Was 'Mary Mary' Pole Dancing Episode Too Hot?
The gospel duo's show also takes on unwanted pregnancy, celibacy and other sexy subjects
Gospel singers Tina and Erica Campbell have opened the floodgates after their latest episode of "Mary Mary," their reality show on WEtv. In it, the sisters have a sister getaway — time for bonding, an escape from the kids and...pole dancing lessons?
The whole show focused on something we don't often associated with Christian women and something we definitely don't associate with gospel singers: sex.
From the pole dancing workout, to Tina's possible unplanned pregnancy, to their sister GooGoo's attempts at celibacy, to Daddy Atkins' exclamation of being quite the ladies man before he got married, to their sister's engagement — the entire episode revolved around sex.
We start with Erica trying to convince Tina to join her for a pole dancing workout during their getaway. Erica, probably very eager to get her groove back, was all gung-ho about trying it as a workout, whereas Tina proclaims she wasn't ready for people to see her swinging on a pole, workout or no workout.
"My salvation isn't going to ooze outta me for doing a pole workout," Erica insisted.
"People are already criticizing us and our approach to gospel music," Tina responded. "Gospel singers, a pole — they don't go together."
Now, personally, I think as long as you're not taking your clothes off while you do it, there is nothing sexual about it. I actually watched part of the 2011 Pole Dancing Competitions (bet you didn't know there was such a thing) and was in awe. These women have incredible upper body strength, lower body strength and all kinds of body strength to be able to whip their bodies up and down and all around those poles. Yes, they didn't wear much clothing — in the same way gymnasts don't.
"Y'all ain't gotta worry about the bloggers and the online fans ripping y'all to shreds," Tina says of her other sisters. Translation: I'm not about to get judged for this and have it impact our careers.
In all the episodes that have aired thus far, there has been an interesting conundrum presenting itself in Mary Mary's life at every turn. They're gospel singers whose music is played in the club. They face criticism from every direction — for being too Christian, for not being Christian enough, for dressing like "church ladies," for showing too much cleavage. So this — the pole-dancing workout — is only the latest development in what they can and cannot get away with.
They're gospel singers, I understand. But they're women as well, who have normal desires to be seen as sexual beings by their husbands. They kept it real when schooling their newly engaged sister Alana on the realities of being married. "You'll probably be oversexed for the first couple of years," Tina told her. "You'll be tired."
Dang, I never in my life thought I'd hear some gospel singers speak so openly about sex. What a breath of fresh air.
I feel like Mary Mary has already carved out their place in gospel music and it ain't with the folks who are clutching their Thomas Dorsey albums. Their fan base is primarily the folks who grew up on Kirk Franklin's gospel — more modern, more uplifting. Would they judge them for doing a pole dancing workout after they've worked with David Banner and Young Joc?
And I think that's the key — it's a workout. The storyline wasn't about Tina dropping it low in the bedroom or trying to put the spice in her marriage. There was no talk of men at all, with Tina's sister Alana even protesting, "I don't see this as sexual at all." Other people might, but that's not Mary Mary's problem. And let's be real, Tina — I don't see you being able to pop up and somehow finagle your way to get your toes on the ceiling like the instructor did. A good spin or two is all I envision. (No hate, just being real.)
I applaud Mary Mary for giving us this glimpse into their lives and not being afraid to show the world that behind the singles, the Grammys and the appearances on BET's "Sunday Best," they are real women who, yes, talk about sex. They have to deal with husbands' concerns about their frumpy appearance when they're offstage. They're balancing concert appearances with their children's recitals. They're businesswomen and unapologetically Christian. And they're sexual.
As we can see, they are human. And might I add, I prefer their brand of human to the other reality shows messing up my Twitter feed on Sunday and Monday nights. We seem to accept bottle throwing and fists flying on other reality shows, but we can't even let two married women discuss and explore their sexuality.
But at the end of day, it's Tina's decision how she wants to be portrayed. As one of the executive producers of the show, she has the right to craft her image through the episodes so we come away with exactly what she wants us to come away with.
I enjoy watching this show every week but I do hope Tina can drop her guard — just a little.
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