Meet The Browns alum Tamela Mann stars in the UP Original movie In The Meantime, premiering this Saturday, August 17th at 7 p.m. ET. The talented actress plays Minnie, a grandmother taking a literacy class so she can be able to read the karaoke screen.
Celebrity Baby Scoop chats with Tamela about In The Meantime and whether she pulled from her own personal experiences as a grandmother to play her character. The mom-of-five also chatted about her “very nurturing and loving” mom and some of the special perks of being a grandmother!
CBS: Tell us about your UP Original movie, In The Meantime. What is it all about? Could you tell us about your character, Minnie?
TM: “In The Meantime is a romantic comedy about a businesswoman who loses her way and winds up having to do another job, which is not as big as the main job she had. She was a teacher, but she ends up having to teach a literacy class. My character, Minnie, goes to the class to learn how to read, because she wants to better herself and be able to sing karaoke with her grandkids. The movie is a comedy, but there are also serious aspects to it. It is enlightening and encourages people by discussing literacy and ways to improve yourself and not be embarrassed.”
CBS: Like your character, you are a grandmother in real life. Did you pull from any personal experiences to play your character?
TM: “My babies are so little, but my character in the movie shows the importance of being with your grandkids. I am helping my babies read early so they can learn and not have the same mistakes that I had growing up. That is how I compared my life to the grandmother element in the movie. I thought about how I could be able to read with them, have a greater experience as a grandma, and teach them to become better citizens and better people.”
CBS: What was your favorite part about working on the movie?
TM: “Being in the classroom was my favorite part, because those scenes were so much fun. My husband, David Mann, played the character Frankie, who was an old R & B artist trying to better himself. The other young man in the class, BJ, played by Rodney Perry, is a West African working to get his citizenship. It was like I was in between these two men. Even though we were both adults, these guys both had interest in me. Every day, they were always giving me comments and complimenting me, and it was very hilarious! Those classroom scenes were definitely my favorite parts.”
CBS: The movie features your song, “Here I am.” Could you tell us about the song? What is the inspiration behind the song?
TM: “The song talks about being in a place where you feel empty, but you sort of have a plan that you give to God. You say, ‘Here I am, things are not quite as I want them to be, but I know God can help me get to a better place. I want to be better and I want to make a change.’ It’s a very heartfelt song where you say, ‘Please take my heart!’”
CBS: Could you tell us about your children? How old are they and what are they into? Do you get to spend a lot of time with them?
TM: “My children are all adults now, thank god, but it is such an honor to be a mom. They teach me so much, especially now that they are adults. They keep me updated on all the things happening in the world on the music side. They are wonderful kids! I have one son and four daughters, because I raised a niece who is one of my kids as well, so there are five in all. Two of my kids work with me at my company in the music industry, and one is in school. Another one of my daughters is an actress. They are very inspiring children.
We have a lot of fun, especially with the grandkids. We are really family-oriented and love doing things together. There is so much happiness in having a happy home.’”
CBS: What are some of your favorite motherhood memories? What did motherhood teach you?
TM: “My mom was very nurturing and loving, so she hugged me a lot. I was raised in a church, so my activities were all based around church. One thing she told me growing up was that if I loved the Lord with all my heart, then God would take me far. I never would have imagined that I would be in this place, on television, and doing movies and things of this nature. The love and support she gave me are beyond amazing. She has gone on now and I really miss her. My career took off while she had Alzheimer’s disease, so she kind of missed out on a lot of the things I experienced. Even to this day, there have been many times where I’ve cried that she missed so many of my accomplishments. I love her and know she’s in my heart, and I pray and believe that she is looking down and watching me.
In regard to what I’ve discovered from being a mom, I’ve learned to be a good listener. It’s not all about commenting on things and talking to my kids, but also hearing them, hearing their hearts, and hearing what they say so I can become a better mom. In this industry, you are so busy working on TV, movies, and music. When I come home, I just want to be ‘Mom,’ ‘Granny,’ and ‘Wife’ so I can become better and be there for my kids.”
CBS: You are also a grandma. What are some of the perks of being a grandparent? What kinds of things do you like to do with your grandkids?
TM: “I get to send them home! [laughs] I love being there with everybody, because my lap is always full! If one grandchild comes to me, I’ll have two or three other ones come along and get on my lap. You get so much love from a kid! I don’t see how anyone could hurt a baby or a kid, because they are so loving. You can feel them reaching out to you, even if their hands aren’t out. When I come in, they run over and greet me and say, ‘Granny!’ There is such a burst of energy and I have to hug and kiss everyone. That is the greatest feeling in the world.”
CBS: How do you balance your family duties and work life?
TM: “One day at a time. When I am home, I concentrate on being a mother and wife. When I am on the road, I concentrate on whatever is at hand. That is how I balance myself. Family comes first, and then everything else.”
CBS: Do you think that women “having it all” is realistic or unattainable?
TM: “I think it is realistic, because I feel like I have it all. That’s funny that you ask that, because I had to go through that with some people in the industry. They were saying, ‘I want my career to go here and here,’ but there’s the possibility that you might miss it all if you are sitting and waiting for it to happen. I feel like I’m living my dream. I look at my kids and we’ve all grown together. Yes, I had them early, but now they are all grown up and I can enjoy my grandkids and enjoy their lives. I can help them move in whatever areas or activities they’re doing. To me, you can miss it if you’re not careful.”
CBS: What other upcoming projects do you have?
TM: “I am repackaging my latest album, Best Days, it because I redid some songs and added other songs to it. I am also working on a reality show, The Manns, as well as a sitcom called Mann and Wife, which features my husband and I. My husband and I played a father and daughter in Meet The Browns, and this time we get to play husband and wife. Those are some upcoming events. Also, I am working on marriage and ministry activities, where I go out and encourage marriages to stay together.”