Tamar Braxton’s personality is as polarizing as it is undeniable. From the moment she graced our screens and popped into a squat on Braxton Family Values, her boisterous and exuberant demeanor made her a standout. And if you weren’t reeled in by her over the top antics and infectious language, her talent commanded your attention. Her debut single Love & War was musical candy for the ears as well as love song for the ages (though she admitted she doesn’t understand the appeal of the song because she didn’t understand the lyrics at the time).
When the opportunity to chat with Tamar via Instagram Live arose, I was eager to hop on social media with the singer-turned-TV star, who was promoting her new VH1 show To Catch A Beautician. We spent an hour chatting about her growing relationship with her natural hair, changing the narrative around her TV persona and how she regrets the way her divorce to Vince Herbert played out in the public eye.
Before delving into our candid conversation, Tamar revealed she was heavy with emotion over the death of George Floyd and would be remissed not to talk about the situation surrounding his murder. “My heart aches,” she emotionally revealed. Having an earlier discussion with her beau David, she said,
“It’s no way we can sit up here and have a kee-kee about what’s going on in our relationship but not bring attention to what’s going on outside these walls and not bring attention to what’s going on outside these walls. We are the parents of a Black boy – we are affected. Heavily. To teach him the responsibility, he’s 6 years old and I feel like now is the time for us to get real in deep with him because it’s real out here. It’s scary and we have a lot of anxiety.”
Like many of us, Tamar admits to becoming desensitized to the violence against Black people when it is so prevalent in our day to day media consumption.
“Shame on myself because I think I have allowed myself to let it be apart of the norm without responding. Like ‘Oh, someone else got killed that’s jacked up. When is it going to stop?’ We fall into that for a day or two then we keep it moving. No. Now is the time we stand up an do something about it. It’s just one Black man killed too many.”
Switching lanes onto her current endeavor To Catch A Beautician, Tamar opened up about being traumatized by her hair falling out when she was a child following a chemical process.
“[Hair] didn’t matter to me. I was so gung-ho in achieving a look or a style it didn’t matter what the process was to get there. I just wanted it. ‘Oh your hair gon’ fall out in a couple weeks’ – ‘Oh ok.’ I just didn’t care but now I definitely do especially the older you get you don’t want to walk around with a wig and weave all day. It’s hot. And you gotta remember you turn into a pumpkin at 12 o’ clock. I just got tired of it.”
She admitted she didn’t start caring about her natural hair until she cut it all off. “The importance of my healthy hair care didn’t matter to me until I cut my hair all the way off. For me, having healthy hair and having hair in general is important to me,” the Grammy nominated songstress explained.
Her experience with embracing her hair led to her investing in her own organic hair butter omg you grow girl, which she says has contributed to her hair growth in the last two weeks.
The nation is still under isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving couples like Tamar and her beau David spending more time together than usual. Tamar called it a “beautiful” experience.
“It’s almost like getting into a new relationship again,” she said. “Who has spent this much time together before? It’s been beautiful. Some days have been trying like everyone’s relationship. We are human we work on each other’s nerves.” She added, “What I have learned about arguing, is if you’re going to argue make sure you’re still communicating. We’re not going to argue make sure you’re still communicating. We’re not going to argue for the sake of arguing.”
That’s the sound of someone who has been doing some self-reflection with the help of therapy. Tamar openly admitted to undergoing therapy. When asked what she wants her fans to know, she insightfully responded,
“You know my story from watching my show. It’s been a long hard road for people to understand that television is television and who you are in your true life is another thing, but the responsibility is ultimately mine to try to be the best example that I can be whenever I am seen or portrayed.” She continued, “I would like to say the story is never over. There is always time to change your narrative. You don’t like who you are, you don’t like what you’re doing. If you don’t like the people you are around, if you don’t like what you do for a living then change it and get better – change the narrative.”
It took a time in Tamar’s life and a few life-altering experiences to get Tamar to that level. Confronting her own emotional demons, she learned she didn’t like how she handled a lot of situations.
“I didn’t like how I handled a lot of things. I was just so hurt so emotional about certain things that were super duper public – I’m just going to speak on me and Vince’s marriage for a second. I don’t like how I handled it. I felt like I could have handle it more maturely and responsibility. Because people are watching and sometimes when people are watching that people are watching. Just because you were wronged you don’t have to become that person. You can still remain a good person. You can still be proud of yourself when you wake up in the morning.”
After her controversial end on The Real, Tamar’s life took a turn when her health also began to suffer.
“I think a lot of self-reflection came out of that whole era of my life. During that time I got super sick. I had four number one shows on four different networks. I was still hustling trying to get to where? I don’t know. I had a lot of life lessons out of it’s ok to sit down and enjoy. You’re not running to anything. It’s a marathon. Also, to take care of yourself is also included in the company you keep. You have to make sure the people around you are like minded.”
As for new music, Tamar’s single Crazy Kinda Love is creating buzz and leaving fans craving more. The good news, she is working on new music and plans on hitting the studio when quarantine restrictions loosen.
Watch the full interview below and watch To Catch A Beautician every Monday night on VH1.