By: Beatrice Bangura, BmoreFab Correspodent
If you love reality TV, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of Bravo’s hit TV show Thicker Than Water. The show is centered around the Tankard family. Junetta Barnes, a Baltimorean, is featured on the show as sister of Jewel Tankard where they emphasize family, wealthy lifestyles and raising Christian children . Junetta Barnes sat down with thefabempire to talk about the show, changing religions and her church based out in East Baltimore (the Elevation Chapel AME Church
You were born and raised in Detroit, Michigan but now currently live in Baltimore. What prompted the move?
My husband actually. He was born and raised in Baltimore, so once we got married I made the move here
You own quite a few businesses. Can you tell me a little about them?
We run a consulting company, and in additional to that we own a few internet based companies. Our day to day one is our consulting company, where we work with different government agencies around the country and businesses. We also have several businesses that fall under that umbrella as well
Has the show “Thicker than Water”, affected your businesses in any way?
You know it really hasn’t because I keep it separate from the show. The show focuses on the family aspect of my life while my businesses are kept separately.
What advice would you give to someone trying to juggle as many things as you do?
Keep God first. I don’t know what would happen if I didn’t have him. Dream and think big. Where your mind goes your body and actions will follow. I always encourage people to go big, the sky is the limit. As big as you can dream that is as big as you can go
There was back lash when the show first premiered. Do you think things have changed and how?
Initially the way the commercial was cut made our family look snobby, arrogant and money hungry. A lot of that was due to how’s it’s edited. My sister made a comment saying if she had to take a vow of poverty she wouldn’t have gotten saved. They didn’t show the whole thing. She was saying how us being raised in Detroit, we were used to a certain lifestyle. We were not in the word of God, it was about fast money, fast cars. You have to see that example of people doing well in the body of Christ. They took that one little snippet and played it. There was a backlash because of that and it makes sense because people didn’t want to hear about us using money in the name of God. They did not get to see we were a real genuine down to earth group of people but as the show progressed they saw the sisterly bond, family and realized were regular people.
You were Muslim for a time and then came back to the Christian faith. How did that happen?
Back then my boyfriend at the time was Muslim. That’s how I was introduced into the religion. I strayed from the church because I thought all they wanted was money and that they were fake. I had a skeptical outlook on church and church people. I thought they were crazy. I felt like the Muslim religion explained things and increased my knowledge. Muslim gave me the real deal and Christianity was for show. As time passed I realized there was such a power in Jesus Christ. Life kept changing my direction and pushing me towards Christ. I didn’t feel any spirituality in Muslim. In Christianity I could feel that and I’m so happy I came back
What can viewers expect to see in the upcoming season of Thicker than Water?
The biggest question I’ve gotten asked about is about the dynamics of us three sisters, especially with our younger sister. We’re going to continue to fight for family, walk in love and work through our issues. Between us sisters, we still need to resolve some issues. You’ll see more of my nieces and nephews my niece is going to Howard University, so I’m like you’ll be down the street from your aunty! One thing I’ve learned since doing reality TV is that you have to stick together through thick and thin. You have to be real transparent. We’re allowing the world to see our lives and we hope that you see the real us. You’ll never see us fighting like they do on other reality shows. You’ll see how situations can be dealt with without the fighting
Anything you want the readers to know?
That I live in Baltimore! So many people come up to me and they’re like why are you here!? And I’m like I live here! I was flying to Nashville to film so when they see me walking around here they’re confused. I love Baltimore and I live here and I’m representing Baltimore.
Would you be interested in doing a spinoff of up here in Baltimore?
Absolutely. Right in East Baltimore, God called us to make a change in that area. We just met with the mayor and police commissioner with some ideas we have for our community. Our belief is that the church should be the focus of the community. My husband doesn’t take a salary cause we believe the money the church makes should go out to help the people of the church and the surroundings areas.