If you would have told me 17 years ago that I would have the honor and opportunity to sit down with THE Fantasia Barrino, I would have laughed in your face. I had done my due diligence to cast every vote I had for Fantasia to win Season 3 of American Idol. She won, so I won, ya know? Representation mattered, then and now. It just normally doesn’t come knocking on your front door.
Being able to sit down and have a conversation with the ever-evolving and illustrious Fantasia was that knock on the door. The kind where you say, “Come on in! Come sit, get comfortable!” MB Mag Fam, this was a surreal, full circle moment. A moment that was further amplified and strengthened when her husband, Kendall — who has survived being shot and overcame the underworld — introduced himself as the “epitome of all Black men.” Whoa… what an opening statement, right?! Allow me to further reveal MB Mag’s Taylor Talk with Kendall and Fantasia Taylor.
First things first… YES! Fantasia’s bubbly, warm personality is genuine. When she entered the room for our conversation, she immediately acknowledged everyone who was present with her million wattage smile and a kind word that went below the surface of a casual hello. One would argue that it’s just her Southern upbringing that accounts for her hospitality. I would counter back and say, “Nah, it’s her sincere love for God and His people.” Tasia has the purest of souls. No airs. No fronts. She prioritizes God first, then her husband, family, and friends, so when she gives of herself, it’s from the overflow of her obedience to that mission.
In a similar way, Kendall’s confident swagger and infectious smile reveal just a fragment of his deep love for his Queen and for God, as he, too, greets the room with sincerity and car — his smile kickin’ up in its own wattage when Tasia gets near enough for him to grab her close and palm the life in her belly they created.
These two are collectively a powerhouse, and equally powerful in their own right. Their presence is authentically genuine and welcoming. They both freely share parts of their testimonies that led them to meet one another — an encounter that propelled them to get married three weeks later. I’m going to give you the short and sweet version of their stories, but it would behoove you to watch and/or listen to the entire interview on the MB Magazine YouTube channel. They have too much gold to share in this writing, so it’s a must see. Also be on the lookout for their upcoming book they are writing together — an amazing collaboration you won’t want to miss. But for now, for this publication, enjoy the conversation…
Fantasia begins by introducing herself as “Tasia, the wife of Kendall Taylor.” She briefly starts sharing her story, but just as quickly gives Kendall the “mic.” Y’all didn’t forget his opening statement, did ya? He told us that he was the epitome of all Black men. A unique, core group of Black men. Which he further explains by sharing that he had been “caught up in the underworld.” This is different from “the streets,” he says, and credits God’s grace for how and why he made it through alive. Kendall has maintained the disciplines and lessons he learned in the streets, he shares, but only to strengthen his “million dollar mindset.” That mindset, he says, allowed him to find success above ground.
Tasia, “a good girl who never went to jail” she jokingly mentions, points out that this is what makes them special as a couple. Their stories are different, yet a lot alike. Their “real talk,” she shares, wasn’t something either of them ran away from. Their realness with one another was relatable. In fact, it perhaps laid the foundation for their vastly popular show, Taylor Talks, which airs live on Tuesday nights, 8 p.m. EST, on Instagram and Facebook.
Fantasia has always known that she was set apart, she explains with a smile. She grew up in the church, knowing God was real. She shares how she remembers certain times when she chose to hang out with people that were smoking and drinking, but then God’s hand would pull her back to Him before she could go too far. Then, when she made it to Hollywood for American Idol, her eyes were opened a bit, she admits, causing her to realize, even then, that God had truly given her a gift, that she didn’t have to do or be like anyone else to “make it.”
Now listen, what Fantasia shares next is something that I’m sure we have all been guilty of at times: she acknowledges that she tried to run from her calling. Yet thankfully, God’s hand never let her get too far.
In contrast, Kendall’s testimony is not only deeply honest but heart-wrenchingly compelling. His “come-to-God moment” manifested as an epiphany while he was incarcerated, he discloses. Kendall shares that he grew up without a father and that he made some incredibly wrong decisions — ones that landed him in jail. He now shares his testimony with the sole purpose of drawing in as many men as possible who do not have an example or role-model to relate to in their lives… men who may not relate to powerful preachers and powerful speakers but rather to someone they know. Kendall’s whole position and posture is to bring the male perspective that’s tangible and relatable to real-life situations that so many men are going through.
Y’all, I guarantee that I’m not doing their story any justice… please listen to both of their hearts via their own words on their popular Taylor Talks show; this live show is authentically built from their platform as a young, Black couple that got up out of the mud. They share with us that Kendall doesn’t have a diploma and that Fantasia went back for hers — just one part of their story that reveals God’s redemptive power, protection, and faithfulness. What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good.
