Exclusive | Entertainment News
It's never too late to "Say It Loud"!
Billboard-charting singer, Tonya Nolan Starr recently starred in a new LGBT series titled, "Say It Loud" on MadameNoire, a platform dedicated to African-American women sharing the many stages of their lifestyle.
The "Say It Loud" campaign's first episode made its debut on June 20th of this year. The 9-minute and 52-second video was hosted by Atlanta’s openly gay Bishop Allen III. Rapper Saucy Santana, Artist MK xyz and singer Tanya Nolan all shared the spotlight on their coming out story.
The new episode showcased a heartfelt conversation about each star's business experiences and struggles in the LGBT community. Tanya Nolan gave the best advice to anyone still battling with their sexuality.
"It’s exhausting trying to convince someone. What I’ve learned is this... it's your life. Live it how you want. That is your path, but respect mine."
According to MadameNoire, viewers can look forward to episode 2, scheduled for release in the fall. This ongoing series aims to shed light on the experiences, struggles, and triumphs of the Black LGBTQ+ community, fostering inclusivity and understanding.
Gaye Magazine spoke with Tanya Nolan and went more into detail on the Say It Loud Campaign, and how her marriage and coming out story helped shape her music today.
LaTesa Lins: Thank you Tanya for speaking with us and congratulations on being a part of the "Say It Loud "campaign. What did it feel like to be in something so special?
Tanya Nolan: You're welcome and I was shocked, I was surprised. My publicist was telling me, 'hey Tanya get ready'. He knows that I'm not out there as much. But I've been working on getting more involved with the LGBT community, so to finally be around like-minded people, I was honored that they reached out.
LaTesa Lins: You said you're not out there as much, so are you a part of the LGBT community or an ally?
Tanya Nolan: I'm a part of it...I'm just...I'm inside quite a bit. Like I do a lot, I listen to a lot of audibles and then I speak on it when it comes to my businesses, and I also put time aside for my wife. We have our meals together and watch something that we enjoy on TV.
LaTesa Lins: Wife? I love how you..."Say It Loud" like that, haha! How long have you been married?
Tanya Nolan: Ha! Yes, we've been married...well we've been together....Oh, she's going to get me if I don't get this right. It's been 13 years but we've been married for about 10. So Yes, I am very much a part of the LGBT community.
LaTesa Lins: Yasss same sis! I love my community. I watched the "Say It Loud" campaign and you shared your coming out story, do you mind going into more detail with us?
Tanya Nolan: Of course...I said, "Mom, this is my girlfriend." I've always been direct. And she was shocked. Her response was, "Well, you know what the Bible says and you know what I've taught you."
And I said, "I understand it, but I'm letting you know what's going on right now. And I don't think it's gonna change ever." And so my mom handled it in her own way. Especially when it was time for me to get married, we got married right here in this house.
LaTesa Lins: What...at your house! Did your mom come to the wedding?
Tanya Nolan: Yes ma'am she did. So my father isn't alive, but Kim [Tanya's Wife] invited her mom to give her away and I invited my mom to give me away. And it was so funny. As we got to the altar me and my wife just gave each other that look. And I said, baby, they praying for us right now.
LaTesa Lins: Ha! And what did you do when it was time to ya know, "Kiss the Bride?"
Tonya Nolan: Well I said to my wife, I ain't gonna put the lips on you like that and I ain't gonna dive in. I'm just gonna give you a little peck. And I sure didn't just peck, I kissed my woman! But I was mindful, you know, of my parents. My mom and her mom, they know I'm a joker. So I didn't do anything too crazy, but it went well and my mom and Kim's mom, they were on their best behavior and all was good...They still pray for us to this day. Haha!
LaTesa Lins: I love that they still showed support. Did you have other family members that were more accepting?
Tanya Nolan: No, I didn't have anyone but they didn't really give me any problems either. They were just shocked as hell. When my baby sister found out she was like, "My sister gay?" We're 10 years apart and we favor a lot. So you know they do the hand movement now. Haha. She was just surprised that they didn't see it coming.
LaTesa Lins: I feel like they didn't see it coming because you were probably hiding it very well!
