Erica Campbell is letting audiences know about pride, the ‘seven deadly sin’ that is the focus of Lifetime’s latest installment in the T.D. Jakes-produced TV film series.
Campbell is a Grammy award-winning gospel artist who has gained success as a singer, writer, producer, and host of nationally syndicated radio host. She began her career as one half of the duo Mary Mary alongside her sister, Tina Campbell. The group took the gospel world by storm and went on to sell millions of records, won numerous awards, and sold-out tours. She eventually branched out her own, with her debut album, Help. She stayed true to her gospel roots and Erica is now joining the world of made-for-television movies with her new role in the Lifetime original movie Pride: A Seven Deadly Sins Story.
It is a part of the anthology film series on Lifetime that started two years ago with the films Lust and Envy, followed by Wrath and Greed. The new film will air on April 8 and also stars Grammy award-winning singer, Stephanie Mills.
The film is about a reality star, played by Mills, whose perfect world starts to fall apart when family secrets come to light. Although pride has helped her success, it might cause her downfall.
It is produced by Shaun Robinson, Jakes, and Derrick Williams. Recently, the star chatted with Shadow and Act about her new role. She also discussed the future for Mary Mary and her plans to do more acting.
Congratulations on being a part of the new Seven Deadly Sins movie. I've seen a few of them that have already aired on Lifetime. And we spoke with Bishop T.D. Jakes about the entire film series a few weeks ago. So for you specifically in this edition of the film, what attracted you to this project?
The subject of addressing pride in today’s time is so necessary. And to see a family like this one in the film deal with what they deal with, I think a lot of people will see reflections of themselves, and when I got that call, I was like, ‘Absolutely, I’m in.’ I was just happy to play this character, Pastor Tracy.
Now, obviously, I'm sure you are already familiar with Bishop Jakes. I'm sure you've worked with him a thousand times before and already connected within the gospel music community. But how was it working with him in this capacity?
I didn’t actually work with him [directly on this project]. I got a call and went to Vancouver to film, and I was there with Derrick Williams, the executive producer, and the director, and Stephanie and Thomas Miles and Kiya King, just a great bunch of people. I came in, and everything was just it was like warm and inviting, but it was almost like they were the characters, even not on screen. So you could feel the connectivity and commitment to the story and what they were trying to convey. So it was just absolutely awesome.
But yes, I have worked with Bishop Jakes many, many times. He’s such a great example of how you can do many things and how your pulpit is not just a church. You know, this film will preach a little bit about the festivals that they preach a little bit and tell you about the possibilities in life, what you can overcome, what you can be, what you can do, what you can achieve. So I’m always honored to be a part of what he does.
You mentioned the specific theme this time around is pride. What are you hoping that viewers take away from that theme in the movie and other things that are shown throughout the film?
I hope they see what the fall looks like after pride, because the scripture says, “Pride comes before the fall.” When it all falls apart, sometimes that’s when you become introspective. How did I get here? What happened? If you’re if you want to grow, if you’re a person that wants to grow, you go, How did I get here? What did what step did I miss? Who did I leave out? Who did I ignore? Who did I step on and step over to get where I am? And when you’re honest, sometimes there is redemption. And you know how our world is just so quick to cancel people. Sometimes there isn’t redemption.
How has pride shown up in your life and career, or how did you feel as if you were able to resonate with your specific character? What similarities do you feel you guys had?
I don’t consider myself a private person at all. I’m confident and very grateful for everything that I have. So in that respect, I’m not at all in my character as a pastor who’s coming in, you know, kind of near the end when it’s all hit the fan to just kind of help them sort through it. But I’ve been in that place many times, you know, whether it is in music, in church, you know, talking to people or on the radio, talking to them after, it’s kind of all jacked up and kind of sorting and navigating. So I’ve seen it play out in many lives, and I know that there is redemption after it if you recognize it. But some people own it. I mean, they own the pride. So this is who I am. You can’t tell me, you know, that thing is dangerous. And we’ve seen it. We’ve seen it destroy people’s lives in entertainment and in church, and in media. So I’m hoping people recognize it and know there’s a big difference between confidence and pride.
Are you seeing more acting in your future?
Yes, I’m actually in Atlanta now filming Kingdom Business, which is really cool.
I was just about to ask you, were you attached to season 2 of that project?
Well, my husband’s one of the music-producing supervisors, and so I saw him go through the process in season 1. And when they gave me the call, it was an easy yes for me. But yeah, [more] is definitely in my future.
Fans are always hoping for a new Mary, Mary, Mary project. Despite you guys’ successful solo endeavors, are there any plans for another album?
Absolutely. It’s coming. It’s coming, coming, coming. Well, my album’s coming first, but on Easter Sunday, this Easter in D.C., we’ll have my block at the Kennedy Center. So it will be Mary Mary, The Walls Group, and everyone on My Block. You’ll get a little solo Erica Campbell and Tina, but mostly Mary Mary. So we still do things together. We did the Super Bowl and had Verzuz and stuff like that. It’s my sisters, my family.
You come from a huge family. And as I mentioned, you were part you're part of forever the duo. The duo with your sister. What have you learned about yourself and about what you're capable of since stepping into your own solo stardom?
How do I say this without sounding arrogant? That I’m pretty awesome, that I’m something special. Whether I’m standing next to my sister or by myself, owning who I am 1000% and not being afraid to do anything, knowing that I’m assigned to this earth to bless it with my gifts and talents. So even though I know that everybody will not be on board, everybody won’t cosign, you know, there is somebody to who I’m assigned to. So I have to sing. I have to do things, I have to be all that I am. So whether that is actress, radio host, author of a book, you know, a festival, a conference, the First Lady I can, I can do all those things. I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. So yes, in some ways, I feel like I am a superhero.
And you guys also dabbled in reality television with your show on WE tv. Why did you guys decide to end it? And would you return to the reality television space?
Well, I think six seasons is more than a dabble [laughs] We did six seasons, and it was just time to stop. The nature of reality show, if it’s too happy, then watching people like train wrecks. They do. And even when I did We’re the Campbells with my family, unfortunately, even though we were on an African American network, happy stories are not the ones that get told. The news gets told when it’s bad. Good news doesn’t necessarily make the news. When they say when they stick together, that doesn’t make the news. You know, when the child graduates and does well and the family is happy, that doesn’t make the news, unfortunately. So I have to find my way, my special way of telling my story of people saying that.
We enjoyed watching you on the 'Mary Mary' show, and 'We’re the Campbells,' and we definitely love seeing your family life because it was a positive representation. And I sometimes think that you when you have an idea of what gospel artists are like. You guys really broke down some of those stereotypes because you were very relatable, and you still were very into your faith and your ministry, but it wasn't like you were too distant from us. And we love seeing your family dynamic with your children and husband. How are the kids doing, and what are they into in days?
Krista’s great. She’s in her first year at Spelman, so we’re excited about that. She’s in the Glee club, and she went to Rome with the choir, and she just did some public service stuff helping folks yesterday. So super proud of her. My son is in the Youth Orchestra of LA. He just had a performance about a week ago. And my daughter Zia is a dancer, and praise dancer, and she’s going to the McDonald’s Gospel Fest in New York to compete for the prize. And I’m so proud of my children.