Kierra Sheard: Finding her voice and the “Honor” of Playing her Mom
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Gospel recording artist Kierra Sheard is no stranger to the limelight. Coming from a long line of gospel royalty, Kierra has managed to uphold the legacy and create some shine of her own.
The Clark Sisters are often credited with bringing Gospel music to the mainstream and called the first ladies of Gospel. Lifetime has created a highly anticipated biopic about gospel music icons called, The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel. The film was produced by Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott and Mary J. Blige and debuted in April 2020 to rave reviews.
Keirra portrays her mother, Karen Clark, in the film and calls it “a complete honor.” Although she says she is “in so many ways so much like her,” mother, she really worked hard to “master” the role. Of course, she felt pressure to perform well, in part to please the fans, but also because it was “personal” to her. Sheard explained that this role was a huge deal to her because, “not everyone gets the opportunity to honor their mother in this way,” and she really wanted to make her smile.
“It was a great experience,” Sheard tells Essence. “And I would say that was actually one of the most empowering moments for me, because sometimes, you know how we do things for years and years, but there are still moments in our careers where we doubt ourselves and we’re like, ‘I’m not sure I’m cut out for this.’”
We dug a little deeper to how the own star is making her own star shine bright.
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BDO: How has your faith been strengthened in revealing your flaws?
KS: Well, first I had to realize I had flaws. When I acknowledged my flaws, my issues and my struggles, it opened up the door for me to see how the Lord loves me in spite of all the extra drama that comes with me. I felt drawn and connected to the Lord even more. I felt inspired to change and work on my stuff because of that love. I wanted to know more about the God that loved me and shown me so much grace.
BDO: You come from a legacy of gospel greats – in your family alone are the legendary Clark Sisters. How has your embarking on your journey and revealing your flaws inspired your family?
KS: It’s funny you would ask that question. Just the other day my mom shared with me how even though I am her baby, I inspire her and recently my dad shared the same sentiment as my mom. They shared the beauty of how I am so young and they can see themselves in me, but they see my growth and that is inspiring to them. When I hear them say that, it inspires them even more. I already felt like my family was blessed with a timeless gift to make relevant music that is multi-generational. People still refer to the music the Clark Sister made/make and they love it. I am inspired by their ability to remain current, because one thing you never want to be is a dated trailblazer. Take for instance Patti Labelle, Charlie Wilson and Lionel Richie, they remain relevant and current in fashion, music offerings and keeping their pulse on what’s trending.
BDO: I have been eyeing your Instagram page and I see all of the wonderful pictures you post of your workout plan. What is your workout routine that has you looking so fit and fabulous?
KS: I do Zumba and Hiphop Abs. I am in love with Zumba and enjoy being able to let my hair down and dance while working out. I enjoy doing Zumba to “Booty” by J. Lo and any of the Will.i.am songs. I try to get in a workout at least three to four times a week. Even when I am not able to get to the gym to workout, like if I am taping the “Sunday’s Best” episodes, I utilize an app for Zumba on my phone. I can definitely see the changes in my singing and breathing, so I want to keep going even when I am not in the gym.
BDO: What advice do you have for women or young girls on dealing with their body image flaws?
KS: I have done some nipping and tucking on myself and have felt like there is still more work that I would like to have done. I have even entertained the thought that maybe I would like to get the weight loss surgery and have my stomach cut down, but one thing I have learned is though no matter what you do it still requires discipline. Self-discipline is one of the fruits of the Spirit and that has to be mastered. We can have a quick fix and have the look that we want but we still have to love ourselves enough to have self-discipline. This can apply to a lot of things. It could be a spending habit or an addiction. Since the purchase of my new home, I have had to acquire discipline with my spending. So, self-discipline is a way of loving yourself and loving the areas that you see as flawed, but understanding those are the ones that God gave you. Those flaws are the parts of you God sees as beautiful. It is important to find appreciation for them because when we don’t, we will find unhealthy fillers to fulfill those voids that cause more damage than good. I would encourage women to surround themselves with women who love themselves. Having healthy connections, be it mentally, spiritually in our relationships is key.
During this season in my life I have become much closer to my mom and she is my healthy connection. Being able to share and talk to her has made a major impact in my life.
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BDO: What are some current or future projects you are working on?
KS: Well, I have been asked to come back and be on “Sunday’s Best” and that is a blessing that they’ve counted me in again. People are always eager to hear what I have to say and contribute on the show.
I have a clothing line, Eleven60, for the plus-size woman. Recently, I learned that the average size of an American woman is between a size 12 and 14 and that’s considered a plus-size woman, however, there is a fashion void for designers who cater to them. My goal weight is still considered full-figured, so, for myself and other women within the plus-size community I want to offer high fashion trends, with style, class and grace. Cute stuff that a plus-size woman would wear and not have to deal with it cutting into her thighs or not fitting right. Plus-size fashion that still make her feel sexy with class.
I also have a pantyhose line, “Sheers by Sheard,” that is currently in Walgreens now. So as you can see I have a lot going on and great things in the works.