Rickey Smiley, David and Tamela Mann Host for the 30th Annual Stellar Awards

David and Tamela Mann



   Few entertainers today can match the unbridled energy and creative passion that Tamela Mann brings to her multi-faceted career. An acclaimed actress, NAACP Image Award and Grammy Award nominee and Stellar Award and Dove Award-winning vocalist, as well as wife and mother, Mann’s talent has helped anchor one of the industry’s most successful film, TV and theatrical franchises, while her amazing vocal gift is at the top of her impressive resume.

  Tamela seems to effortlessly juggle a variety of notable projects while still finding time to aid such worthy organizations as the American Diabetes Assn. Tamela and her husband, NAACP Image award-winning actor and comedian, David Mann will co-star in a number of upcoming television projects including a new series “It’s A Mann’s World” and sitcom “Mann and Wife.” Mann’s 2012 “Best Days” album release set records and garnered a list of accolades adding to Mann’s musical profile.

   “I want to present music that people can be blessed by and that can be healing,” she says about her record. “We have to put music out to keep people encouraged and keep lifting the body of Christ up, and even the ones that haven’t become Christians. We need to encourage them that the best thing that they could ever do is become a child of God.”

   With “Best Days,” Tamela is on a mission to share the strength and joy that can be found in being a child of God. Produced by Myron Butler and Kirk Franklin, the seven-time Stellar Gospel Music Award and two-time Dove Award-winning project showcases Mann’s powerful voice and her gift for wringing every ounce of emotion from a great lyric.

   Tamela has a gift for encouraging people through music. Her previous album “The Master Plan,” won the 2011 Dove Award for Traditional Gospel Album of the Year. Though an award-winning project might cause some artists to feel pressure when they enter the studio to record their follow up album, Tamela just felt excited and motivated to take her music to another level, and she does just that on “Best Days.”  “I take no glory. I take no merit for myself because it all comes from Him,” Mann says. “Everything that I am comes from Him. The Lord gives me words and the most fulfilling part is that I can plant a seed of joy and hope for people that I’ve never met.”

   One of the most powerful tracks on “Best Days” is the Grammy-nominated, Stellar Award and Dove Award-winning debut single “Take Me to the King,” produced by long-time friend and Gospel icon, Kirk Franklin. The song earned Mann her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance and remained at #1 on the Gospel radio chart for a record number of weeks. The lyric acknowledges how heartbreakingly challenging life can be and how respite can be found in the presence of the King. Tamela turns in a soul-stirring performance with her voice conveying every ounce of vulnerability in the well crafted lyric as well as the hope that is within grasp.

   The single is also featured on Mann’s 2013 “Best Days Deluxe Edition” album release, which also features the worship favorite and single “I Can Only Imagine.” The NAACP Image Award-nominated album features favorites from the standard version, plus live versions of the positive and powerful songs.

   The positive, life-affirming attitude is not only the focal point of Tamela’s albums, it’s at the heart of everything she does. Whether she’s starring in a film, a play or on television with her husband David in the successful TBS comedy “Meet the Browns,” or recording an award-winning album, the singer continually touches people with her impressive talent and her Christ-like spirit.

   Faith has always been the foundation of Tamela’s life. “It was all about faith and all about God in my mom’s house,” She recalls of growing up in Fort Worth, Texas as the youngest of 14 kids. “We couldn’t listen to like R&B or blues. My mom would say, ‘You can’t listen to those blues in my house.’ She was really strict, but we listened to a lot of gospel music---The Clark Sisters, Andrae’ Crouch, Walter Hawkins, The Williams Brothers and Inez Andrews.”

 Tamela knew at an early age that she was called to music ministry. “When I was eight-years-old, I was going to youth choir rehearsals with my older siblings, and I would start learning the songs that they were singing. I noticed myself scooting up closer and closer to the choir stand, singing with the choir. I jumped in there and started singing soprano right off.”

  Though she was young, her voice caught the attention of the choir director and her uncle, who was the pastor. “I had an opportunity to sing the lead and the song was James Cleveland’s ‘I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired.’ It went over so well and I got so moved while I was singing the song, I started crying. I didn’t know what it was at the time, being so young, but it was like the spirit of God would take me over every time that I would sing. I found out that singing was my passion.”