MB Mag Fam, my conversation with the Taylors was so rich. We talked about perspective, submission, loving one’s self, and insecurity. Y’all, there’s even an Exclusive! We really want you to hear their interview through their voice, however, so I will share some highlighted bullet points that speak to their story. Y’all ready? Here we go! 😉
This moment is one of those that the Taylors keep completely 💯. They share how one time they went days without speaking because of a misunderstanding borne from a misalignment of perspectives. To illustrate, Kendall looks around the room and quickly counts the people. He does this to point out that each person has a different viewpoint, even though we’re all in the same room. Our viewpoint is why our perspective is different. It doesn’t make our perspective wrong, he stresses. We each just have a different view of the room. And sadly, we then get hung up on who’s right or wrong.
Did y’all catch Fantasia on The Breakfast Club? Well, in case you missed it, Fantasia used the word submission, which caused people to get up in arms. But, she explains, the heart of the matter behind it was missed, which is that she and Kendall do this thing [marriage] together. Tasia met a man who stays in his Word, who fully submits [to God]. She met someone with whom she could move in tandem. That’s what it means to submit. Tasia’s heart is to show young women that you can still be cool, still be fly, have fun, and love God — all at the same time.
LOVING ONE’S SELF
Tasia was doing After Midnight, a Broadway play in New York, for seven months. During those months, she not only fasted, but put a ring on her own finger. Yes, “she married herself,” she states with a smile. This represented that she was choosing to love herself first. No longer would she jump in and out of relationships, loving others better than she was loving herself. She realized she needed to break away from the patterns of a generational curse, she explains. During her fast, she was specific in her prayers as to the kind of man she was looking for. When her fast was over and she met Ken, as she affectionately calls him, it was almost too good to be true. “Minus the bald head,” she laughs, he was everything she needed.
Kendall answers a question about dealing with the magnitude of his wife’s celebrity and success. “There are a lot of successful women who are looking for the simplicity of love,” he begins, then continues to speak intentionally to our male audience: “I absolutely experienced insecurity, but it wasn’t about money. I didn’t know where I fit in. I come from corporate — her life was abstract. I didn’t know where I fit in… how to lead… to add value. We can’t as men dumb it down to fit our sense of normalcy. Every powerful woman needs love in its most simplistic form.” Y’all, the way Kendall delivered his answer was so colorfully eloquent and spellbindingly articulate. I was emotionally undone, ya hear me?! UNDONE! Please go listen to his answer in its entirety — and hear the earnest sincerity of his words in his own voice.
I won’t keep you in suspense about Fantasia. If you thought this wife, this mom, this show host, this author was not singing anymore… you’ve got another thing coming. I am so honored to be the one to let our MB Mag Fam know first that FANTASIA WILL BE RELEASING NEW MUSIC!!! and Y’ALL… IT’S GOING TO BE A WORSHIP ALBUM!!!!
*insert here all the crying and slain in the spirit memes*
I know we could end this article right there, but bear with me as I share one more thing. I wanted to bring to your attention the phrase #SpiritandTruth. I share this because that’s exactly the sentiment that expresses the heartbeat of our Taylor Talk. It was a God-nod, an answer to prayer, if you will. I asked God to allow me, the interviewer, to encounter those whose hearts and souls were unapologetically living in #SpiritandTruth. Y’all, my spirit was actin’ a fool on the inside during our talk [haha] because that’s exactly what happened. Kendall and Tasia transparently shared their stories and their faith with us. As a result of their realness, I know many of you were blessed. Personally speaking, I know I was!
MB Mag Fam, I mention all this to you as an encouragement. Your specific story isn’t too messy or foregone for God to shine in and through it. Your unique voice will minister directly to the hearts connected to your obedience as you walk out your predestined purpose.
Tasia shared during our talk that she loves the book of Job. Many of you will read this feature and immediately know why that tidbit brings a smile to my face. You’re probably already shouting it out: “Chapter 42!!” You wouldn’t be wrong, [haha] but first, let me bring the rest of the MB Mag Fam in.
I, too, love the book of Job. I may or may not be known for expressing that by referencing Chapter 42 at some point during a conversation. That particular chapter embodies one of my favorite names of God. That name is Jehovah Gmolah. It means the God of Recompense. Now I know y’all ain’t got time for a whole sermon, so I’ll just leave you with the definition of recompense. Then you can deduce why this name of God slaps! It means:
- 1a : to give something to by way of compensation (as for a service rendered or damage incurred)
- b : to pay for
- 2 : to return in kind
Okay, Fam, now that you know that, please go read the book of Job. From beginning to end. I’ll wait… 😉
Okay, you back? Y’all see it now, ehh?!! Do you see how Jehovah Gmolah showed out in Chapter 42??!!! I promise y’all that we each have Chapter 42 moments in our life that are important for us to bear witness to one another about. His Word says that we,
“…overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony” .Revelation 12:11
MB Mag Fam, do you see my point yet? Hearing the Taylors’ individual and collective testimonies was a Chapter 42 moment. Their story is the evidence of what happens when Jehovah Gmolah comes on the scene!! The realization of this leaves me humbly awe-inspired and more inclined to fully live in #SpiritandTruth.