Rozonda Thomas

Chilli tlc

Rozonda Thomas in 2012, photo by PR Photos

Birth Name: Rozonda Ocielian Thomas

Place of Birth: Columbus, Georgia, U.S.

Date of Birth: February 27, 1971

Ethnicity: African-American, as well as 1/16th Bengali Indian, 1/16th African-Antiguan, possibly Native American

Rozonda Thomas, also known as Chilli, is an American dancer, singer, songwriter, actress, and television personality. She has been a member of R&B/hip hop girl-group TLC, with Lisa Lopes and Tionne Watkins, replacing original member, and co-founder, Crystal Jones. The group was managed by Perri “Pebbles” Reid.

She is the daughter of Ava Thomas and Abdul Ali. Her great-grandfather’s brother was singer Bardu Ali. Rozonda has a son with her former partner, producer Dallas Austin.

She is African-American, and also has a Bengali Indian great-great-grandfather and an African-Antiguan great-great-grandmother.

Rozonda has been described as having Native American ancestry. It is not clear if this Native American ancestry has been verified/documented.

Rozonda’s paternal grandfather was Arfien Joseph Ali (the son of Arfien/Arfin Ali and Lucille/Lucile Lyons). Rozonda’s grandfather Arfien was born in Louisiana. Rozonda’s great-grandfather Arfien was born in Mississippi, and was the son of Moksad Ali, a Bengali Muslim trader, who was born in Hooghly, West Bengal, India, and of Ella Blackman, an African-American. Rozonda’s great-grandmother Lucille was the daughter of William Lyons and Lottie Green.

Rozonda’s paternal grandmother was Margaret Augusta Lane (the daughter of Clifford Lane and Augusta M. J. Bennett). Margaret was born in New York. Augusta’s father, Edmund Robert Bennett, was born on Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda, and was a bishop of the African Orthodox Church. Augusta’s mother, Marguerite Fields, was born in Iowa.

Lisa Lopes and TLC

Rozonda Thomas (left) with Tionne Watkins and Lisa Lopes in 1995, photo by Prphotos

Sources: Rozonda Thomas meeting her father’s family –

Rozonda’s paternal grandfather, Arfien Joseph Ali, on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Rozonda’s paternal great-grandparents, Arfien/Arfin Ali and Lucille/Lucile Lyons –

Rozonda’s paternal great-grandfather, Arfien/Arfin Ali, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Information on Rozonda’s paternal great-great-grandparents, Moksad Ali and Ella Blackman –

Rozonda’s paternal great-grandmother, Lucille/Lucile Lyons, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Rozonda’s paternal great-great-grandparents, William Lyons and Lottie Green –

Rozonda’s paternal grandmother, Margaret Augusta Lane, on the 1930 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

160 Responses

  1. History Guy says:

    A documentary on Rozonda Thomas Indian ancestor. Ella Blackman was clearly Creole, and she married a Indian Immigrant, Moksad Ali. Chili has a lot of mixed racial ancestry. Her dad is Creole African American, and 1/8th South Asian.

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