Gospel greats and reality TV stars, Mary Mary has just released a new album entitled Go Get It. Touting old favorites like “Shackles,” the album’s new tracks “Sunday Morning” and “Go Get It” keep their momentum going. Elsewhere the duo’s self-titled WE TV reality show, depicting Erica Campbell and Tina Campbell on stage and at home with their collective six children and two husbands, was renewed for a second season. The Campbell sisters also recently unveiled their participation in the Entertainers 4 Education’s New York City “I Will Graduate” campaign, by appearing on a poster which New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Wallcott hope will encourage the importance of education among students.
EBONY chatted with Mary Mary about Go Get It, being a ‘cool Christian’ and the question of submission in marriages.
EBONY: Mary Mary’s seventh album “Go Get It” is on shelves now, why release a best of album?
Erika: When we found out Tina was pregnant, we wanted to give fans something creative.
Tina: You can’t promote a full CD in a limited time, which I’ve got since my new baby will be here in three months. But the new songs are incredible, “Go Get It” is a motivational anthem. “Sunday Morning,” that was us because we had to do our part singing with the church choir, so it was wonderful to take ourselves down memory lane.
EBONY: How has your WE TV “Mary Mary” reality show affected your private lives?
Erika: We’re the same, now people get to know who we are. We don’t have a spiritual answer for everything. I was on Twitter — I’ve stopped since — and tweeted that I’m not having a good day. Then people sent all these messages like ‘You can make it, hold on.’ I’m like ‘I know that, I’m just having a bad day and I’m allowed to say that!’
Tina: Many times in the Christian community, people think you have to qualify your faith by speaking Christian-ese. Every sentence must end with ‘bless’ or ‘hallelujah,’ that is not real life. Some think if you’re not in that space, you’re not representing Christ. I don’t think that’s what God smiles upon because that’s trying to please people. We do what we’re comfortable with, that’s what you see on ‘Mary Mary.’
EBONY: How do you find being the public examples of ‘cool Christianity?’
Erika: I feel good about it. We’ve always had cool Christians who lived their lives in front of us.
Tina: Elder Johnny Thompson at the church we grew up in, Los Angeles’ Evangelistic Church of God in Christ, was so cool. He’d say ‘You can call me Johnny.’ He would talk about his wife like she was his girl, not ‘his spiritual partner.’ He was true to who he was.
EBONY: During the screening for “Mary Mary,” you ladies mentioned that your show might help women be more submissive to their husbands to mixed reactions — what exactly did you mean by submissive?
Erika: Our cool pastor talked about order, family is your first priority. In God’s plan, the man is the head, the wife is the help and the children are in their place. When the father is out of place, the woman is forced to fill his space and it’s really hard for the children to learn their place because the woman has to have a little more …
Erika: And she’s not free to be her most feminine self, not that that’s not a strength in itself but in today’s society, it’s seen as weakness if you say ‘Hey babe, do you mind if I do such and such.’ I don’t see that as weakness, I’m old school. I cook for my husband, I like doors opened for me, even though I’m capable of opening my own. I’m a business woman, I make my own money, but I like being taken care of and I like for his money to do it and my money do what I want. That’s another part of the fun of being submissive, I don’t have to stress myself about what’s going on. I can let him worry about those things and love on him, and he in return loves on me. It’s not like the 1950s where he’s everything and you’re nothing.
Tina: People see my strong personality and my husband understood that when he was marrying me. I know when to back down.
EBONY: When is that?
Tina: When he says ‘Tina … ‘ I have to fall back and I don’t like to. But this is my husband, am I going to be his husband? I have to decide who’s going to be the wife in the relationship. I should be softer and tender, and in times where we don’t agree, he should take the lead because he’s the man. I love and trust him enough to do that. This idea doesn’t fly in society today but if I did not have that attitude I’d be sitting up single. You have to allow a man to be a man but you have to choose the right one. It’s not about pushing you around.
EBONY: How do you make sure that you’re being submissive without being manipulated?
Tina: I told my husband, ‘I got one daddy and his name is Eddie, not Teddy.’
Erika: Bossing me around is not going to happen.
Tina: If you don’t want me barking down your throat, you have to treat me like your tender wife. There are certain things I don’t do. Why does my tank only have four gallons of gas? Because I don’t think about that, you’re my husband, go fill my tank up! By the same token, you will not be in the house sewing buttons. If you’re not taking the tender road and you’re always taking the rough road, which road does your husband take?