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David & Tamela Mann Get Candid On “Us Against the World” Book, Album and Tour

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David and Tamela Mann is known as a dynamic husband and wife team that have become household names across television, movie screens, on stage and radio. They’re known for bringing good old fashion family values, laughter and music to whatever they do.

David & Tamela recently sat down for an interview with Prestige Editor-in-Chief and spoke candidly about their album Us Against the World: The Love Project that will be released on Friday November 9th, their book Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage and Family that will be released on Tuesday November 13th, their tour Us Against the World Mann Family Tour and the premiere of their movie Merry Wish Mas that will premiere on TV One on Sunday December 2nd.

Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage and Family

In the book, David talks about always being “transparent” about their relationship and family with their fans. “In our book we’ll tell our whole story and share our secrets to a successful marriage,” David added. Tamela called their marriage a top priority and the couple’s greatest accomplishment. “We’re excited to share what we’ve learned doing life together as a couple and how to fully love your spouse,” Tamela shared. The couple shares with us their lessons on how to stay together through the ups and downs. And also provides couples with tips on how you and your soul mate can both build careers and still keep the family together and happy. Also in a quest to take fans on a 30-year journey, the Mann’s are “spilling some junk” on their relationship and how they’ve been able to persevere through it all. David gets candid and highlights the chapter, “The Knock At The Door,” where 5 years into their marriage he receives notice from the constable that he has a child. Now this child was conceived prior to their marriage, but David admits that it “almost broke [them] apart and that’s where the title, ‘Us Against The World’ came from.”

Read below Part 1 of Prestige interview with David & Tamela Mann

David: When talking about Us Against the World tour. We wanted to have something that we could actually and physically go out and be a ministry to, for us, and our marriage ministry, but we wanted to do it where it wasn’t just a concert, it wasn’t just a comedy show, and it wasn’t just a conference.

We wanted to do something that was an experience. So, we came up with the concept of having it all in one night. And so, we start the whole thing off with the whole family doing the title song.

Tamela: Us Against the World. And then my son kicks it off with a big like family reunion back yard party. He’s a DJ, so he gets it all crunk and all hyped up.

David: Do they still say, “Crunk”?

Tamela: Well, I’m old so it’s okay.

David: Okay, well, crunk. I think it’s lit now.

Tamela: Okay.

David: Crunk or lit.  (laughter)

Tamela: Then my daughter Tia comes out and she does a neo-soul vibe set.

David: And she does a tribute to the Queen, Aretha Franklin which is a really nice tribute.

Tamela: And then David comes out and he does comedy. And he talks about our 30 years of marriage, and he’s talking more on love.

David: Yeah, I do the whole comedy set and I give little teachable moments. Like, there’s one segment during my set I ask a couple, “Do you all love each other?” And of course they say, “Yeah, we love each other.” But, “Are you guys in love?” Because it’s possible to love somebody and not be in love. And you don’t realize I’m giving moments of teaching in love, and stuff like that, because I wrap it in comedy. Then after I’m done with my set then that’s when —

Tamela: I come out and I do the gospel portion of my upbeat songs and then we kind of take a roller coaster ride. We start out fast and we slow it down.

David: We start out jumping and then end up crying. I’m like, “How did this happen?”

Tamela: And then we also incorporate a love set which are songs from our new project, Us Against the World: The Love Project, where me and David have a collaboration album that we’ve done together.

David: Now, we start the love set off with some of our friends and family to give us what their definition of love is, and so we video that to introduce the love set, and we give you the definition of what love is, what the biblical definition of love is, and they’re practical. And then Tam and I, for the first time, we sing together. 

Tamela: Finally, I got David in the studio and on the stage to sing with me which he’s been running from for quite a few years.

David: I haven’t been running. I’ve just been quite honestly intimidated about singing with Tamela Mann, that’s what it is.

Tamela: No need for intimidation.

David: Yeah, I was intimidated.

Tamela: And then we go from that and then I finish it off with —

David: The end of the worship set is what we call it. Oh, and let me back up, while we’re doing the love set we kind of do this re-dedication with couples and we do a prayer, we pray for marriages and families.

Tamela: And being unified in the unit and unity of marriage. So, we end with a prayer.

David: And then Tamela Mann takes us to straight worship again. And when I tell you it’s an experience, it’s a roller coaster ride, it’s just a little bit of everything. So, we call it the experience. And so, you know, once everybody gets the experience, we all come back out and just thank everybody for coming out. So, that’s the, Us Against the World tour. 