Tanya Nolan: Yes exactly! And when I accepted it, I said it is what it is. I guess I'm saying it that way because I was raised Baptist and my mom was an usher in the church, so I was always getting scared my entire damn life. They would say you're going to hell, all that crazy stuff. So I'm like, "Um, I'm sorry. I can't, I can't fight this."
LaTesa Lins: What was it like trying to fight it at first ?
Tanya Nolan: I mean, you have to think about it. When you are raised in a religious household your entire life, and it's been told to you that homosexuality is a sin, you automatically think you're going to hell if you indulge.
LaTesa Lins: Yes, it's like neglecting a part of you that you don't even understand yet.
Tanya Nolan: It's crazy because I couldn't understand why I was looking at my uncle's girlfriends. I'm thinking well, is it because I just admire beauty? What is this feeling? And then when I start watching music videos...it was just different. And when I was able to explore my feelings, I ignored what in the hell my mom or whomever else said and just asked my creator to reveal to me the truth.
LaTesa Lins: It's great that you've accepted yourself. You were recently surrounded by other influencers on the "Say It Loud" campaign who are open as well! Rapper Saucy Santana, Bishop Allen III and artist MK xyz. Did you feel right at home?
Tanya Nolan: Man...It felt good because I know that they've dealt with some of the same things that I've dealt with. And we were just being us. And I like that, it's a different feeling.
We all felt free. We felt like, hey, we can be us around us without judgment.
LaTesa Lins: Which influencer were you excited to hear about on the "Say It Loud" Campaign?
Tanya Nolan: Saucy Santana! He was sassy with the nails. I could never, it's just not my thing but I loved it on him and he had the hair. He was just very respectful and he was funny. He took care of his team members that was there when it came to the beverages and food. And It was so funny too, while we was recording, if his phone went off, he said, wait a minute, cut, gotta take this...Hello. He did not care. But they all were great, even the Bishop and the other young lady that was there as well. Everyone had their story. It didn't feel like work, it was like we was just chilling and chopping it up.
LaTesa Lins: So is it also that chill in the music industry as an openly gay female singer?
Tanya Nolan: No, because I'm getting inappropriate pics from both sides Haha. Individuals are not caring so much nowadays. And then when it comes to the right team, I've prayed for my tribe to come to me and what's gonna be is what's gonna be and I constantly tell myself people are going to have opinions regardless. So even in the music, I mean, they know what it is because I'm not hiding it. It's a part of my music because it's a part of me. There's so much more to come, so much more than I'm looking forward to exploring!
Latesa Lins: Yass, I'm here for it. So what message do you have for anybody else who is having a hard time accepting their sexuality and navigating the music industry?
Tanya Nolan: The message is in the title itself, "SAY IT LOUD ". If you're in a room and you feel like wearing drag that day and you feel beautiful, stand in that. If the next day you don't feel that way and you feel like some gothic... hey, stand in that, do that.
LaTesa Lins: I agree, it's like the first step in accepting yourself is to just stand in that.
Tanya Nolan: Yes. Just embrace who you are period. Be who you are. Love is love. And you're not loving yourself by hiding yourself.
LaTesa Lins: I feel like sometimes it's not that easy and that's why the Say It Loud campaign is a good series to learn from.
Tanya Nolan: Right! Times have changed in a drastic way...Just be yourself. If your parents or your loved ones don't approve of who you are, it's a shame on them. And I just ask that you be strong enough to cut the card if you need to. If they're not respecting you, teach them how to respect you by not being in their life. And if they come to you respectfully, that's when you can make a choice if you wanna give an individual a chance because some people just don't know.
LaTesa Lins: So we should cut them off completely if they don't agree?
Tanya Nolan: Just ignore them the best way that you can. Well, how can I put this...people need to really truly mind their business and live in your truth. If you do not live in your truth and accept who you are and love who you are, you are going to be miserable. Sometimes you just don't need to keep explaining. Some people are just stuck on what they choose to believe, whether or not the truth is right in their face. Don't make their problem yours. Live your life.
LaTesa Lins: Live your life! And on that note, we really do appreciate you sitting down and speaking with us.
Tanya Nolan: Thank y'all for having me! As soon as we hang up, I'm gonna call my publicist and say, it went well!
Keep up with and follow Tanya Nolan on Instagram! Watch Our Full Interview!