#TBT The Fire is Rison: Check Mate

22 years ago, on this exact day, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (RIP) burned down her then boyfriend and Atlanta Falcons star, Andre Rison’s multi-million dollar mansion.

The story goes like this this. Trust was an issue for the couple and Left Eye decided to get back at Andre by staying out with the girls all night. She “raced” the sun home only to find Andre wasn’t there either. In fact, he pulled up about 5 minutes after her while she was still outside, so when he walked up to the door, she hit him.

The altercation migrates into the house where the domestic dispute continues. As described in Left Eye’s “Last Days Of Left Eye” documentary, they started fighting, complete with ripping clothes and everything. After the fight, and in between black outs, Left Eye noticed the bruises and lacerations from the fight. She then went to the closet and saw a collection of new “tennis shoes” and after scouring the stacks and not finding a single size 4, she dumped all of them in the bathtub and lit them on fire; which is the fire that consequently burned the mansion down.


 I love Left Eye enough to admit she was crazy. Not crazy in a bad way either. The word crazy seldom possesses a positive connotation, so I don’t want you think I’m getting all chauvinistic and patriarchal by calling a female arsonist of a girlfriend crazy. The reality is she was in a volatile relationship which to a young couple could be misconstrued as passionate-love. This is what a lot of money and distrust can do to a celebrity couple, see Chris Brown. Passions run high consistently and when your mate is the object of an entire nation’s desire, the most minute insecurities typically become the aqueducts to Jealousville, population: 2, especially if there is a history of cheating.

5 months after the fire, Crazy, Sexy, Cool drops Left Eye is a symbol for women empowerment, and TLC continues on their path to who they will become. However, let us not forget that Left Eye bar in the “Not Tonight Remix”

“I be the one to blame as the flames, keep risin'(Rison) to the top.” -Left Eye

Let’s address something else briefly. Domestic violence isn’t cool in any capacity. If a relationship, whether business or romantic, becomes destructive or violent, it’s time to let that relationship go. That’s the story underneath the story. Check mates. 


Kevin ‘Ai-Que’ Smith II is a hip-hop artist, former educator, and co-Director of Philadelphia’s longest running Hip Hop event, The Gathering. As a English and History Education alum from the prestigious Lincoln University, PA Ai-Que also challenges the socio-cultural climate by fostering open dialogue and advocating for unity among underserved communities. He’s currently on a national music tour performing as a solo artist. Ai-Que’ explores hip-hop lifestyle, lyricism, politics, activism, technology and pop culture for OogeeWoogee.

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