Now, the book is, Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage, and Family. And so, what we do in the book is we take everybody on a journey, a journey of 30 years with the Mann’s. So, we kind of take you on our ups, and we take you on our downs, and there’s something in the book, even while we were writing the book we had to go back and revisit some things, issues, problems, situations that we thought we had already resolved.

Tamela: That we had dealt with in our marriage. So, I’d say there’s a few skeletons that we talk about and be transparent about. Our goal is to encourage families, and give them that hope and inspiration that they can stay together and not give up on each other.

David: There’s a few nuggets in there that you haven’t heard from the Mann’s. In the book we also share some prayers for different situations. We talk about love, we talk about finances, we talk about keeping the fire in your marriage. We talk about simple things like just sitting down and having a good laugh with each other —

Tamela: And staying committed to each other and not just tolerating each other, but loving each other through every up and down that you have, which you will have, in your relationship.

David: We also definitely deal with some of the tougher issues that come up in our life like we have one where we talk about the art of arguing where we share our biggest argument that we’ve had in the book which started out real rough and rugged, but it ended up being funny becauseyou have to read the book because it didn’t quite go according to plan for me in my anger.

Tamela: In the book we also talk about our blended family, how we’re a super-blended family and how we came together as one family unit.

David: Yes and about revisiting the vows. A lot of couples may not understand what they’re fully getting into when they’re talking about revisiting and renewing their vows, or even saying their vows. So, we go back and talk about revisiting and renewing our own vows. 

Tamela: And we talk about the knock at the door, which was kind of a hard place in our marriage.

David: To put it mildly.

Tamela: It was five years into the marriage and we had the knock at the door and surprise!

David: I have another child by another woman that happened before our marriage, but that just to kind of give you a backstory on it without giving it all away. That’s where the, Us Against the World title and saying came from, and that was from that knock at the door in the book. It was the knock at the door and Tam was kind of like, “I’m not going to be able to do this.”

Tamela: Because we’re blended, we already hadhe had one child when we started out as a couple and I didn’t know if I was going to beI didn’t really know where I would fit in. I felt like I was going to be kind of lost in the shuffle of things. It’s like, “Well, where do I fit in here? Am I going to be like — ”

David: First, second, third, fifth?

Tamela: Or below, since we had a new child coming and then having to deal with the other baby mama drama. So, he explained to me that it was us against the world, and he really made it plain to me.

David: Once I sat her down and explained to her, “Look, I love my kids.” All of that, I’m a stand-up guy, I’m going to make sure I take care of my kids, but at the end of the day you are my first priority. It’s us against everything else. It’s us against the world. It’s us against anything that will come against us to try and tear us apart, and that’s what the whole, Us Against the World title came from. And even when we’re out on the road we say, “Us Against the World,” we’re not necessarily talking about the Mann’s against the world. We’re talking about the body of Christ.

Tamela: We’re the people as a family unit.

David: Right. And just representing us against anything that’s going to come and tear at the family structure, tear at our marriage, and anything that would come and try to destroy that, we’re against that. So, it’s not like, “It’s us fighting against everybody.”

Tamela: No.

David: It’s —

Tamela: All of us.

David: Yes all of us.

Tamela: The “U” in “Us” means you as the family, all of us. And that all filters and lead into the actual album because it’s based off of the stories that we have in the book. That’s where the love CD comes from. Us Against the World: The Love Project. So, that all fits into it, and also into why David is singing some songs to me, and I’m singing some songs to him, and we’re also singing songs together.

David: It’s our first project that we’re totally doing a whole album together.

Tamela: It’s our love music.

David: It’s straight love music. And part of the — I don’t want to say problem that we’ve had in the music industry is because Tam is such a gospelknown for her strong gospel roots.

People kind of are looking at it like, “Is she trying to cross over? Is she trying to go R&B?” That wasn’t the goal. The goal was to encourage marriages.

Tamela: And to just sing about love. You know, something from us, to us, for us, and to just actually show another side that, for one, that I’m in love with my husband, that I like my husband, and I like being with him, and I feel very secure in my marriage and the love that I have for him, and I wanted to share that in song.

David: So, what we did was took the book and we sat down with some producers and my son put together a team. David Jr. is the brainchild behind the whole album. He pulled together some producers and writers. And the reason I was so afraid at first is because it’s been so long since I’ve been in the studio. And so, I guess it’s a bit of being insecure about singing, and then singing with Tam, and so once they got the song and tailor-made them just for me, and for my voice.

