Tamela Mann: “I Was Good Enough To Be Heard, But Not Seen”

(Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Not only has actress and gospel singer Tamela Mann been having a great year, but a great decade.

At the 2017 Stellar Gospel Awards, she had a total of nine nominations, including CD, song, and traditional female vocalist of the year. The gospel great brought home six awards, including Artist of the Year.

The artist began her career performing with Kirk Franklin before veering into acting. She has starred in numerous Tyler Perry projects, as well as TBS’ Meet the Browns with husband David Mann. Her fourth solo album, One Way, earned the Texas native a Grammy in February, for Best Gospel Performance/Song for “God Provides.”

With an award-winning song in 2013, “Take Me To The King” off an award-winning album, tours and a successful family reality show on TVOne, a new scripted show on Bounce TV and more in the works, her star continues to rise.

But it wasn’t always like that.

When asked what some of the hurdles were to get into the industry, Tamela candidly said, “One of the main struggles was my weight! I’ve always been good enough to be heard but not seen,” she revealed.

The vocalist who got her start singing in Kirk Franklin’s choir previously spoke more about her weight loss.

“I’ve lost over 140 pounds. I used to be a 30/32 and now I’m at an 18/20,” she said proudly

Her husband, co-star and collaborator, actor David Mann was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007, and now the couple is working with the American Diabetes Association to help others live a healthier lifestyle.

“For me, I just have to get my mind right, set mind and body. I don’t have issues with diabetes or hypertension, but I don’t want it to happen,” Tamela said in a previous Diabetes Forecast report in April 2014. “But I’m getting older. Sometimes it’s hard.”

“The first thing people say is, ‘Y’all look good! Y’all don’t look like you do on TV,’” says Tamela.

“People see us every day [on TV]. They saw that we were big, and they saw the drastic weight loss in both of us,” David chimes in.  “Everybody would ask, ‘Why are you doing it? What are you doing it for?’”

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“For many African American families, a lot of the time when we sit down to dinner, we can have two or three starches in one meal,” Tamela adds. “You can still have some, but you don’t have to have as many.” Instead of bread and potatoes, for example, David chooses one or the other. Sticking to an eating plan can be tough, so David has asked Tamela to be his “sugar manager since he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2013.”

If David strays too far from his plan (she notes he has a weakness for sugary breakfast cereals), she gently reminds him.