Interviewed and Written by Tocarra Eldridge
The dynamic dual that consists of husband and wife, David and Tamela Mann, recently released their first joint album together, “Us Against the World: The Love Project”. The album is very uplifting, spiritual and encouraging, and was inspired by their memoir, Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage, and Family (W Publishing/Harper Collins Christian). The Mann’s have inspired millions of audiences through their exceptional music, plays, movies, and television. Some of their films include “Meet the Browns”, “Mann & Wife”, and the family docu-series, “The Manns”, just to name a few. Together, the amazing couple head up their independent entertainment company Tillymann Music Group.
I had the opportunity to speak with the ingeniously funny and extraordinary comedian and actor, David Mann, who is a Two-time NAACP Image Award-Winning Actor and Comedian along with his wife, Tamela Mann (singer, actress, songwriter, producer, and businesswoman), who is a Grammy Award-Winning and NAACP Image-Award Winning Actress.
During our interview we chatted about the new album and memoir. They share valuable tips concerning building a strong and lasting relationship and marriage by encouraging others through the challenges that they overcame during their marriage. They also give insight on how they remain successful and keep their careers and family together. Celebrating a relationship that has lasted over 30 years, here is what the lovely and powerful couple had to share with the readers.
TOCARRA: Thank you for taking the time out to interview with Consciousness Magazine. It is definitely an honor. Regarding your book, Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage, and Family, was this a project that you guys anticipated doing over the years or do you feel that it derived because it was destined?
DAVID: Well, it’s a little bit of both. We’ve been working on it for years, and finally Tamela said ‘look we can’t do anything else until we finish this book’ (laughs).
TOCARRA: You guys met as teenagers. Many people often have a hard time when it comes to determining what’s real love. When did you all realize you were in love?
DAVID: I don’t quite know when we realized it, for us I think it just grew from our friendship. It was one of those situations.
TAMELA: Well I was in love with him first, but he didn’t know and I couldn’t tell him.
DAVID: Why you couldn’t tell me?
TAMELA: Because I’m like old school – the guy has to tell you first. (laughs)
DAVID: I know she told me ‘I love you’ first. (laughs)
TAMELA: No I didn’t.
DAVID: Yes you did.
TAMELA: See that’s those 30 years you hearing. (laughs) But yeah, we were friends first and then it just happened.
DAVID: I don’t know the exact time it was, but it grew to the point that it was more to the love than just friendship.
TAMELA: Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.
TOCARRA: Being that cheating, adultery, unfaithfulness, etc. is being highlighted, promoted, glorified and displayed in our faces on a daily basis in almost every form of media today, what is the secret ingredient to not only becoming committed in a relationship, but remaining committed for the long haul?
TAMELA: I think we make our commitment to each other. So, it’s more so us making our commitment and wanting to be faithful to each other.
DAVID: Well, what continues to keep us together, one thing is you have to work at it, it takes a lot of work to keep that commitment with each other. When you have two people that are committed to putting in the work to make it work through the years – I think you give yourself a greater rate of success. You increase your odds for success when you’re willing to say ‘I’m committed to you and I’m going to do everything I can to make this work’.
TOCARRA: Just as any married couple, you’ve sustained and overcome many challenges. Many tend to follow the “C’s”…communication, compromising, commitment, etc. What “C” or what staple do you feel is the most important in regards to keeping marriages together?
DAVID: I think, number one, you have to have a commitment, because if there is not commitment all of the rest falls apart. Compromising has to go along with the commitment, because it can’t be my way or the highway. All of them work hand in hand.
TOCARRA: As a brand, do you feel pressure from the entertainment industry to act or portray a certain image to be marketable?
TAMELA: I wouldn’t say pressured. David has always been the mastermind and the brainiac for the Manns. I feel like you always have to recreate yourself.
DAVID: When we did the reality show, we decided we’re not going to be the normal reality show. We didn’t succumb to the pressures of ‘we want more drama’, or ‘we want you to talk like this or that’. We decided we were going to do it how we wanted to do it, and not succumb to the pressures of the industry. We did not conform just to receive more rates. Quite honestly, we said we don’t do drama. If ya’ll want drama go somewhere else. Even creating this new album, we didn’t set out to do an R&B album, it was just love music that happened to be on an R&B format.
TOCARRA: Many have gotten away from what I feel is one of the most important staples, and that is family. Everyone seems to be too busy with work or careers and just don’t make the effort to spend time with family. You all promote the importance of love and family. With the busy lifestyles that you two have, what do you guys do to keep your family together and how do you balance family, ministry and acting?
TAMELA: For us, family comes first! Especially if we’ve been on the road, I feel like I have to cook at least one meal and have everybody here, because I feel like I’ve been gone from the grandbabies and I want all of us to be together as a unit. I also feel that I have to do something with the grandbabies to give them that one-on-one time because we’re gone so much. It’s just a must that we spend time with family. They’re just as important as work.
DAVID: Another thing I always tell people I don’t balance work and career with family, because if you balance something you give it the same time, same effort, same weight – you never want to do that with family, relationships or marriages. You want to give your family or marriage more time, so it (family) tips the scale. You never want to give it the equal amount of time. So that’s how we do not balance (laughs), we give more weight to this family.
TOCARRA: We all know that laughter is good for the soul. Is that the reason you choose the roles that you play?
DAVID: Yes, I definitely want to play a role that I can be proud of at the end of the day and don’t have to be ashamed of, and also roles that my family and grandkids can watch and be proud of as well.
TOCARRA: To piggy back off of that, David you are one of the most hilarious actors, for those who may not have been aware of your reality show, do you feel that you are as comical in real life as you are on television?
DAVID: Probably more comical in real life! (laughs) I just enjoy seeing people have a good time.
TOCARRA: What is some advice that you would give to couples where one individual is not very considerate or supportive of their mate/spouses endeavors?
DAVID: You know, it really can’t work if you’re not supportive. With us, for example, whenever it’s her time to shine, I move out of that light. I want to make sure that she gets that spotlight. Vice versa, when it’s about me, she lets that happen. That’s the only way a relationship is going to work, if not, then it becomes a selfish act on one person’s part and then you’ll start to see some resentment.
TOCARRA: Would you like to add anything in closing?
DAVID: Just follow us @DavidandTamela [Instagram and Twitter]. Our goal is to make sure we encourage and help as many couples and families as we can on this journey. The book is our 30 year journey to not be perfect, but to show people that you can make it too. We’re not the only ones out here that can make it.
TOCARRA: Thank you so much! It’s been a pleasure.
TAMELA: Thank you!
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Last modified: June 27, 2023