Be honest—the first thing you think when you see Tamela Mann is “Coooorrrrraaaaa!!!” This is actually a thing. A good thing. But Tamela Mann is far more than the character she plays in the Tyler Perry film, (also the stage play and TV show of the same name): “Meet the Browns”. The 53 year-old wife (her husband is actor/comedian David Mann, with whom she stars in most of her working productions), mother, gospel singer, actress, clothing-line curator and WW International (formerly Weight Watchers) spokesperson is a true renaissance woman.
Born in 1966 in Limestone County, Texas. Tamela is the youngest of 14 children. She was raised Church of God In Christ (COGIC), and as such, was not allowed to listen to secular music. “We couldn’t listen to like R&B or blues. My mom would say, ‘You can’t listen to those blues in my house…we listened to a lot of gospel music—The Clark Sisters, Andrae’ Crouch, Walter Hawkins, The Williams Brothers and Inez Andrews.”(1) As young as 8 years-old, the future star of stage and screen knew what she wanted to do when she grew up.
At the age of 12, she was leading songs in her church choir. She met her husband, David shortly after she graduated from high school. The two were married in 1988 and have a blended family that includes five children (two from a prior relationship, two biological and one adopted niece), and ten grandchildren.
Tamela was recruited by gospel legend Kirk Franklin to perform with his group, “The Family” and sang on 5 Kirk Franklin albums before being cast in David E. Talbert’s play, “He Say…She Say…But What Does God Say?” Mann’s career skyrocketed when she was cast in Tyler Perry’s musical stage play, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself”.
In 2005, the Manns started a label: Tillyman Music Group, through which they have released several projects. That same year, Tamela’s first solo album, “Gotta Keep Movin’ was released, and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Gospel Chart. Her third studio album, Best Days, was released on August 14, 2012, and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart, and #14 on the Billboard 200.(2) During the launch of Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 Vision Tour in February, 2020, Winfrey revealed that Mann’s 2012 album, “Best Days” has been declared Billboard’s “Best Gospel Album of the Decade”, with Mann being named “Best Gospel Artist of the Decade.”(3)*
In January, 2015, the Manns reality television show, “ It’s a Mann’s World” premiered. The show chronicled the lives of the Mann family, sharing their faith, intimate family moments and revealing how the couple balance their demanding work and schedules with every-day life. 2019 saw the release of the couple’s “Us Against the World Project”, which is a book chronicling their 30-plus year marital journey, along with a CD of original music made to inspire couples to keep trying.
Regarding the longevity of her marriage, Mann says: “We all have a beginning—we have a ‘then’… we had struggles in our 30 years, but the thing is, it can get better. You have to work together…One of the secrets we have is we try to outdo each other doing for each other…we’ve learned to celebrate each other and not just tolerate each other in our marriage.”
In 2019, Tamela became an ambassador for WW International, undergoing double knee surgery a couple of months later. She recovered, and has lost more than 50 pounds to date. The journey to weight loss was one she opted to conquer on her own, although her husband has been with her every step of the way.
“He’s loved me at my heaviest, which was [around] 365,” Tamela says “I just really thank God for the encouragement that he’s given me… I told him and our family they don’t really need to join, because…this is a goal that I want to reach…”
I really just want to stand on my own and say, I did this thing.
Mann is also the designer of an athleisure line, The Tamela Mann Collection. According to the website: tamelamann.com, “The athleisure line is for women sizes 12-32 that love the comfortability of athletic wear. It’s for the everyday woman, mother, sister or aunt…Each piece that is produced [has] the woman in mind, the fabric is breathable and firm in all the right places.”
With all of the fame, the travel, the success and the work, Tamela Mann remains committed to her marriage, her family, and her faith. She and her husband still reside in Fort Worth, TX, and love opening their home to family and friends. But even with all that, her first love is ministering though her gift of song.
…I find my joy, when I can sing and minister to people,” Mann states. “Because I see the hope and encouragement that it gives people. It’s something that I will do …until the Lord calls me home because this is one sure way that I know I can tell people about Him so He can be glorified. I’ll never stop because I love it so much.
Twitter: @davidandtamela FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/davidtamelamann IG: @davidandtamela
1https://www.newreleasetoday.com/artistdetail.php?artist_id=3931 2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamela_Mann#Kirk_Franklin_and_the_Family 3https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/chart-beat/8543756/decade-in-charts-2010s-gospel *According to Billboard.com, the top 1-5 Gospel artists will be announced at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, which have been (as of 5/6/2020) indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19
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