TLC during The 12th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Steve Eichner/WireImage)

RTB Rewind: TLC Wins Big at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards

RTB Rewind: TLC Wins Big at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards

Published Thu, September 7, 2023 at 11:15 AM EDT

On Sept. 7, 1995, TLC further solidified their pop star status by winning big at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Riding high off of the massive success of their sophomore album, 1994's CrazySexyCool, TLC's third single, "Waterfalls" was groundbreaking at the time, praised for its socially-conscious messaging over Organized Noize's fluid production. The video, directed by F. Gary Gray, was both futuristic and sobering, and remains one of TLC's most instantly recognizable visuals.

One of the most memorable verses in the song is about the AIDS epidemic as T-Boz sings, "His health is fading and he doesn't know why/
Three letters took him to his final resting place, y'all don't hear me..."

"The video spoke for a whole epidemic," T-Boz explained in an interview with Fuse. "We used to have so many patients come up and say, 'Thanks for being our voice and getting the message out there to let people know how easily this is contracted.'"

T-Boz also spoke about another little known fact — that's CeeLo singing on the hook. It makes sense, since Organized Noize produced the track and CeeLo was chilling in the studio while the group was recording the song.

"He was chilling in the studio, so I was like 'Hey, you sing good, why don't you [sing backup]?" T-Boz remembered. "He was in Goodie Mob, we grew up together, we go way back. He did and it was amazing! I love his voice. Then, everybody knew him as a rapper. Now, the world knows him as a singer, but he was like that years ago."

During the awards, "Waterfalls" won both Video of the Year and Viewer's Choice, becoming the third and last video to accomplish this feat in a single year. The night was a big one for iconic videos. "Waterfalls" was up against Michael and Janet Jackson's epic video "Scream," which had the most nominations of the night.

Watch the video above.

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