Why Tamar Braxton Believes Reality TV Both Helped and Hurt Her Career and Image

When Tamar Braxton made her debut on Braxton Family Values in 2011, she instantly became a fan favorite. Fans watched as she fought to escape her sister Toni’s shadow and segway into her own successful solo career. While she says reality television has been a blessing, there’s also been a downside to the fame. 

Tamar Braxton on stage; Braxton says reality TV both helped and hurt her career
Tamar Braxton | Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Tamar Braxton on how reality TV helped her career

Braxton appeared on her family reality series for a decade. She also had two successful spinoffs, Tamar & Vince with her ex-husband Vincent Herbert – and Get Your Life. Without the shows, she says she wouldn’t have the career she’s had.

Source: YouTube

“I think in the beginning it helped tremendously because outside of the big face and the big voice of Toni Braxton it probably would have been impossible for any of her sisters to be recognized for their own talents and I know because it took me five record deals and a TV show for people to hear ‘Love & War,’” she revealed on the State of Black Music podcast.

Moreso, Braxton says her personality wasn’t considered marketable before reality television. “Everyone knew that I had this big voice but didn’t understand the personality behind it. And normally, well I guess back in the day, people equated big voices into a diva – like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton – and that’s just who I wasn’t personality-wise,” she explained. “I was a little ratchet. I liked to grab my knees and twerk and have fun with my friends and be loud and have shots and live my life out loud and that just wasn’t acceptable for people who had these big pop voices. In that aspect of people hearing and visualizing who was behind that voice, who actually had talent, was beneficial.” 

She says poor editing hurt her career

The singer has been open about her belief that after the first four seasons, the show took a dark turn and portrayed her in a negative light as combative and problematic. In that way, she says the shows hurt her image.

Source: YouTube

“What wasn’t beneficial was the stereotypes that we allowed to come in – in terms of Black reality television. And that turned into an angry Black woman, she can’t get along with others, always arguing and fighting and the throwing of the glasses – what we all accepted with Love & Hip Hop -which mirrored other networks into ‘This is what we want’ because they wanted those numbers as well,” she said.

Braxton quit the show for good in 2020 and was subsequently released from her contract with We TV. She’s since accused the network of overworking and underpaying her.

Now she says she’s returning to reality television

After her experience with her family’s show and spinoffs, Braxton vowed to never do reality television again. She’s since had a change of heart. Aside from producing her own shows and appearing on a few since then, she recently hinted that her family may return to the small-screen.

“How many of y’all miss ‘Braxton Family Values’? What if I told you ‘Braxton Family Values’ is coming back? Not on a foolish network I can tell you that,” she told an audience in Oct. 2021, per The Jasmine Brand. “The true depiction of a Black American family is not a bunch of foolishness. The other part of the truth is, I ain’t finna let the devil use me like that – for people’s entertainment purposes. It’s a no for me dawg. I’m not saying families don’t go through stuff ’cause we do. I’m not saying that we’re not ratchet ’cause we are. But only we can tell our story.”

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