We all know Tamela Mann as the loving, Christian, bible toting gun packing daughter of Madea. When working with Tyler Perry, Tamela embraces her role as Cora as she deals with her mothers crazy antics and tries to build a relationship with her father Mr. Brown, played by her husband David Mann. She has the ability to have you dying in laughter and 5 minutes later have you swaying in the spirit as she belts out powerful songs of praise on stage but Tamela Mann is more than Cora and bigger than Madea and has stepped out on true faith landing a small yet important role in the soon to be released movie Sparkle where she plays the role of the late Whitney Houston’s best friend.
This week, the gospel singer and actress has a lot to prepare for as her latest album Best Days is set to release in stores on Tuesday, followed by the release of her first non-Tyler Perry big screen project, Sparkle, releases on August 17th.
(Tamela Mann Best Days Album Cover)
Essence caught up with the diva who recently lost a tremendous amount of weight to find out what’s been going on with the actress.
On getting the part:
I actually got a phone call for the part. I was shocked, but happy at the same time. I made myself look a little older on my audition tape, like I was from the 1950s, and David sent it in. I was so happy when I got it.
On working with Whitney:
It was a wonderful experience. I had such a good time. We talked about the Lord; we talked about family and about singing. She actually got to hear the first two songs that I recorded, “All To Thee” and “I’ll Hold On.” She was like, ‘I can’t wait to hear the rest of it. You’re gonna get ’em with this, baby.’ I was very hurt when I got the call about her passing. Every scene I had in the movie was with her. I don’t have a very big part, but it was a great part. We’d sit and have lunch while we were filming, but I wasn’t trying to be pushy like that. I took pictures with her the last night.
On her new album ‘Best Days’:
It’s the music of pop, but how I deliver it is still me. You don’t have to worry about me going too far out of the box. It’s just a different sound.