If you’ve been keeping up with the premiere season of Bravo’s “Thicker Than Water,” then you know that the Tankard family settles for nothing less than the finer things in life. Or as woman of the house Jewel puts it, “This Black Barbie flies private or she stays home.”
With successful shows like “Thicker Than Water” and Oxygen’s “Preachers of L.A.,” Americans get an all-access pass into the worlds of Black wealth and church life. While some viewers say the series are simply entertainment, other critics argue that religious families like the Tankards glorify their wealth instead of God.
Well, Hello Beautiful got the chance to talk to the reality TV family one-on-one and they set the record straight about — what they believe to be — the source of the controversy. Jewel Tankard said race plays a large part.
“We are African Americans and I think that people are more comfortable seeing us like ‘Good Times,’” the wife of gospel jazz artist Ben Tankard said. “I just think racially were not used to seeing African Americans thrive; we’re used to seeing us survive. So what I try to tell people is look at how we behave, don’t look at the stuff. Don’t let stuff define us. Look at our hearts, look at us as people and not the stuff that we drive.”
For this very reason, Ben said he had hesitations about bringing Bravo TV cameras into his home, or as he likes to call it the Tankard Palace.
“My early hesitation would be people not having the knowledge of what we actually do or how I make my money,” he shared. “I had a hesitation of being a volunteer, non-salary paster of our church and then people seeing me in the pulpit, and our house, and our lifestyle, which is financed from my music career, and they automatically think here comes another preacher living off the back of the church.”
“I think it’s important for people to see that people have lives whether they are a pastor, evangelist, prophet, CEO or marketing director. Everyone has commonalty,” Jewel added. “To be honest with you, if we didn’t have what we have I don’t know if we’d be that interesting. I think we live in the age, especially with the younger generation, they are interested in their songs: ‘Racks on Racks’ and ‘Started From the Bottom And Now I’m Here.’ Let’s be real.”
Jewel went on to say that the Black community has a long way to go when it comes to financial literacy, which is why she started her Millionairess Club, a business mentorship program for women.
“It is very important because African Americans today, statistically, we are still at the bottom of the bottom of the food chain, but we are the biggest consumers. We haven’t had that financially literacy because everything was just survival mode for so many years,” she explained. “I have a desire for my children and people as a whole to go farther that just feeding the table. Let’s start feeding communities and let’s teach communities how not to have a hand out but hand out. The only way that is going to happen is by education and training.”
And as far as the Kardashian comparisons, the mother and entrepreneur said, “We are two totally different families.”
“I think they see family, they see entrepreneurship and that’s why I would say they’re saying that,” she said. “I think we are two totally different families. Nothing against them.”
“I see us more like the Cosbys or the Black Brandy Bunch than the Kardashians,” Ben chimed in. “I guess with the kids taking off and doing their own businesses could be compared to the Kardsahians.”
Be sure to check out the Tankards and their blended family of six on Bravo, Sunday nights at 9 EST.
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