march 2012


Mary Mary Lives Life Out Loud On TV Series

By Bob Marovich.

"What is it you think you see, when you see me?"

This is the question Mary Mary, aka Tina and Erica Campbell, asks in their hit song, "God in Me."

It might as well be the theme for the sisters' new reality television show, Mary Mary, which premieres on WE tv Thursday, March 29 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Following Episode One, the program will air Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The Campbell sisters, with their mother and Erica's infant baby in tow, visited Chicago yesterday to share snippets of the new show.

Mary Mary, ‘Walking,’ from the album Something Big (2011)

The ten-episode series, Mary Mary, is a genuine portrayal of the herculean balancing act the women perform every day as they manage multiple demands of career, staff, marriage and children (born and unborn). The F3 tornado of activity produced by their schedule yanks the viewer out of her seat and tosses her into the vortex. The energy the singers and their extended community exude leaves one exhausted watching it unfold.

But unlike some reality shows, Mary Mary is honest and unflinching while maintaining a sense of proportion and humanity. It is equal parts dramatic tension and human comedy, not lowering itself to revel in the mire of bizarre personalities or relegating its characters to one-dimensionality. We see honest-to-God working parents, tight family structures and music teams that elicit real emotions of love, happiness, stress, frustration, disappointment, joy and the will to remain centered in faith and family.

Working parents everywhere will empathize with the sisters' plight. Emerging gospel artists will do well to see these episodes because they show that life as a superstar still involves personal sacrifices and making tough choices.

Mary Mary, ‘Heaven,’ from the group’s 2005 self-titled album.

And yes, Mary Mary sings, but the focus is on the scenes that take place behind-the-scenes. In other words, the show is more about Tina and Erica than their alter ego Mary Mary. But like any alter ego, it's difficult to separate the two at all times.  When asked how she kept her voice strong despite the demands on her time, Erica responded, "I used to get rest and drink plenty of water.  Now I just drink plenty of water!"

The sisters acknowledged that they had a frank discussion with their loved ones before they let the cameras and microphones into their homes and their lives. "We came to an understanding with our families before the show," Tina said. "We wanted to ensure the safety of family and marriage. We didn't want to do anything to compromise our lives."

Indeed, what you see is what you get. The sisters said there were only a couple of times that they had to ask the cameras and microphones to stop, particularly when they were in their creative space and needed to be left alone to develop their music.

"It's hard to live your life out loud," Tina said. "But hopefully women will be inspired by seeing two real women as sisters, moms and wives trying to balance their career with raising a family."

So whatever it is you think you know when you see Mary Mary, you are in for a treat to see the ladies in their 360 degrees of humanity. You'll love and respect them even more afterward.

For more information, visit

Mary Mary’s latest album, Something Big, is available at

bob marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, radio announcer, and author. In its seventh season, Bob's "Gospel Memories" program of vintage black gospel music and artist interviews airs live first Sundays from 3:00 to 7:30 a.m. on Chicago's WLUW 88.7 FM, and streams live at Snippets of recent broadcasts can be heard at Bob is also editor of The Black Gospel Blog: