David and Tamela Mann
Interview (2015)

Faith, funny and fantastic! These are just a few adjectives to describe the new reality TV show by one gospel music's most talented couples: David and Tamela Mann.

Yes, David, Tamela, and the entire Mann clan bring a refreshing and comical view of their life off the screen and stage. On It's A Mann's World!, showing on BET, they permit cameras to document their wholesomeness and hilarity for all to see. GOSPELflava.com had the opportunity to catch up with the power couple to discuss their new show, life and what's next.

'Hand and glove', 'sock and shoe', 'ham hocks and collard greens': certain things just belong together. If you ever see or hear David and Tamela Mann interact, a perfect combination also comes to mind. They laugh together, complete on another's sentences, and praise together. They epitomize familiar high school superlatives such as "Most Talented", "Cutest Couple" and "Class Clown", even after 26 years of marriage. This in today's day and 26 years is no small feat. Still, it's in one thing to live in wedded bliss in private but it's a horse of a different color when cameras are rolling. Your image can sometimes not be your own when producers are in control. With gospel artists such as Mary Mary, The Tankards (Thicker than Water), and The Sheards all delving into reality television, The Manns were approached several times to do so as well. Who wouldn't want to see the breakout stars "Deacon Leroy Brown and Cora Brown" from Tyler Perry's #1 comedy show "Meet the Browns" on a reality show?

CD However David explains, "The timing just wasn't right." In a sensational, and dare I say sometimes "ratchet" reality TV world, The Manns wanted to control what would be showcased for the world to see. Therefore, they put it off and prayed about it. Some time later when the opportunity resurfaced; they were ready, and leapt at the chance. The determining factor in this project was control.

"In It's A Manns World, we have creative control and that was important to us", David declared. Working with familiar friends like Roger Bobb, a former Tyler Perry Studios executive, they knew they would be portrayed in the proper light.

"You won't see any fighting or cussing but a good and fun family image," David explained. "People will see how we handle different situations that come up in our family. And they'll notice how we have a different way of handling things. That's why we did the show, to inspire others," he added.

On the 8-episode show, you'll be introduced to the entire Mann family —their equally amusing co-stars. What many may be surprised to discover is that The Manns are a blended family. When they wed 26 years ago, David had two children (Porcia and Tiffany) from a previous relationship. A year into their marriage, Tamela gained custody of her niece Sonya. And as the years progressed, they had two children together, David Jr. and Joy. Now they have eight grandchildren! Therefore they are truly a Brady Bunch, of sorts, but bring a realness and fun of similar to Black-ish.

Each week reveals more about how this family encapsulates both madness and merriment at their Dallas-Fort Worth home and also on the road. Although many would be quick to think the show would reveal The Mann's real lives to mirror their larger-than-life personas, The Browns, David jokingly responds, "Now we're off the wall! But I definitely don't dress like Brown."

However he added, "We aren't like The Browns but more David and Tamela, the part that people don't get a chance to see." "We are a real life family," says Tamela . "We have the same issues, problems like other people do and on the show you'll be able to see that", she continued. Real life is what you can expect to see: pranks, police and the grandkids calling David "Paw Paw."

CD It's hard to believe this husband and wife team has been in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. The two first earned notoriety as vocalists in Kirk Franklin's The Family and now as fixtures in various Tyler Perry productions. Like anyone, they too have experienced a plethora of ups and downs. Yet when asked to they envisioned a picture of their younger selves, before the first Kirk Franklin & The Family project was released, and to thinkg about what would they say their younger selves, the answers became spirit-filled.

David chimed in first, simply saying, "I'd tell me that the reward is greater than the sacrifice." And Tamela admitted she needed a moment to compose herself before answering. "Whew, thank you God! You got me with that one. Thank you Lord!" Then in true "Mr. Brown" fashion, David tags in: "Go head baby, gone in!"

After gaining her composure, the "Take Me to the King" singer sincerely stated, "I never would've imagined." Sniffling, she continued saying, "I'm really grateful. Every step was not easy. But we were willing to make the sacrifice. We had to be still, stand strong, and be faithful". Expanding on his wife's sentiments, David said that "coming from where we come from, this is only God. We couldn't have imagined anything like this. God has been really good to us!"

Having successfully ventured into music, television, stage and movies, both of them deserve to sing the words that Tamela has made Grammy-nominated, Stellar Award and Dove Award-winning: "Truth is... 'm tired."

However, they are not done yet. "We are working on a marriage book, movie ventures, music and more other stuff too," David explained.

Whatever venture they choose to delve into, you can expect this dynamic duo will be awesome at it and in it. They are a family that keeps first things first: faith, family, and of course fun!

You can check out It's A Mann's World Wednesdays evenings on BET.

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interview by John Burton Jr.

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