   By the time she was 12, she was in the singing choir at the Holy Tabernacle church. Shortly after high school, she met three young men that would change her life forever. David Mann became her husband, Darrell Blair who is now her pastor, and pal Kirk Franklin, who helped launch Tamela’s singing career when he recruited her to be part of his groundbreaking group, The Family. Tamela sang on five of Franklin’s albums and has fond memories of those days. “I look at all of us and how God has blessed us in different areas,” she says. “We’re going on and doing our own things. We’re all still serving the Lord which is really a blessing. And working with Kirk again after all these years has been so special.”

   After her stint with The Family, God continued to open doors for Mann to serve him in the arts. She landed a role in the play “He Say. . .She Say. . .But What Does God Say?” Her stage skills were noticed by actor/writer/producer Tyler Perry who chose her to appear in his play, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself.” From there her acting career escalated as she developed the role of Cora Simmons in Perry’s plays and such films as “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “Madea Goes to Jail” and 2011’s “Madea’s Big Happy Family.” The Madea films have become one of Hollywood’s most successful film franchises and Mann’s portrayal of ‘Cora Simmons’ has become a cornerstone of the series.

  Tamela has also taken ‘Cora’ into America’s living rooms via the television screen, co-starring with her husband David in the #1 TBS series, “Meet the Browns.” Yet even as she’s become increasingly successful as an actress, Mann’s passion for music has never diminished. She’s recorded four highly acclaimed albums, including “The Master Plan,” and the versatile entertainer has been nominated for an NAACP Image award.

  2012 was a memorable year in film for Mann as she joined Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in the film “Sparkle.” Mann acted alongside Houston as her character’s best friend.   

  Tamela Mann has been blessed with a busy life filled with faith, family and a rewarding career. She and David have been happily married for 26 years and have four children and eight grandchildren. The couple serves as spokespeople for the American Diabetes Association, helping educate people on healthy food choices and the importance of exercise. They also incorporate tips into “Hanging with the Manns,” a new cooking show the couple is co-hosting. They revel in the opportunity to work together on different projects. “We started out as best friends and we tell each other everything,” she says of what keeps her marriage strong. “Everything that we have accomplished has been together and it’s just really a blessing.”
   The Mann’s home base remains in Texas and they are active in their church. “I’m always involved in church when I’m home,” she says. “When we have activities, I’m the decorator. I always decorate the fellowship hall. I really like being involved and I think it’s important because the pastors need laborers. They don’t just need members. They need laborers. It’s very important to come and be a part of actual fellowship and be a part of activities.”

   As much as she loves being home, she also loves touring and ministering to people all over the world through her music. “That’s where I find my joy, when I can sing and minister to people,” she says, “because I see the hope and encouragement that it gives people. It’s something that I will do until I die. I will do this until the Lord calls me home because this is one sure way that I know I can tell people about Him so He can be glorified. I’ll never stop because I love it so much.”


David Mann

Ingeniously funny and extraordinarily talented are understatements when it comes to the multifaceted actor and 2011 NAACP Award winner for Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series (Meet The Browns, “Mr. Brown”), David Mann. A native of the "Bible belt" state of Texas, David masterfully showcases his God given talents in today's most dynamic and distinguished genre.

Accentuating his already natural gift of making people laugh as a youth, David set his sights on acting. As a free-spirited adolescent, the self-possessed 15 year-old discovered a way to employ his unsuspecting antics by involving himself in various high school activities including contemporary drama where he permeated the stage world by becoming a budding thespian. Finding his natural element, David was commonly cast as the production's funnyman where his infectious comedic flair was visibly realized and fittingly unleashed. From high school to local community theater, David's accomplished performances quickly gained notable recognition advancing his diversified image into public notice.

