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T-BozLife is a cycle. We go through pain to become more appreciative of the joy in our lives. Nobody understands that concept more than Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins. She has experienced her fair share of pain in the last few years. She’s had to contend with the swine flu, a brain tumor, and an ongoing bout with Sickle Cell Anemia.

It was reported the Grammy winner was pushed into filing for bankruptcy again. While some believe the cause is frivolous spending, TMZ says it has something to do with T-Boz’ ex-husband, Mack 10. He owes her $250,000 in back child support.

In light of recent events, The Urban Daily serves up a list of nine celebrities who have filed for bankruptcy. Let these stars’ mistakes be a lesson to you all. Pay the government, before you wind up homeless.

George Clinton

The man who has given the world beloved hits like “Atomic Dog,” “Flashlight,” and “One Nation Under A Groove” has been the victim of record industry rule #4080. George Clinton learned just how shady record companies were in 1985 when he filed for bankruptcy. He was forced to do so because he signed contracts which gave most of the royalties from his music to the record companies. Clinton’s only way of making money from his music was to tour. As soon as people thought George was back on his feet, it was announced George Clinton still didn’t have any money when his mother passed in 2010. Failing health and all, Clinton is still touring to make ends meet.

Natalie Cole

1997 was a roller coaster of a year for Natalie Cole. After winning her eighth Grammy, she filed for bankruptcy. Cole sought financial protection because her spending habits were out of control. Also, her success in the 90s was, in part, due to her recordings featuring her late father, Nat King Cole. Much of the money made from those works had to be paid to his estate. They say never do business with family and Natalie Cole is a prime example. If you do business with  your family, you might just end up broke.

Marvin Gaye

The first thing you think of when Marvin Gaye’s name is mentioned is his voice. Say what you will about his addictions and tragic demise, but the man knew how to sing a woman right out of her clothes. His womanizing was the cause for his divorce to Anna Gordy in 1973. By 1976, Gaye had fallen behind on alimony payments to Gordy. To keep himself out of jail, signed over the royalties to his album, Here, My Dear, to his ex-wife. The double album detailed his feelings about their divorce. With song titles like “Anger” and “When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You,” we know it was a hard break up as well as a long journey back to financial freedom.

Toni Braxton

The financial woes of Toni Braxton are crazy enough to be their own character on her reality show. In the late 90s,  Braxton filed for bankruptcy because of what she claims to have been her chronic health problems, bad business dealings, and medical expenses. She landed back in the black with the release of her album, The Heat. However, the good times didn’t last and she filed for bankruptcy for a second time in 2010. Braxton Family Values is a hit and the money generated from the show can help keep her afloat. Maybe a better accountant would help too.

Suge Knight

The reputation precedes the man when referring to Suge Knight. How a man goes from running one of  the hottest labels in the history of hip-hop to being in prison owing a person $107 million dollars is beyond me. I take that back. In Suge’s case, that is quite possible. Lydia Harris won $107 million from Knight on the grounds he cheated her husband out of a 50% stake in Death Row Records. At the time of his filing, court documents revealed Knight’s bank account held only $12. I wonder which he is more embarrassed of: having $12 to his name after such an extravagant few years or getting knocked out by some random dude in a club and having the picture of him laid out being posted on the internet?


The ladies of TLC experienced the seedier side of the music business before they filed for bankruptcy. First they signed a management deal with former singer, Pebbles, which gave her a monetary cut of every business deal the group made. Then, when the trio fired her, she sued them for $40 million. They settled out of court with the stipulation, Pebbles got a piece of their future earnings. After that was taken care of, the group released their landmark album, CrazySexyCool. While it sold upwards of 10 million records, the girls were left with $50,000 a piece. Left Eye famously explained how they wound up broke in their episode of Behind The Music. TLC bounced back in 1999 with another chart topping disc, but stopped recording music when the Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was killed in a car accident in Honduras in 2002.

Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes is the man behind some of the greatest soul records ever created. Being that songwriters get a bigger cut in the royalties than the performers, Isaac Hayes should’ve been well off, right? Wrong. Hayes filed for bankruptcy in 1974. Black Moses’ credit was already in the red with Union Planters Bank. He looked to his label, Stax Records, for help but they were in the same boat. Hayes negotiated a deal between himself, Stax Records, and Union Planters Bank. The terms were Stax would let the singer out of his contract to record elsewhere and the money made from the album would go to paying his debt incurred with the bank. By the end of the proceedings, Hayes was left without a home, no personal property, none of his future royalties from anything he wrote or performed. Good thing his speaking voice was so distinctive. Hayes’ bank account was increased when he voiced the character of Chef on South Park years later.

MC Hammer

When people hear about MC Hammer’s meteoric rise and drastic fall, all they can do is shake their heads. He is the poster child for what happens when you overextend yourself while trying to live as lavishly as possible. Hammer went $13 million into debt because he employed half of Oakland as part of his entourage. His monthly expenses were over $500,000 and that’s before taking care of his family. Hammer got his life right with God and is now working with start up internet companies trying to further the positive uses of the internet. Oh yeah, did we mention his appearances in those Cash 4 Gold commercials? He’s doing those too.

Ron Isley

The lead singer of The Isley Brothers was placed on the list of California’s most delinquent taxpayers in the early 2000s. He filed for bankruptcy after some of  his property, including a yacht, was repossessed. Once Uncle Sam got his hands on Ron Isley’s yacht, he figured that wasn’t good enough. Isley was thrown in prison for 37 months for tax evasion. He has since been released from prison, dropped an album, and is working on another with R. Kelly.


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