'Grown & Gospel': Tasha Page-Lockhart and Nikkia Cole-Beach on Mixing Gospel and Secular Music, Rebelling From the Church, Sharing Lives on Reality TV and More (Exclusive)
WE tv's newest reality series gives viewers a glimpse into gospel royalty. Grown & Gospel follows a group of career-driven childhood friends searching for success in the Detroit gospel scene and beyond. Tied through their familial dynasties, they learn to navigate the business of gospel music, while embarking on their own endeavors. The close-knit crew grapples with their strict upbringing and high standards as they push toward being the new generation of gospel, with some even wanting to depart from the genre completely. Viewers will take a look into their personal lives as they expose broken hearts, reveal dark secrets, and balance it all. Produced by former Real Housewives staple and the self-proclaimed "King of Reality TV," Carlos King.
The show stars Tasha Page-Lockhart (Lisa Brooks Page's daughter), Nikkia Cole-Beach (Dorinda Clark Cole's daughter), Breeann Hammond (Fred Hammond's daughter), J. Brooks, Elijah Connor, and Shana Wilson-Williams. All are musically inclined, with Page-Lockhart having hits such as "Different" and "Faith Come Alive." Cole-Beach is part of the legendary Clark Sister's management team.
PopCulture.com spoke with Page-Lockhart and Cole-Beach about the show's inaugural season and all that's to come. Check out the full video interview on our YouTube channel.
PC: I'll start with you Tasha. Obviously, you're not necessarily new to reality television because of your work on Sunday's Best, but this is more of an intimate approach with sharing your life, and giving your fans an inside look into what you do and who you are every single day. Why decide to do a full-blown reality series?
TPL: For the reason you just said. Just to show them – I always say I sing like I'm crazy because I used to be crazy. So sometimes it's necessary. It was necessary for me to show them where this passion comes from. I sing like this because I'm passionate about my faith and I go after God so much like I do – and it's one thing to say it, but to actually see it, and to actually walk through that process with a person, it was important to me for it to be genuine and to be authentic. And even if that meant laying myself out there, and being vulnerable, and being nervous, and sometimes scared, or "What are people going to think? Are they really going to embrace it? Do I look crazy? Do I sound stupid?" All of them things are running through your mind. I don't want to be fat on TV. Just so many things, but I don't regret doing it. The staff at Kingdom Reign and WE tv, they were amazing at helping us tell our stories, and then doing this show with six of my real friends, it made it so much more easy. So, I'm grateful, and I can't wait to see the show.
PC: And for you, Nikkia, there have been a few gospel artists that have done reality TV before. We've seen Mary Mary, I believe their show ran for about five seasons, obviously Deitrick Haddon, but they've come under harsh criticism as well, even if their shows were successful. I feel like gospel music fans don't necessarily want to see their favorites on this platform. Obviously, reality TV gives us a whole different lens on our artists and who they are as people, and sometimes that can have a negative effect. So are you nervous about opening up your world to the viewing audience? And obviously, your mother and your aunt are spursed in between there as well.
NCB: I'm not nervous about anything that I decided with this platform. Shout out to Carlos and Kingdom as well as AMC, WE tv. But I want to say that this was just something to see that everybody wonders, "Does she have a daughter? Does she sing? Da da da da, duh." Before traveling with them, I was always just a home body. Just being at home and just off to myself, not really wanting to be a part of the limelight, as you can say, as far as the limelight of the industry. I always wanted to be behind. So even when I started working with them, I wind up being where I wanted to be, and that is behind, but it was just something that I wanted to give out to letting people know that I have a life too. Being married, having kids, being entrepreneur as far as with my brand, the business, Good Thing Worldwide, so I wanted to kind of separate those two. This is something I do outside of my mother and my aunts. I want y'all to see me [inaudible 00:04:23] daughter [inaudible 00:04:25] daily life that somebody can relate to. So yeah.
PC: Now you spoke already, Nikkia, about wanting people to see your life outside of your families. Obviously, both you and Tasha come from gospel family royalty, with you being a part of the Clark family, and now a part of their management team, and Tasha, with your mom being Lisa Page Brooks. There was a conversation or discussion amongst the group, I believe, in either episode one or two, about Breann and her relationship with her father, her wanting to pursue music, and the whole idea of how nepotism can play a part in people's success. How difficult would you guys say that it has been to establish yourselves outside of your familial ties?
TPL: With my parents, they kind of pushed me to the forefront. They gave me a lot of opportunities early on, even from the age of seven years old, doing voiceovers and commercials for national campaigns and corporations. So I didn't really have that experience. They've never held me back. They've never tried to stunt my growth, or told me to wait on them, or anything like that. They've always supported me. Sometimes I tried to move ahead of them and they're like, "Now wait a minute. You want to make sure you're ready." They're more so of caution, you know what I'm saying? Warning me about the industry, the ins and outs, the political side and all of that, and favoritism and cliques in the industry. It's in every industry, not just gospel. And so they would warn me about things like that. But other than that, I didn't really feel like they held me back or I had to fight for anything. They were very supportive of my career in ministry.
NCB: I can say that just the support system itself, because of course, my mom, she wanted me to sing. She pulled me in being that she was a music teacher along with my grandmother at the Clark Conservatory Music, which was a school for musicians and singers. And so I was always there on the daily. So it was like when they didn't have their students, they would pull me into the room like, "Come on in here, do this little tune." I used to be like, "Ugh, I don't want to do this." It was just a turn-off to me. I don't know what it was, but I just didn't have that drive or passion. So I just think that where I'm at today, I'm just blessed that they're able to see that the Nikki that they've been wanting to see, but more so not just on the singing side, but more so on the business side.