In short order, David joined forces with one of America's funniest actors and critically acclaimed playwright, Tyler Perry. The illustrious actor had written, directed, and produced numerous plays including the stage play hit I Can Do Bad All By Myself where David remarkably immortalized the intrusively nosey, wisecracking, ashy-kneed, and outrageously funny neighbor, "Mr. Brown." As was apropos, David's bravo performance led the way for “Mr. Brown” to become a principal character in many of Perry's other hilarious stage and film comedies, including the play and motion picture, Tyler Perry’s Meet The Browns, in which David reprised the role of “Mr. Brown” for mass audiences.

Both properties were sure-fire hits, playing to packed theaters and grossing millions. "If you thought Madea's family was crazy, wait till you meet the Browns” became the tag line for the new TBS comedy modeled after the film and starring David as the beloved “Mr. Brown.”

David Mann's musical and theatrical talents brilliantly epitomize ingenuity at its best. When David is not on set shooting, he brings his live comedy show to venues around the country playing to sold-out crowds and is a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Assn. Along with his wife, Tamela, David is the co-host of the exciting new cooking and lifestyle TV show, Hanging With The Manns, which follows the dynamic couple as they cook-up delicious recipes in the kitchen and go on hilariously funny and wild adventures together, and he is the co-star of the upcoming sitcom Mann and Wife and series It’s A Mann’s World.

David is also the president of his independent music and entertainment label, Tillymann Music Group, with his wife Tamela. When David is not on tour, he enjoys the restful company of his wife of 26 years and their fun-loving children and grandchildren.


Rickey Smiley

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Comedy legend and entertainment mogul, Rickey Smiley brings uproarious laughter to the world through his magnetic and sharp style of humor. The powerhouse performer brings his impeccable timing to a number of successful media platforms and has the distinct ability to take everyday observations and turn them into comedic gold. As a beloved comedian, television host, actor and top rated nationally syndicated radio personality; Smiley has become one of the entertainment industry’s most celebrated performers. Through his brilliantly crafted career of bringing humor to the masses, Smiley has established himself as a potent pillar of talent with the capacity to reach a multitude of audiences. Smiley is one of the few “clean” comics amongst the top tier of contemporary great comedians and has amassed a deeply loyal fan base of enthusiasts who gravitate to his quick-witted delivery and captivating energy.

Coming from his humble roots of Birmingham Alabama, Rickey rose to superstardom after igniting his 25-year career serving as opening act for Industry titans such as Steve Harvey, George Wallace, and Carl Strong. Throughout his career trajectory, Rickey has been one of the industry’s most towering forces in building an impressive empire that has landed him preeminent roles on radio, television, film and on-stage performances.

On the fast track to stardom, in 2000 Rickey started his climatic rise to stardom as the headlining host of BET’s “ComicView” and became further distinguished as the only comedian who has had the honor of hosting two consecutive successful seasons catapulting the show to it’s highest ratings in history. After achieving this milestone, BET then quickly signed Rickey to host “The Way We Do It” during the 2001-2002 season, which later became one of the networks top five shows. Smiley also delivered unforgettable appearances on "Showtime At The Apollo," "Uptown Comedy Club", HBO's "Def Comedy Jam” and "Snaps."

Rickey Smiley continued to take the world by storm with his unique blend of comedy and originality as he sought to further master his craft and conquer the world of radio. In 2007 Smiley became the host of the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, one of the funniest and most compelling radio programs in the country. Based in Atlanta, in over 55 markets, and growing, the Rickey Smiley Morning Show is a blend of laughter, social issues and celebrity news. Daily millions of fans faithfully tune in and listen to the hysterical show best known for its rib-tickling prank phone calls, as Rickey delivers witty commentary and unpredictable humor. Using radio as an uplifting message vehicle, Rickey’s insightful yet humorous interviews with A-list celebrities raise social and political awareness. Smiley’s down-home southern charm and philosophy to use insight rather than vulgarity to evoke laugher, is one of the many reasons he forged partnership with Radio One the most respected urban broadcasting conglomerates in the world. The Rickey Smiley Morning Show is featured within a wildly popular daily entertainment news television show on Dish Nation. The show is paired with other nationally syndicated radio personalities and airs weeknights on FOX affiliates.

