We're overly-excited about the opportunity to spotlight Traci Braxton in this new issue of Urban Grand Digital with the new feature, Destiny Fullfilled. We're on the heels of the return of The Braxton's Family Values, and as huge as that is in itself, her story is so much bigger than that! It's a story of fulfillment indeed. We've watch for 4 years as her life has been put on public broadcast. We've seen the ups, the downs, and the in-between, as she has worked to define herself. She's worked to find her happiness, and in this moment, she's finally arriving at that place. One of her dreams has been to lead a successful recordings career, and with God's grace, she's finally achieved it. Her album, Crash & Burn, is her dream come true. She's also been able to use The Braxton's Family Values to build and strengthen her bin with her sisters, something that has been vital to her survival through the struggles.
In our exclusive feature, she opens up about the show, her album, and her triumphs. She talks about her newfound opportunities as Ambassador of the United Negro College Fund, as well as her chance to spread the word about Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, a disease that could have devastated get family, but has ultimately taught her so much and helped her family to grow and strengthen each other.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Thank you so much for your time today. I've always wanted to talk to you and get your thoughts on different things.
Traci Braxton: Thank you so much for having me.
Urban Grandstand Digital: There’s so much going on right now, with your album being out, and the return of The Braxton’s Family Values this week. It’s such a huge thing and it has o be overwhelming. How are you feeling in the midst of everything?
Traci Braxton: I am on cloud nine! The Braxton’s Family Values is still running, and everyone still wants to know what’s going on with our lives and what they can learn. Then there’s my album and me doing different things. i was named the Ambassador of United Negro College Fund. I’m very excited for that.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I think that’s amazing. You don’t hear much about stuff like that and the media doesn’t put a lot of focus on it, but obviously this is something people need to know. Education is obviously so important.
Traci Braxton: Yes. I’m so excited about that, and I’ve always worked with kids. I’m a senior counselor, and I have been for 15 years, I also worked at Oak Hill, which is a baby jail. I love working with kids.
Urban Grandstand Digital: There’s smooch behind education, and being able to go to school. I did a story with Angela Robinson, who has also done some things with UNCF. It’s really amazing, but what was it that made you want to do this?
Traci Braxton: Making sure education is the very beginning of knowledge and wisdom. My son, I’ve been waiting him to go to college. He’s a young entrepreneur and he has vision, but I teach him that he still has to go to school. I hope it gets through to him that he still needs educational background to know what he’s talking about, so that he can be politically correct when he speaks. Then he can tell people why he opened his business, and why he is passionate about his business. The same thing goes with kids too. Anything they want to do in life, they need to go to school. Try it and see if it’s for you. Get some kind of knowledge.
Urban Grandstand Digital: That’s been my thing. At least try it. There’s so many opportunities come because of being in school. Love the fact that you push this idea, and who cares what everyone else is doing in entertainment, school is still important.
Traci Braxton: I think everybody needs to go away to college. At least go for that one semester. You will understand, either you’re going to learn, or you’re a party person.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I like how you say go away. Almost like you’re saying get out of my house (laughing)
Traci Braxton: (laughing) Give the pad a break for a semester.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Truthfully though, this topic just adds to your ability to relate to so many people. Of all of the sisters, I feel like you have been one of the more relatable figures. It’s not to shed any negativity on anyone, but I believe it’s because from the beginning, you’ve been very transparent. We know your struggles, and wanting to pursue entertainment but not being able to because of children and family. There’s so many people;e we know of, who would pick the fame route, and who have done so. To each their own, but I think it’s cool that we’ve seen that transparency in your struggles, and you have proven that you are just like us, Traci. You’re just like us.
Traci Braxton: (laughing) I try to be. Thank you. I try to be, Lord Jesus. These people are trying it too.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Do you get that a lot when you talk to people, and meet fans? Do they tell you that you’re really transparent, and relatable?
Traci Braxton: I get some that, and I get some people who say just anything out of their mouths. I bite ‘em right back (laughing). It’s real strange and odd. I know don’t know. I’ve been working for such a long time. No I didn’t have the fame., Yes, I was with the sisters on “The Good Life”, the very beginning before Toni branched out. I was with the sisters again, matter of fact, I was on “The Braxton’s” with “Who's the Boss”. I did co-write two songs on that album. That lets you know I was the4re.
Urban Grandstand Digital: …and people need to know that.
Traci Braxton: Yes, and when I wasn’t able to sign with the sisters, OK, I stayed with my profession, working with kids. I’m excited that people can relate to me. That’s all I’ve been doing is working my entire life, after I chose my family. So, it was something of the norm. I was from that same foundation, having both parents in the house, both of my parents being ministers, and working with the public. I fell back to what I knew. It wasn’t always singing and entertaining. That was being a productive citizen, having a family, and being working class.
