Tasha Page-Lockhart knows a thing or two about weathering through the storm. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the church community particularly hard forcing most congregations to shut down or operate remotely, Page-Lockhart is finding her way towards a new normal. Over these last few months, she has spent most of her days helping her husband navigate running a church at a time when faith is faltering and believers have checked out.
Besides doing her best to keep the remaining congregants encouraged and inspired, the 37-year old is also currently working on her second book, tentatively titled, Let The Healing Begin. It's the sequel to her first book, And The Winner Is: Tasha Page-Lockhart, which detailed her journey before appearing on and winning the sixth season of BET’s gospel singing competition, Sunday Best.
“Let The Healing Begin” is really taking people through the process of healing,” Page-Lockhart shares, a matter she’s all too familiar with herself.
Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Page-Lockhart was molested on separate occasions by four family members and gang-raped. Dreams of playing basketball professionally were dashed after she got pregnant in the 12th grade. As her life was spiralling out of control, she turned to drugs and was soon battling a cocaine addiction. Instead of becoming jaded, Page-Lockhart turned things around and has been a shining example of how to do so for others ever since.
The culmination of all of these experiences is what led her to write her latest single, “Why Not Me,” a powerful ode celebrating the strength and faith she found in God that allowed her to weather through the worst that life can offer.
Page-Lockhart spoke to BET.com about the significance “Why Not Me” has on the events unfolding now, how winning BET’s Sunday Best saved her life, and when she figured out that love doesn’t always come in a perfect package.
BET.com: How did things change for you after winning Sunday Best?
Tasha Page-Lockhart: I remember my ex husband going to the gas station, and all we had was $20 to our name. We were trying to figure out how much we are going to spend on gas [and] how much are we going to use to feed our children. We had two kids. Sunday Best changed my life drastically. I was in the last season, season six, when we got a car, the $30,000 cash prize, and the record deal. The record deal came with a cash advance as well.
That changed my life immediately. I took my kids to Disney World. We had never been on a family vacation before. They'd never been anywhere together ‘cause we couldn't afford it. And then on the flip side of it, outside of monetary gain, I was able to travel the world and tell my story and help other people overcome the same things that I've overcome.
BET.com: I really liked that you said that because I feel that your song “Why Not Me?” powerfully speaks to that. What’s the inspiration behind the song?
Page-Lockhart: My life inspired it. [In high school], I was president of the student council. I was over the gospel choir. I was winning awards, singing solo and with ensembles, voted most likely to be famous and most likely to succeed. All of these things. I had colleges [knocking on my door]. North Carolina was one of them. They scouted me offering a full ride scholarship for basketball. All of these things were going for me and then I got pregnant my senior year.
My parents are pastors of the church, but who would expect a church girl's life to turn out that way? That’s where “Why Not Me” came from. I can spend my whole life bitter, asking questions [or] I can change the narrative and my perspective and say, why not me? God trusted me with this. We all have to go through things, and that's one thing that we can’t escape, no matter your ethnicity or gender.
BET.com: I just want to salute you for overcoming all of that and standing up as a woman of faith. “Why Not Me” just feels so timely because everything that's in the news right now. Do you think it also speaks to what’s currently going on?
Page-Lockhart: We could sit back and say, “Why us? Why are we being targeted just because of the color of our skin?” We haven't done anything to anybody, even when this first started. They took us by boats in chains from our native land. But then, we can flip it and say, “Why not us?” Because guess what? We're stronger than what we think. We're better than what they said.
Will Smith posted something that said, “racism is not new. It's just being filmed now.” This stuff has been going on for generations. Now, we’re recording things and posting it, but why not us? We're resilient. We can make it through this. We just have to come together and realize the power that we actually have.
BET.com: When you first released the song, Jennifer Hudson shared her reaction on her page. What did you think when you first saw that?
Page-Lockhart: I was invited by a friend to Jennifer Hudson's Christmas Party. He was like, ‘I don't know how I'm going to do it but I'm gonna get you to sing.’ She was already familiar with who I was because she was at the Tyler Perry [Studios] grand opening and she watched Sunday Best. When I released the song, you can hear her saying on the video, “Whose song is this?” She’s even reached out to me and commented on some of my posts that she loves the song. I was very emotional to see that somebody who I admire appreciate my work.
BET.com: What are some songs that are keeping your spirits raised these days?
Page-Lockhart: Of course, “Why Not Me.” John legend is one of my favorite singers so I'm listening to his new album that just came out, Bigger Love. I'm listening to a new artist named Kenyon Dixon, and there’s also Deitrick Haddon, [who] wrote a song called “I Can't Breathe.” Dietrick is one of my all time favorite artists. I used to sing with his group Voices of Unity back in the day, so I've been around him all my life. He’s one of my major influences.
BET.com: You just celebrated your one year wedding anniversary last month. What have you learned about marriage, especially while quarantining with your husband?
Page-Lockhart: Everybody is different. You just have to accept the person for who they are and ask yourself can you know all about a person and still love them? If your answer is no, then you should be single. When you're learning about someone and merging two lives, you're going to bump heads on issues. But what you have to understand is if you run from every red flag, you’ll never open yourself up to love. We’ve been taught as soon as you see a red flag, run for the hills. No. Because you could also have red flags about yourself that somebody is not going to like. Love will heal them all. You have to choose every single day to love that person. It's hard work, but it's a beautiful thing.
The second part of that is get rid of your list. And when I say get rid of your list, I don't mean get rid of your standards. There’s somebody for everybody. That person may not look like what's on your list. But if you get stuck on that list, then you're keeping yourself from real love. I hear women say all the time there’s a shortage of men. No, there are good, hardworking men out here. They may not look like what’s on your list but give it a chance. I never dated a preacher before or someone who was tall and thin like [my husband]. That wasn’t my type. He had never dated a thick, light-skinned woman like me and he said something that stuck with me: “Sometimes you have to allow what you need to become what you want.”
Be sure to check out the latest season of BET’s Sunday Best on Sunday’s at 8 p.m. ET.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
(Photo: provided courtesy Tasha Page-Lockhart)