And I wanted to expose that as well, that I have my moments of just wanting to make sure everything is in order when it comes to just being the BTS queen. I want to make sure that they're represented just as much as my grandmother did. She made sure that they were represented, she made sure the business was signed. I don't want to feel that shoes that she was standing on, not just the center or director or any of that sort, but she was a business woman. So I just think that that's what I want to portray as far as the legacy wise.
PC: There's also a big conversation with certain people in the cast about not being wanting to be boxed into gospel music. Is there a world where either one of you feel as if gospel and secular can merge? Obviously, we see more gospel artists like Kirk Franklin and Tye Tribbett who are – they use hip hop undertones I guess you could so say – but they're still categorized as gospel. Or do you guys feel as if it should stay separate? And what is your take on going between both genres? I've seen artists do that as well.
TPL: I would say it doesn't really bother me that the genres are separate. I just want to have the freedom to sing whatever it is I want to sing. And I don't mind even being labeled as a gospel artist because I love gospel music. I literally am a fan of gospel music. Growing up in gospel music from a baby up under my mom, the Yolanda Adams', and the Donnie McClurkins, and The Winans', and The Clark Sisters – I just saw them last week, and I was like, "Hey, auntie Karen, hey auntie." When I say those words, I'm not just saying it. Those who I really like my aunts, you know what I'm saying? So I love it. I love everything about it. But I know there's more to me than just singing gospel. I enjoy singing all kinds of music. I'm classically trained.
I used to sing in different languages in high school. I sing jazz, I sing R&B. I can sing pop. I can sing all styles of music. And so I never want to stifle my own growth because I get frustrated when I can't be my most creative self. And so it has nothing to do with wanting to leave gospel or people say, "Well, being a hypocrite..." or "You know you wasn't raised like that." You don't know how I was raised because my parents played all types of music in my house. AMy grandfather was with Motown. If you go to Hitsville USA here in Detroit, in the museum, my grandfather's picture was on the wall. He was with a group called The Monitors. So I have that side of me too, that I don't want to abandon. I don't want to let that go. So I'm comfortable in my skin. So whatever it is I do, I don't look to the church for validation of a gift that God gave me.
PC: What is it that you're hoping viewers take away from your specific storyline?
TPL: I hope viewers take away, and then you could tell me if I accomplished this since you've seen the show, I hope that viewers take away from my story, my vulnerability, and tap into the inner resilience that's inside of them. To say that you may make mistakes. You may get into a bad relationship. You may have missed the mark. You may have fallen down. You may have made bad decisions, and bad choices, or whatever the case may be. But those choices and those decisions are not the sum total of who you are and who you will be. They don't define you. And you can overcome. You can bounce back, and you will be bigger and better than you've ever been. And so that's what I hope they take away from my story.
PC: And finally, both of you have labeled yourselves as, in the past, being rebellious or doing things to intentionally separate you from your specific upbringing. And I find that that's common not only in church kids, but also kids of law enforcement or anyone with stricter parameters. What things do you feel specifically sets up a church kid to stray away, and specifically what brings them back?
NCB: I think that yes, I had my rebellious stages in life. And I think that, of course, your mindset is not really determined by what you are now. You are always told what you should do or how you should do it. At that time in my age, I was always told what I should be doing. And I was thinking – I was so rebellious to where I'm like, "Well, I don't want to hear that. I don't want to hear that." So it had to take for me to grow out of that and to kind of see for myself like, "Okay, now I see being a mother now. Now I see why these things were told to me." So I think that it's also about your upbringing and how you were raised because, at the end of the day, just like the Bible says, train up a child, you should go, and they would not depart. So I think that that applies naturally as well.
In a natural state, when it comes to your life, and being and family, and all of those things, but knowing that you also have to respect your parents, and honor your parents. So those are the things that I had to deal with in life. And I think this platform is saying that I had to mature. I became a mature person. So you would get to see all of that as well.
TPL: To answer that last question you said, I think a lot of what caused me to rebel, if you want to use that word, is I was molested when I was young, and nobody knew. I didn't start talking about this until I was 30 years old, and I'll be 40 in about two weeks. And so it's only been 10 years since I've even come public with this news to my family. And I think holding that in and having experienced that at a young age, eight and nine years old, by family members, it will cause you to act out in a way where you know would never imagine.
And then as well as being raised in a household where sometimes they would use phrases like, "You don't have an opinion in this house." So it is do as I say, and you can't ask why. So I learned how to... How can I say this?
I've learned how to analyze my upbringing, how I was raised, take the good things that I feel like shaped and molded me, and then the other stuff that I did not like, that I felt wasn't fair, I try not to do that to my children.
But I try to look at the best qualities that my parents had, and then I lean in on those. So everybody, they don't get it right. Some people parent the way they were parented, you know what I mean? And so you know, get up to a certain age, and we just had COVID, and a lot of people died, and you get to a point where you say, "I just have to have grace." And you let people off the hook. So we don't hold grudges against our parents. We don't have any resentment or anything like that. I love my parents, and I have a great relationship with them, but some things I just didn't like. Just like any family. Some things you just didn't like. And I take those things that I didn't like, and I try not to do that and repeat those things with my children.
The show premieres on Thursday, March 16 at 9/8c on WE tv.0comments