OK, first off, let's get this out of the way: Tamela Mann is a gem. She's the pivot queen, forever accomplished, always elevating her platform, and constantly have us wondering if there is anything that she can't do. And although it doesn't seem like it, her career has already spanned the course of two decades. Two decades! *Randy Watson stomps*
As an actress, Tamela is best known for her role as Cora Simmons on the TV series Meet the Browns. But as a singer, chiiiiiiileeee, she belongs on gospel's Mt. Rushmore somewhere. To-date, Tamela has released five gospel albums, one of which reached number one on the gospel charts. But outside of the accolades, her positive spirit in such a mean industry, has earned her the respect and admiration that she deserves--all the way from people in the entertainment industry, to the fans that love her.
Melodies From Heaven
Listen, Tamela's start was far from the magical realm that it is now. Sis, was literally, at one point, singing Drake's "Started From the Bottom" at the top of her lungs (the gospel version, of course). But since, her journey has been a major flex, and I have the receipts--starting here: Kirk Franklin and Tyler Perry. Rightfully, two of the most respected powerhouses in black entertainment. And Tamela owns the adoration from each.
Mann actually got her start in the music industry by singing with Franklin's group, Kirk Franklin and the Family. She's known him since he was 15, when her husband and Kirk sang in high school together. Kirk has even written and produced a few of her songs.
Here's some footage from the early days:
I see you, Kirk, with the slick down!
From here, Tamela pivoted her brand to most recognizably Tyler Perry Productions i.e. Madea plays and various television shows. After being discovered in '99, well into her thirties, Perry enlisted her to become a part of one of his most trusted sources for opportunities. Soon after, her massively beloved career blossomed.
Take Me To The King
In 2013, Tamela's career saw new heights when she crossed back over into music. But this time as the leading lady. She racked up six of nine Stellar Gospel Awards, including CD, song, and traditional female vocalist of the year. She began touring the world with her husband, David, to sold out shows.
And although we may know her more for acting than singing, Tamela says for both her and her husband, it's quite opposite.
"Acting is his thing and music is more so mine. Singing, I'm very confident about. It's my one sure thing. I'm just really excited about the outcome and the people receiving it. Of course, you're nervous when you're presenting something new, but I've gotten great response."
Becoming famous without even trying? Dassa receipt, honey.
She has lost over 140 pounds!
Throughout the process, Tamela has managed to drop a large amount of weight. As an issue that has stemmed from her childhood, well into adulthood, the decision for her to lose weight formed from David's diabetes diagnosis. Since, the two have taken on a new outlook on life. In 2019, they decided to get serious about their weight and partnered with Weight Watchers to help reach their goals. Of her journey, she has said:
"One of the main struggles was my weight! I've always been good enough to be heard but not seen. I've lost over 140 pounds. I used to be a 30/32 and now I'm at an 18/20."
And now, a YouTube channel, clothing line, and 12 grandkids later, sis has no plans to slow down.
And her favorite part is she gets to do a lot of it with her husband and at home, which is exactly where her heart is.
"I just count it as a blessing. I don't take it for granted. I'm just really grateful. It's been my dream. I'm in awe."
See? I told ya. Receipts.
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Featured image by Tamela Mann/Instagram