Tamela: And they did. If you haven’t heard the album music yet, he’s done a wonderful job, and hopefully everyone gets a copy of it so you can actually get to hear my Christian Babyface.

David: There’s some baby-making love music. But we wanted to do genuine love music. So, we wanted to do a soundtrack from the book, and once they put the songs together, and we got to doing it, and it was like, “Where do we put this?”

Tamela: I think it’s an amazing body of work that we’ve put together and I really hope that everyone enjoys it like we enjoyed writing and listening to it. Even my grand kids, they really inspired us because they’re really enjoying it as well.

David: And some of the titles like, Mason Jar, we was able to explain to them how Mason Jar came about.

Tamela: Mason Jar is a song, it’s talking about me as young girl, teenager, how most of my friends experienced love early, and boyfriends, and everything, and I never had that, but I finally found love that I can preserve like you do preserves in a mason jar, that I could package up and put in the jar and hold dear to my heart. So, that’s what Mason Jar is about, finally finding love that I can cherish forever.

David: And then I’m doing a song on the album called Still Do. And it’s just where I’m re-dedicating my love, my vows, to Tam. It’s kind of me saying, “Look, I would do this all over again.” And so, there’s songs like that on there. There’s songs like, Feels Like. That’s your song.

Tamela: Feels Like is a song that I’m singing to David when he touches me he makes me feel like a special girl, or special woman. I mean, it’s just a wonderful thing and it gets more in-depth as you go in the song, but he makes me feel like I’m on top of the world.

David: Yup. And then there’s songs that speak about making up. One of the songs is called, Making Up and a couple of the lyrics are, “Every time we fight it feels like the end, butterflies in my stomach, and I just don’t think we’re going to come back from this.”

Tamela: And then there’s another song that’s entitled Signs.

David: Aw, yeah.

Tamela: Which talks about when you want to be with your mate.

David: In an intimate way.

Tamela: You just kind of know what’s going on.

David: You know the signs that you give.

Tamela: It’s like a special touch, or special feeling, that they give us that makes us feel like we’re number one all the time for us to commune together.

David: Or worship in a very spiritual way, hallelujah. You know, Us Against the World we call it, it’s a movement for us. It’s something that we just want everybody to join in becauseour president — well, yeah. He’s talking about making America great again. Let’s make America great again, that cannot begin to happen until we get the foundation, the base, and that’s family. Husbands and wives unified, families unified.

Tamela: Let’s make marriage great again. Let’s make family great again as well.

David: And that’s when we’ll start to see America become great when we’re starting in the house, starting at home. Then it will start to infect and affect everything else around us.

When it comes to their album entitled Us Against the World: The Love Project. They’re set to drop a soulful 10-song musical collaboration about resilient and enduring love. Listening to the album, you can feel the vocal chemistry that they share.

“The whole album is an inside look at our love story and the journey we’ve been on together,” added Tamela. “So, recording this project has been really special for both of us.”

Produced by David, Tamela and their son David Mann, Jr., Us Against the World: The Love Project is a candidly honest album chronicling defining moments in David and Tamela’s relationship.

The title track “Us Against the World” features the duo’s fine vocal blend layered on top of funky, soulful grooves. On “Mason Jar” Tamela’s tender vocals pay tribute to her grandmother, mother and love of her life, David.

The two recreate an epic revelation from early on in their marriage that could have undone them on the heart-wrenching yet resolutely hopeful track “I Love You O.”

The album reconstructs other ‘big reveals’ in the couple’s relationship, leading to “Signs,” the ultimate love letter to each other.

The first single off the album is “Good Love,” a timeless romantic duet in the vein of one of the Motown classics featuring David and Tamela’s soulfully smooth harmonies.

The couple is currently on tour and tells us that couples have come forth stating their stories are helping them to “heal [their] marriage[s].” Known for their musical talents, the Mann’s couldn’t be more excited to release their forthcoming album, “Us Against The World: The Love Project,” an audio compilation that also a compliment to their new book.

Tracklist of Us Against The World: The Love Project

  1. Us Against The World (David & Tamela)
  2. Mason Jar (Tamela)
  3. I Love You O (David)
  4. Still Do (David)
  5. Good Love (David & Tamela)
  6. You (David & Tamela)
  7. Feels Like (Tamela)
  8. Ups and Downs (David & Tamela)
  9. Making Up (David & Tamela)
  10. Signs (David & Tamela)

“Good Love” video by David and Tamela Mann below:


Stay tuned for Part II of Prestige Interview with David & Tamela Mann in the December issue of Prestige.

