are the easiest to get so she can do that. When it comes to black actors sometimes it's better to not work if you want your career to keep moving in a certain type of direction. Some work can derail you. Nickelodeon provided her with money and fame but she did not gain ANY respect from it at all. She's only 19 and she's worked consistently so there's a LOT of career left for her.

  • saadiyah | February 18, 2013 3:05 PM

    I totally agree! KeKe has shown great acting chops from the first time she appeared on screen as a little girl. She's also got a number of Indies under her belt. I thought the Nickelodean gig would really put her on the map, but I forgot that she's B... This young woman should be a big film star by now, not vying for B-rate movie roles!!

  • ALM | February 18, 2013 12:47 PM

    @ Bohemian Princess: I agree with you that KeKe should be MUCH further along in her career by now.

  • Trollin | February 18, 2013 11:15 AMReply

    Someone should explain to Kiki that the past tense of "cast" is "cast" not "casted."

  • C'Mon | February 20, 2013 2:35 AM

    I really don't know what money has to do with it, BUT Keke has Nickelodeon money. So does Meagan Good. Not like Nickelodeon or Disney pay big money anyway. Jurnee had been a series regular on network television, where the real money is, by the time she was that age Keke can't be too financially comfortable if she doing a VH1 flick! While Meagan & Jurnee do real movies & network TV...

  • Troy | February 19, 2013 11:24 PM

    Jurnee and Meagan definitely did not have more money in the bank than she did at that age. None of them had Disney money or their own shows.

  • C'Mon | February 19, 2013 2:20 PM

    Jurnee Smollett and Meagan Good were both ahead of Keke career-wise at the same age.

  • lilkunta | February 19, 2013 1:44 PM

    @lee: Raven Symone is further along than keke palmer

  • Lee Edwards | February 18, 2013 10:57 PM

    Ok Alm, let's see where little Q Wallis will be in 10 years, if she cannot sing or dance her options at 9 are few, " much further along", ok well name me one other black child male or female at 19 that is further than Keke? I wish you can come up with one person because I cannot

  • ALM | February 17, 2013 10:34 PMReply

    KeKe makes good points, and the points are made even more valid by the fact that she can actually ACT. They don't let random kids star opposite Oscar nominees Laurence F. and Angela B.

  • Monique a Williams | February 17, 2013 8:43 PMReply

    I like KeKe Palmer and appreciate her responses. She is a closer look to ChIlli than Zoe is to Nina, that's for sure.

  • C'Mon | February 19, 2013 2:16 PM

    Chilli and Keke Palmer are the same complexion. Lil Mama is much darker than Left Eye. Drew Sidora is darker than T-Boz.

  • lilkunta | February 19, 2013 1:42 PM

    Your Comment@Monique; NO SHE ISNT.
    Zoe is too light to portray Nina just as keke is too dark to portray Chili.
    However per Keke Angela bassett is darker adn she portrayed lighter tina turner.

  • Darkan | February 17, 2013 7:31 PMReply

    Another VH-1 project we can all skip. Won't be watching this badly cast train wreck waiting to happen. SMDH.

  • Troy | February 19, 2013 11:20 PM

    Cast it better. Who would work with you and doesn't have the time restraints?

  • kelly | February 17, 2013 7:04 PMReply

    Casted? Maybe they should get edumacated too.

  • Stacie | February 18, 2013 1:05 PM

    It fell out of favor because people stopped using it. Now, people and respected news outlets are using it again. Are you saying that old english words can't be revived? She used it because she has seen and heard it used by journalists and professionals in the industry. As someone who teaches English and corrects grammatical errors daily, I don't see a problem with this one.

  • Terry | February 18, 2013 11:19 AM

    Stacie, that's ridiculous. We don't live in the time of Chaucer. There is no such word as "casted" in modern English. Why defend ignorance? She was not using old English. She mis-conjugated a verb. Mistakes happen to everyone. Unless someone corrects her, she'll continue to make the same error and look foolish to many.

  • Stacie | February 18, 2013 9:52 AM

    There is nothing wrong with using the word "casted" as a past tense of the verb cast. It was used in old english and is regaining popularity. If Chaucer and Shakespeare could use it then so can KeKe.

  • MsTrue | February 17, 2013 9:13 PM

    Ha ha! Yep

  • Bama | February 17, 2013 6:57 PMReply

    Who's directing? Whose playing Dallas? Inquiring minds want to know!

  • Mark and Darla | February 17, 2013 5:07 PMReply

    Black women and the internet, worst thing that ever happen to black female celebrities since 2000.

  • Troy | February 19, 2013 11:17 PM

    Except because of the Internet there have been more black women becoming famous/infamous since 2000 than in the previous 40 years.

  • VichusSmith | February 17, 2013 4:56 PMReply

    If people think that looking like the person you're portraying is the big issue in making a succesful biopic, these people must like shitty movies.

  • Troy | February 19, 2013 11:15 PM

    All fans of singular celebrities watch shitty movies.

  • Terrence | February 17, 2013 4:44 PMReply

    You go Keke!

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