Rickey continued to perform sold out shows where his diverse audiences were drawn to original characters such as "Mrs. Bernice Jenkins,” “Lil' Daryl,” “Joe Willie” and "Beauford." After mastering his signature characters, Rickey headlined The Laugh and Shout Experience tour featuring Rickey as “Minister Joe Willie”. Joined by the Deuteronomaires featuring Gospel artists Earnest Pugh, Zacardi Cortez, and Darlene McCoy is set to resume Fall 2014.

As the wildly popular comedian continued to span his audience and entertain people of all-ages, Rickey then joined forces with Radio One owned television network, TV One as the star, executive producer and namesake of his own top rated sitcom, “The Rickey Smiley Show”.  The amusing series features the balancing act of a working comedian with the joys and pains of being a single father of three; a character that parallels his own life. It also profiles Rickey as he masters the riggers of radio with a whimsical spin on office politics, social issues, celebrity appearances, and music - all threaded around rich humor.

Asked about being one of the busiest and most successful comics in the world, Smiley shares, “I love what I do and enjoy getting up every day with the expressed purpose of bringing joy into the lives of others through laughter. The greatest satisfaction I can receive is knowing that my talents are a form of escapism that brings happiness into so many deserving lives. To be blessed with sold out tours, a successful radio show and 2 Television platforms is more than I could ever have dreamed and I am committed to working harder than ever to continue to be a positive influence and all around best entertainer I can be.” Rickey Smiley

Growing up in the church filled with colorful characters and content Smiley drew inspiration and developed his signature characters that have visibly become apart of his comedic trademark. From Bernice and her bizarre church announcements to Coach McClainy and his lack of motivational skills, Rickey’s audiences have developed a fierce loyalty and desire to his impersonations. Smiley’s growing character base have found their way to 8 best selling CDs including iTunes #1 Best Selling Comedy Album, "Rickey Smiley- Prank Calls Number 6." His additional credits include hosting BET's comedy concert DVD "Open Casket Sharp".

Having enjoyed meteoric success on-stage, radio, and in film Rickey has catapulted his wondrous talents onto the big-screen. Continuing to grow his fan base Rickey’s arresting natural talent is best demonstrated in his major feature film roles in urban classics including "All About The Benjamin’s" and "Friday After Next," along with his most recent starring turn in the hit romantic comedy “Baggage Claim.”

Rickey served as host of the prestigious Trumpet Awards in 2012, the 29th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards in 2014, and the 2014 NAACP Image Awards Dinner & Pre-Party, as well as presented at the NAACP Image Awards Ceremony.

Life off-stage, Rickey is dedicated to empowering and enriching the communities in which he serves daily. This performer has a heart of gold reflected in his burning commitment and ongoing desire to champion underserved youth through his financial support and the utilizing of his powerful platforms to be a change agent for the greater good of his community. Rickey Smiley also is an esteemed and honored member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated and cherishes parenting as a devoted father.  


HOST APPEARANCES 29th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, 2014 NAACP Image Awards Dinner & Pre-Party Ceremony, presenter at 2014 NAACP Image Awards
TELEVISION APPEARANCES The Rickey Smiley Show Dish Nation (Host) Steve Harvey's "Praise The Lord" Tyler Perry's "Meet The Browns" Ice Cube's "Are We There Yet" BET’s “Open Casket Sharp”
The Rev. Al Sharpton Show The Monique Show BET's Comic View Def Comedy Jam: All Stars Vol. 11 Airline (US TV series)
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson BET Comedy Awards Showtime at the Apollo HBO's Snaps
The Nashville Network Uptown Comedy Club Comic Escape
MOVIE APPEARANCES Friday After Next First Sunday Super Secret Movie Rules: Sports Underdogs All About the Benjamins (unaccredited) Stomp The Yard 2: Homecoming
COMEDY CD’S The Best of Rickey Smiley Vol. 1 Rickey Smiley: Prank Calls Vol. II Rickey Smiley: Prank Calls Vol. III Rickey Smiley: “Off The Hook” Vol. IV Rickey Smiley: Prank Calls Vol. V Rickey Smiley: Prank Calls Vol. VI Bernice Jenkins Church Announcements
2Joe Willie and The Deuteronomaires (gospel)
COMEDY DVD’S “Open Casket Sharp”


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