Stay up to date on the latest with David & Tamela

Website: www.tillymannmusic.com
Instagram: @DavidandTamela
Facebook: www.facebook.com/davidtamelamann
Twitter: @DavidandTamela

Book Pre-order

Preorder/Listen to Album Link

Tour Ticket Purchase Link

Us Against The World Mann Family Tour: October 11th- November 11th

Us Against The World” Album Release Date: November 9th

Us Against The World” Book Release Date: November 13th

Merry Wish Mas” Premiere Date (TV One): December 2nd

 

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VA may owe veterans millions in refunds on home loans fees

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More than 50,000 disabled veterans could be owed as much as $190 million in refunds from the Department of Veterans Affairs for home loan fees they were wrongly charged or no longer owe, an investigation has found.

Senior leaders knew about the problem for years but didn’t ensure veterans received what they are due, the investigation by the VA inspector general found. 

Veterans pay the fees when they buy homes with the help of VA’s Home Loan Guaranty Program, but they are supposed to be exempt if they are disabled. Fees can total up to 3.3% of a home’s value. 

But the VA didn’t do that in thousands of cases dating back more than a decade because the veterans didn’t ask for the refunds.

VA loan managers, who knew about outstanding debts to veterans since at least 2014, told investigators that they had been focused on other priorities, including processing high volumes of applications.

Investigators from the inspector general’s office said in their report released Thursday that they found it “troubling” that the managers were “aware that thousands of veterans were potentially owed more than $150 million yet did not take adequate actions to ensure refunds were issued.”

“It is the review team’s opinion that requiring a veteran to submit a claim for a refund improperly places the burden and responsibility solely upon the veteran,” investigators said.

The VA issued a press release last month – as the inspector general was preparing to release the investigation results – announcing that the agency is now notifying veterans when they buy homes under the program that they are exempt from the fees if they are disabled or later determined to be disabled.

“Through an internal quality improvement effort, VA has put a plan in place to better inform veterans through key communications when the law allows VA to waive the fee for a veteran,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in the release.

The release did not say what is being done to ensure veterans due refunds from loans in prior years are paid. The inspector general found the amounts owed in its review ranged from $5,000 to $20,000.

The VA said veterans who believe they are owed a refund should consult the agency’s website for more information about VA home loan funding fees.

Between 2012 and 2017, the VA collected roughly $10 billion in fees from veterans under the loan program.

The inspector general estimated disabled veterans who were wrongly charged accounted for $286 million of those fees. But the VA only refunded about $100 million, leaving an estimated $190 million that may still be due to 53,200 veterans.   

The Loan Guaranty program was established in 1944 to help veterans finance home purchases. Loans are provided by private lenders, but the VA guarantees a portion of the loans for eligible buyers. The lenders collect the fees and transmit them to the VA.

If a veteran wrongly paid the fees, the VA can refund the money directly to the veteran. If the fees were included as part of a loan, the VA pays the lender, which applies it to the loan balance.

In 2014, regional VA loan officials in St. Paul, Minnesota, notified senior VA managers that an analysis found nearly $150 million may be due in refunds to disabled veterans for fees on 48,000 loans issued between 2006 and 2014.

“As of January 2019, the review team received no indication that a large-scale effort had been initiated to issue refunds to these veterans,” the inspector general said.   

The director of the Loan Guaranty program since 2017, Jeffrey London, told investigators he “considered contracting out the task of issuing refunds, but never requested the award of a contract because other priorities…took precedence,” the investigators wrote.

The inspector general recommended the agency identify and pay all the veterans owed refunds. In addition, the VA should implement procedures to minimize the number of veterans who are wrongly charged fees and conduct periodic reviews to ensure those who are receive prompt refunds.

The VA told investigators some of the fees were incorrectly assessed by lenders, not the VA. But agency officials said in their response to the report that they “generally agreed” with the investigation’s findings and are consulting lawyers about complexities related to issuing refunds.

The agency “has drafted a plan with contingencies ready for implementation depending on the (legal) opinion,” the VA response said. The agency did not elaborate on what the plan is or when refunds will be issued.  

 

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Former State Senator Reportedly Found Shot to Death at Her Home

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A former Arkansas state senator was reportedly found dead at her home this week, and authorities are investigating her death as a homicide.

The body of a woman was discovered Tuesday night at Linda Collins-Smith’s residence in the city of Pocahontas, some 145 miles northeast of the state capital, Little Rock. The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office said its deputies responded to the scene and then asked the Arkansas State Police to be the lead investigative agency in what is currently being treated as a homicide investigation.