Urban Grandstand Digital: The one thing lot of people like about your family on television is obviously you’re doing reality, so there will be drama in some sense, but they compare you to their families. I can even do so. I’m one of two kids, so I don’t have many siblings, but the overall premise in your family was support, and being their for each other. Sticking together. There’s so much support in the background.
Traci Braxton: All families go through a lot of the same things. I’m glad we can touch people who deal with the same problems. OK, maybe I need to do it this way, or maybe I need to talk to my sister. Maybe I need to mend this relationship with my sisters or my siblings, or my parents. You only get one family and you don’t choose them.
Urban Grandstand Digital: But how difficult is it to truly mend fences, you know, when things hit that level. Obviously, we’re all watching the show, and we see the things that happen and how it heats up. Surely we’ve seen this season’s trailer, and I’m like “oh my god”.
Traci Braxton: (laughing)
Urban Grandstand Digital: (laughing) How do you come back from that? Is that difficult?
Traci Braxton: It can be very difficult because we all are head strong women. We got it from our momma (laughing), and sometimes, our opinions can get join the way of the healing and us being respectable to one another. During taping and things like that, we come to our senses, or we have someone to put us in our places. For us to get back together and mend the relationship after we argue, it makes our bond even closer. I’m glad we get back together, and say I apologize, I can’t believe I did that to you. Let’s start off new. Everybody knows our communication skills suck. We probably be mad for 5 episodes.
Urban Grandstand Digital: But that goes back to the reliability. I feel like I made that word up (laughing). But it goes back to people being able to relate to you and you being transparent enough for them to see themselves in you. Communication is a big issue with everyone. Nobody communicates well, but you’re there for each other no matter what. You show that you can rise above it all. Even with your mom, the thing that connected your mom and my mom was when she told Tamar she was going to slap the piss out of her (laughing).
Traci Braxton: Yes honey, she used to say that to us all the time. I was just like, I don’t want to wear no depends and smell pissy all day (laughing). Who wants to do that (laughing)
Urban Grandstand Digital: I was floored. That can be my mother all day long.
Traci Braxton: So you have an Evelyn, too.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Yea, but moving away from the show, you’ve been able to parlay this into a music career. You were able to show that yes, you can do this too, and you’re able to put an album out there; a GOOD album, and so well with it. I listen to “Stay Sippin” with you and Raheem DeVaughn, and I’m just like this girl can hang with the best and the rest! What is that like for you with your OWN album out there now? Your OWN baby!
Traci Braxton: Ahh, it feels wonderful. I’m still on cloud nine. They still have me in the studio and I’m working on the second album. So, just to show my vocals. I don’t have to be all lavish or wear tennis shows. Sometimes i don’t have to wear tennis shoes all the time (I’m talking about doing a lot of runs on the track). Having a good R&B album and sticking to what you know. I’m not a spring chicken anymore.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Well you look like one….
Traci Braxton: Thank you, but this woman is grown honey, and been drinking milk (laughing). It’s wonderful. I can finally say I don’t have a should have, could have, would have. I can check that off my bucket list. I’ve fulfilled my dream. I have Tank to thank, and my brother. The next single will be his song, “Perfect Timing”.
Urban Grandstand Digital: That’s so awesome, because he’s truly amazing. He’s done so much work, even in the past for people like Aaliyah. People don’t get the feel of his depth and all that he does. It has to sit high in your heart to work with him.
Traci Braxton: Right, and he worked with Toni also. I’m like wow! People I did not think I would work with so early in my music career, I’m like wow! He has that much faith in me and the fact that I can deliver.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Will there be a video treatment?
Traci Braxton: I hope so. The record label is so tricky. They’ll say they’re going to dose things and then don’t do it. I didn’t even realize that would be the next single. I was trying to do “Holding On”.
Urban Grandstand Digital: It’s almost like that middle child syndrome where there’s not a large amount of push put into it. You end up doing a lot yourself. I always say it’s better to be independent because although it’s a to of work, the reward comes stronger. It’s bothersome that it’s been out there, but a lot of people still don’t know.
Traci Braxton: No, they don’t…
Urban Grandstand Digital: I think it’s unacceptable in a sense because of the amount of celebrity you have. There’s no reason for people to not know.
Traci Braxton: Yes, the industry is so crazy. I have to say this: the younger generation doesn’t know enough about R&B music. It’s dead to them. When they get older, they not going to always pop their booty and do the nay-nay everyday. I do the nay-nay sometimes (laughing) but I’m just saying. They don’t know about Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Melba Moore, Chanté Moore, and Tina Turner. They don’t know the foundation. They only know jump off music. That doesn’t last though.
Urban Grandstand Digital: But you’re teaching people that. You’re showing what it is to have a good quality album.
