Tionne Tenese Watkins (born April 26, 1970), better known by her stage name T-Boz, is an American R&B singer, song-writer, and a member of the group TLC. Watkins is also an occasional actress.
Watkins was born in Des Moines, Iowa. She is of both African American and Native American descent. As a child, she was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia; her parents both have the homozygous recessive trait which one in 12 people of African American descent have. Since the age of seven, Watkins has been in and out of hospitals due to her condition. Watkins' family moved from Des Moines to Atlanta, Georgia, when she was nine years old. She was not expected to live past her 20s.
Initially hiding details of her ailment from others, she went public with the disease in 1996 and is today one of the spokespeople for Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. In 2002, Watkins was in the hospital for four months due to a flare-up of sickle-cell anemia. She has stated that her faith in God and her optimism has helped her stay free from the more serious effects of sickle cell disease.