“The condition of the body prevented any immediate positive identification,” Randolph County Sheriff Kevin Bell said at a press conference Wednesday. “The body has been sent for an autopsy to determine the positive identification and cause of death.

Authorities wouldn’t say if Collins-Smith is the victim, and a judge has issued a gag order sealing the documents and statements obtained by police.

“Arkansas State Police has not, as of this hour, issued a statement that positively identifies a homicide victim in this case,” Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler told ABC News in an email early Thursday morning.

However, Collins-Smith’s former press secretary, Ken Yang, told Little Rock ABC affiliate KATV that she was found shot to death inside her home and her body was wrapped in some sort of blanket. Neighbors apparently reported hearing gunshots a day or two before her body was discovered.

Collins-Smith, who ran for reelection last year but was defeated in the Republican Party primary, was “someone who truly cared about Arkansas, truly cared about her district,” according to Yang. She was 57.

“It was shocking,” he said during an interview Tuesday night. “This was not just a political relationship. This was a close personal friendship that I had with Linda.”

Politicians on both sides of the aisle expressed shock and sadness at the news of the death of their Republican colleague.

“I’m both stunned and saddened by the death of former State Senator Linda Collins-Smith,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. “She was a good person who served in the public arena with passion and conviction. The First Lady and I extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends during this difficult time.”

“Today, we learned of the untimely death of former Senator Linda Collins Smith. She was a passionate voice for her people and a close member of our Republican family,” the Republican Party of Arkansas said in a statement on Tuesday evening. “We are praying for her loved ones during this difficult time.”

“To so many of us, Senator Linda Collins-Smith was more than just a colleague,” the Democratic Party of Arkansas said in a statement via Twitter on Tuesday night. “She was a friend and warm person. We are stunned and saddened to hear of her death. Please join us in prayer as we remember her family and her loved ones.”

Collins-Smith lost to James Sturch in the Republican Party primary for the 19th district in Arkansas in May 2018 by fewer than 600 votes. She previously served one term in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013, switching parties after being elected as a Democrat.

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Police arrest stepfather of 4-year-old girl he claims was kidnapped

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The stepfather of missing 4-year-old Maleah Davis was arrested and charged in connection to her disappearance, one week after he told Texas police that she was kidnapped by three men who assaulted and knocked him unconscious.

Derion Vence, 26, was arrested by the Houston Police Department at a relative’s home and charged with tampering with evidence, human corpse, in the disappearance of his stepdaughter on the night of May 4.

Although a police source told ABC News that the young girl was still missing, they would not say whether she was believed to be dead or alive.

Police said in a statement on Saturday that they had obtained blood evidence linked to Maleah from Vence’s apartment and that he was seen leaving his apartment with a full laundry basket, which was found Thursday along with a gas can in the trunk of the silver Nissan Altima that he reported missing following the kidnapping.

At a late night hearing, the district attorney said cadaver dogs reacted to scents in the trunk and the laundry basket.

Vence reported the abduction on May 5, nearly 24 hours after it occurred, claiming that he had been unconscious for much of that time, according to the statement.

He told police that he was driving with Maleah and his 2-year-old son on the night of May 4 to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in north Houston to pick up the girl’s mother, Brittany Bowens, who was returning from a trip to Massachusetts, police said.

He said that on the way there, he heard a popping noise coming from his car that made him believe he had a flat tire, so he pulled over to check on it. When he got out of the car, he said that a blue pickup truck pulled up behind him and two men got out, police said during a news conference on May 5.

He told police that one of the men commented on Maleah’s appearance as the other hit him in the head, knocking him out, police said.

Vence told police that he kept going in and out of consciousness, but at one point realized that he was in the back of the pickup truck where there were actually three men and that he also saw Maleah and his son in the truck, police said.

He said that he regained consciousness the next day with only his son in Sugar Land, nearly 22 miles southwest of central Houston, and walked to Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital where he received treatment and reported Maleah missing, police said.

Although he told police that his car was taken during the kidnapping, surveillance footage showed someone in the Nissan dropping Vence off at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital on May 5, police said.

Vence’s public defender asked for a $5,000 bond, while the district attorney proposed $500,000.

Instead, the judge ruled Vence be held on $1 million bond since the ongoing investigation “is likely to result in a significant upgrade to this second-degree felony.”

Houston police are asking anyone with information about the case, the whereabouts of Maleah Davis or the person who sold the gas can to Vence to contact the department’s Homicide Division at 713-308-3600.

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