"Are you in DC this weekend? Urgent call me back."
¡Ay! This text came on Friday which is my busiest day of the week since it's when I publish The Wise Latina Club's weekly newsletter.
Plus it was the last day to put the finishing touches on an intense foreign policy and politics-focused panel, "Caught in the Crossfire: Women on the frontlines in Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala" I moderated on June 4th which looked at the impact the war on drug is having on women with Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams and other human rights advocates from Mexico and Central America.
Plus Friday, I have my "mentoring" date.
Add: life as in, it's Friday night and maybe I want to go out on a date.
But I called my friend back. He passed along a tip.
Hollywood Star Friend: "Gospel sensation Mary Mary who also has a reality show of the same name is in DC this weekend. You should interview them about blowing up in the music mainstream while they balance marriage and kids. I think it's something TWLC's readers would appreciate learning about as they themselves 'do it all'."
And with the Lights! Action! Camera! that follow them wherever they go, this is how my foray into reality TV began...without having to make a sex tape à la Kim Kardashian!
Turns out Mary Mary were in DC headlining the 7th annual Cinderella Ball sponsored by The House, Inc. a youth leadership non-profit which hosts an annual prom for students with disabilities and life threatening illnesses. Medication, hospital visits, being poked and prodded with needles be gone. For one night, they are not patients but kids who will dance the night away, gaining hope and inspiration to keep on, keepin' on.
I had a lot to ask Mary Mary who in real life are Erica and Tina Campbell.
They're balancing Grammy performances, tours, all their career demands as they make it B.I.G. But they're also working moms.
What advice do you have for women who are also juggling kids, hubs, being preggers, and work?
I also asked about the tension between on one hand, their music's message which is empowering and focused on faith. On the other hand, there's their taste in fashion. People have criticized their clothing choices for being more Nicki Minaj than Whitney Houston circa her choir-in-robes-singer early days.
Erica and Tina predictably affirmed that their style choices don't cross the "church" line, their families', or their own.
I wasn't going to take their designer-clad word at face value. I put my 11 years of hard-nosed journalism experience and my Yale PHD research skills to work: I watched all the episodes of WE-TV's Mary Mary. I didn't see anything that raised my freshly waxed, TV ready eyebrows. And that doesn't include the low brow you see on TV nowadays, ¡Madre Mía even at the Mexican presidential debate!
What did pop off the screen is that Tina and Erica show off the curves of real women who have had children, whose demanding schedules sometimes don't allow them to work out or eat right, but who overall are healthy. Yeah, they might have some help, something many working women, especially African American and Latina moms don't have. But there's some really positive role modeling going on when you see a woman tastefully dressed, albeit on that edge, who looks like you and works, has goals, ambitions, and is making her dreams reality.
In a society that defines beauty as rexxy, white, and blonde, Mary Mary embraces their beauty, although I will say, I wish they would go back to brown hair as opposed to their shade of blonde, an affliction plaguing many beauties of color such as JLO, Shakira, and Mary J. Blige.
Beauty--what's inside and out--is not "one size fits all."
Neither are women.
My heart skipped a metaphorical beat when I laid eyes on New York Giants Linebacker Clint Sintim who grew up outside of DC in his tailored suit and horn-rimmed glasses.
But when I found out he was at the Cinderella Ball to escort his autistic sister Brittany, my heart stopped!
Indeed, beauty comes in many (linebacker) shapes and sizes.Who do you define as beautiful?