Ask Tina Campbell if she’s sad about her popular reality show Mary Mary ending after six seasons, and the Grammy Award-winning gospel powerhouse will flat out tell you, “No.”
“Actually, I’m not. I’m ready to move on,” the colorfully coiffed and outspoken member of platinum-selling duo Mary Mary recently told The Root. “You know, doing a reality show, it’s a lot of work. Having people in your face and in your personal space at all times, I have to honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been a fan of that.
“I look back at the show, especially the first three seasons, and I really take pride in the fact that I see my real life captured,” she explained. “The two seasons after that got a little tricky with editing and storytelling. It’s a little different by the time it actually comes out. So I wasn’t too proud of that. And I didn’t even know if I was going to make it to a sixth season.”
In previous seasons of the WE tv docuseries, Campbell’s marriage to R&B producer Teddy Campbell and his issues with infidelity were on full display. So much so that the still-married mother of five openly admitted to trying to stab him in a 2013 cover story for Ebony magazine, and even addressed the rocky union during Steve Harvey’s television talk show.
“Well, the thing is, I don’t know how to show restraint,” she explained about her brutal honesty. “I don’t like living a lie; I don’t like trying to hide from my truth or build upon lies, or try to save my image. I’m a public figure; if there’s something crazy going on in my life, it’s likely people are going to find out about it.
“When you try to hide it, you’re hostage to what you’re trying to hide and you’re always scared that somebody’s going to find out,” she continued. “So I was like, well, let’s just let everybody find out. That thing that is terrible that you all think you could find out? Imma tell you before you find out. Imma take responsibility for it. Imma own it and then Imma get over it with God’s help.”
The couple have seemingly patched things up and are forging ahead as a unit— co-hosting the popular biweekly web series 10 Minutes With Teddy and Tina, in which they discuss life, love, family and faith.
But what about if Teddy cheats on Tina again—after 17 years of marriage?
“I don’t have any thoughts, any concerns, whatsoever, whether or not my husband might do this again,” Campbell, 43, revealed. “Because first of all, I believe just like God fully changed me, he fully changed him. And if God had not changed me, I would never even be able to see that God changed him. I would never be able to forgive or see any differently than the mistake he made.
“I wouldn’t want people to see me as the worst mistake that I ever made,” she added. “I wouldn’t want that to be your only perspective that you’re ever going to have of me. You can never see me change and becoming better or anything. You saw me on my bad day and that’s the sum of my existence forever. So I choose not to look at people that way. I’m not mad at my husband. I’m not mad at any of those women.”
Forgiveness is the overarching theme of Campbell’s new song “Too Hard Not To.” It’s also how she decided to take on life after the ups and downs.
“It’s not easy,” she confessed. “Sometimes you’re just like, ‘I’ll smack your head open.’ That’s how you feel sometimes. But then I have to say, you know, if I’m gonna let you become a problem for … if I don’t ever get over you, there will always be another you, and that’s going to be a problem for me. And ultimately, you control me, because I put the authority in your hand.
“If you don’t forgive, I don’t forgive,” she added. “That means you’re the boss. You ain’t nice, I ain’t nice. That means you’re the boss. If you racist, I’m racist. That means you’re the boss. If you’re ignorant, I’m ignorant. That means you’re the master and I’m the puppet. I don’t want to be nobody’s puppet. I don’t want nobody controlling me but God. I take responsibility for me, regardless of what anybody does or says.”
As for what anybody says, the “Shackles” singer became embroiled in scuttlebutt earlier this year after she wrote an open letter encouraging masses to “pray for” then-President-elect Donald Trump—which many thought was a sign that she was in support of the controversial figure.
Although the sixth and final season of the reality show, which premiered Sept. 28, wrapped filming in the spring, Campbell assured us that he won’t be a topic of discussion.
“You ain’t never going to see that in there. Donald Trump is not that much a part of my life,” she shared. “I had a perspective. I had a feeling. And I put it out there. I know there’s some people who don’t agree. I do not agree with a lot of the decisions that this man makes. And I made that very clear in my statement.
“I was faced with two presidential candidates that I really did not approve of,” Campbell elaborated. “And so I had to find something, a commonality with one of them, that would make me feel like if I have to vote, I should utilize my right to vote. Since I don’t prefer either of them, what can I find that would make me vote? And some of Donald Trump’s views on Christianity, honestly, is what caused me to vote for him.
“Many of the decisions that he has made afterwards, I have not been in agreement with at all, which I wasn’t in agreement with my last president that I voted for,” she added. “But however, as a Christian, my perspective is to pray for the president, to not use my social platforms or other platforms to try to destroy this man, because at the end of the day, he still represents the country that I live in.
“So if I’m going to use my platform, my power, my voice, I ought to use it to pray for him. To pray that he would make wise decisions, that he would be true to the oath that he took, and to not incite fear by talking about everything that’s wrong, especially with people that’s my color,” she explained further.
Not walking back her statements, Campbell instead is steadfast in her belief that what Trump does or says is not the be-all, end-all for the world. And she challenges others to embrace that concept.
“So all the fear that I was hearing in churches everywhere and amongst African-American people, I was like, ‘Man, we’re making a god out of this fellow. We think that our life is going to go to hell in a handbasket if he don’t get it right. And is he our god or is God our god? Are we going to pray for him or are we going to continue to bash him, which don’t help nothing?’
“I don’t make those statements to become politically charged,” she continued. “I have an opinion and I expressed it because I was so disheartened from what I was hearing in churches in our community. So that is literally where that came from. Not a ‘Let me tell everybody how for Donald Trump I am and try to get everybody to be on the Trump train.’ That was not it.
“And I didn’t feel like trying to explain that or argue that. So I didn’t. So I never talked about it again. I ain’t never explaining that any further,” she maintained. “They can understand it or not understand it. I don’t have an agenda to make people agree with me, believe me, understand me. I have a platform and I use my voice. I understand sometimes people will agree. They will disagree. They will lift me up or they will tear me down. They will bash me or they will build me. That comes with the territory. So I don’t try to chase that stuff. I don’t care to.”
Brooklyn, N.Y., native Karu F. Danielshas contributed to an array of outlets and corporate entities, including the New York Times, ABC News, CNN and the Daily Beast and is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Oswego.