Traci Braxton: Yes! think about it. Normally, someone has a banging CD and people sleep on it. Then after 5 years, boom! It happens that way sometimes.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Well I love Crash & Burn, I hope more people really learn about this because the songster great. We mentioned "Stay Sippin", and “Perfect Timing”, “Last Call” was awesome. The song “Reasons”, it really reminds me of the Tony Rich Project
Traci Braxton: Yes!
Urban Grandstand Digital: It reminds me of “Nobody Knows it But Me”. It’s colt have those references back to music that was out there and what we were able to enjoy, and now we relive it.
Traci Braxton: I have to say this though! My brother wrote therefor Toni 15 years ago, and it never made it on her album. I asked him if I could have it, and he said I had to ask Toni. I talked to her, and you know, she helped me out through the whole process, changing certain things. I’m blessed thatch let me have that song. That was written 15 years ago.
Urban Grandstand Digital: That shows the timeless quality of it. It’s a good song.
Traci Braxton: It is! Timeless! I’m proud of my brother. It was for my mom and dad when they went through their divorce. Toni had it, but it never made it on the album.
Urban Grandstand Digital: That makes it better because of how it resonates in the family. What are you most proud of with this album?
Traci Braxton: My emotion. How i was feeling while making this album. Passion is my favorite song. People think I’m talking about a love, or a man. I’m not. I’m talking about being alone in this passion, trying to get me voice heard, I’ve been waiting song and music to come to me for so long. I did not understand why it wasn’t coming to me. Why don’t you want me. Why am I not getting my gift? Singing this song filled my heart p. then boom, it comes to me. That is my favorite song.
Urban Grandstand Digital: So before we finish up about the show, I want to bring to light what you do for the cause of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Your son was diagnosed with it. Why was it important to champion this cause?
Traci Braxton: The reason I want to push this is that a lot of kids suffer from it. It is in the family of lupus. It comes back misdiagnosed all the time. They have high fevers, vomiting, and their joints bother them. Doctors call it growing pains, but it isn’t. They actually have screenings to look beyond the pains in their joints, and blood levels. It comes in the form of pain in their joints. They say give em Tylenol, or rest. It’s not just that. Sometimes kids have deformities, or bulging in their joints. It’s a painful disease. People need to be aware of it. You have to check up on that.
Urban Grandstand Digital: It puts me in mind of the people who suffer from Sickle Cell Crises.
Traci Braxton: Yes! Seeing my son, when he was younger, having to sit in cool water and putting rubbing alcohol on. Making sure he takes his medicine. Yesterday, I had to make sure he was taking his medicine because he doesn’t want to take it. Him being alienated in school, and not being able to sit in class. Teachers would complain about him getting up, but he has JRA. He can’t sit for extended periods or he stiffens up. The kid has to get up. Then the medicine dries them out, and they have to keep going to get water. They’ll put them in special needs classes, but they don’t need that. They can’t help it. It’s a to going on with these kids, and people, even teachers, have to study it. Sometimes you can mess up a kids education because you don’t understand.
Urban Grandstand Digital: It’s a testament, though, to your hard work. Your son is older now, and has been able to maneuver through this life successfully, and is living a productive life. Will you speak more about this?
Traci Braxton: I do have some things scheduled. I love giving back. Just like “Women Below the Belt” with cancer, I can attest to that. I had cancer cells on my cervix. They had to remove that, I was pregnant during that time so they had to remove the fetus. People have to open their eyes and stop thinking it can’t happen to them or their family. No one is exempt to these things.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Definitely. It’s good to have someone like you to speak on this, and show you can live a productive life.
Traci Braxton: I try James. I try (laughing)
Urban Grandstand Digital: So closing up, what can everyone expect this season on The Braxton’s Family Values?
Traci Braxton: In so many words, I don’t know what’s happening Thursday. I’ll be watching it with you guys.
Urban Grandstand Digital: It’d be nice if you guys could do something like what Mary Mary has done and watch it with us at the same time.
Traci Braxton: OK, that’s a thought. You hear that networks? That would be a good thing.
Urban Grandstand Digital: What what’s to be expected?
Traci Braxton: A lot of support. We argue with each other, but the support and love is there. I can’t tell you everything going on. It’s juicy. We’re trying to tell everybody. Stuff is about to be unveiled.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I knew you wouldn’t give me too much, but I had to try.
Traci Braxton: You gonna try your hand! James is going to try his hand (laughing).
Urban Grandstand Digital: Thank you again, so much. You mentioned bucket list before. You have been one of those people on my bucket list to talk to.
Traci Braxton: Really?
Urban Grandstand Digital: I love what you do, and I tend to look a little deeper. I’ve been looking these last three seasons, and I wonder mores “wow, how is she dealing with that”. I also like to be able to spotlight the causes that you’re working on. I could care less about the drama and things that go on because all families fight and argue. That’s reality. I like to be able to push the bigger cause.
Traci Braxton: Well thank you for having me and considering me.