(Photo: AP Images / Matt Sayles)
Real Christian life is not being perfect; believers often fall short of standards expected of them but they get back up. That's the message siblings Erica and Tina Campbell of the Grammy-winning group Mary Mary are spreading through their reality series which began this week.
"I think people have a misconception of what a Christian is," Tina told The Associated Press Friday, the day after the gospel duo's self-titled series debuted on WEtv. "I don't know, some think we buy Christian soap, or go to like Christian restaurants. Everybody thinks we're so spiritual, but that's not the case. We're gospel artists, but we make mistakes. We're normal people who praise God and everybody will get to see that on the show."
Erica and Tina are executive producers of "Mary Mary," an hour-long, 10-episode series that features the personal lives of the duo as they strive to balance their personal and professional lives.
"There is a great level of dysfunction," Erica was quoted as saying. "We're real sisters. We're black sisters with egos and strong personalities. But what we do know is that our mission and message is much bigger than that."
Erica and her husband Warryn have three children. She was pregnant with the third child when the show was filmed. Tina has four kids with her husband Teddy, a drummer for the Ricky Minor Band.
"With the show, we live out our faith as opposed to telling you," said Erica. "In church, you hear someone preaching and telling you how to live. On the show, you'll see how it looks to live it out. The Scripture says to forgive, but what happens when you are really mad? Those are things we will work through."
Tina added she didn't want to be seen as perfect. "I'm not perfect. I don't have all the answers. ... It's not always a storybook life. It's OK to fall and get back up. It's OK to get back up and repent. It's OK to work hard and get it right."
The Campbell sisters, who want to tell everyone about Jesus, have high expectations from the show. "Maybe we can be a breakthrough for other gospel artists who want a reality show too," Tina said. "For us, our whole goal is to reach people. We just don't want to sing in a church. We want to sing to everybody. We want to have an impact on people in so many different ways."
The duo broadened the fan base of urban contemporary gospel over a decade ago by introducing elements of soul music, hip hop, funk and jazz. The siblings broke through in 2000 with the pioneering crossover hit "Shackles (Praise You)." Since then, they have defied convention to fulfill their mission: sending uplifting messages through music and words that are relatable to everyone.
"It's about making music that touches both adults and young people," says Erica on the group's website. Tina adds, "It's about spreading good news for the world but doing it in the Mary Mary way: banging beats and melodies, intertwined voices and messages of hope."