The rise of Tamela Mann has been one of gospel music’s major success stories of the last few years. In 2007’s Tamela’s debut solo album ‘Gotta Keep Movin” made number three on the US gospel charts, in 2009 her ‘The Master Plan’ went to number two on those charts and in 2012 Tamela’s ‘Best Days’ reached the number one slot on Billboard’s gospel rundown. Prior to her solo career Tamela was a member of Kirk Franklin And The Family. But in truth it has been the singer’s career as an actress in several Tyler Perry productions on the stage, in feature films and on hugely popular TV programmes which have elevated the 46 year old to stardom.

Tamela’s role as Cora in such Perry plays as I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Diary Of A Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion, Madea’s Class Reunion, Meet The Browns and What’s Done In The Dark have brought the singer-turned-actress fame. It has to be said that Perry, who in 2011 was named by Forbes as the highest paid man in entertainment (earning 130 million dollars between May 2010 and May 2011), has attracted considerable criticism despite his immense popularity with critics suggesting that his output reinforces black stereotypes. However one views Perry’s black culture dramas few will argue that in Tamela Mann he has helped a phenomenal singing talent find a mass audience.

Mann was born Tamela Jean Johnson on 9th June 1966 in Fort Worth, Texas. She was the youngest of 14 children. Mann and her siblings grew up in a very spiritual home which was grounded in the Church Of God in Christ (COGIC). They were properly reared by their mother whom they called “Mother Eppe”. Mother Eppe believed in and exercised solid biblical principles. Mother Eppe was a psalmist in her own right. By the age of 12, Tamela was singing in the church’s adult choir and often selected to sing solos. Although she was bashful, she blossomed in the local church and high school choirs.
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