Vixen Chat: Thicker Than Water’s Ben and Jewel Tankard Talk Family Business and Show Backlash



Will we get to see the ins and outs of how you make your money?

Jewel: I’m a fourth generation entrepreneur. Before I met Ben, I experienced a tremendous amount of success on my own in my hometown Detroit. My parents were in the record business and were some of the first African Americans to own record stores back then. Now I have a financial service business where I help people make sure their business portfolios are in tact. And I have a millionaire’s book club and that helps African American woman become empowered. African American women statistically are on the bottom of the totem pole financially- they hurt the most during retirement specifically.

Ben: You get that word quite a lot in our show: millionaire. The reason we say that is because it’s almost like telling your kids, “I want you to get straight A’s.” You know he’s not going to get straight A’s, but the B’s and C’s they achieve going after the A is fine with you. If you say a C is alright, they’ll fall on an F. So, we look at it like shoot for the sky.

What is your response to naysayers who don’t like the show?

Jewel: I’m an entrepreneur. Before we started the church, we lived very well and anyone that knows us knows that we grind up. And Ben has 25 years of music, so don’t just look at the ministry. Look at the fact that we’re entrepreneurs and some of the biggest givers in our church. And we’re not talking about a mega church. There’s no way we could live off the church. I think we need to go back to judging people based on who they are and not what they have. To me, it’s the same thing as racial prejudice. Judge the man on their heart.

Ben: If Magic Johnson opened a church in his home, no one would expect him to give his houses and cars away just because he’s a pastor.

Jewel: And it’s TV, so don’t take it too literal. We gotta  cut, edit and have some fun with it. This is not a Christian show. You have Christians on a show.

You’re obviously experts on living an extravagant lifestyle. What is one thing every man and woman should invest in?

Ben: Every man needs a man cave, especially if you have a wife and daughters [laughs]. Every man needs a place to escape where there’s no words; just chicken wings and some sports.

Jewel: For girls, I think it’s important just to get your nails and feet done. I think that keeping yourself well groomed is important because it makes us feel feminine, pretty and confident. It really connects to our self esteem. We may not be able to go buy this and buy that, but at least I can keep my physical image in tact.

Why should we watch Thicker Than Water?

Ben: I believe that I have the world’s most exciting family. There’s bound to be some Christian calamities, but we will have some heavenly conclusions.

Jewel: We want people to dream again. African Americans particularly- we have had so much struggle in our lives. Sometimes when they happens, you’re not dreaming like you used to. And we also want people to fight for the family again. You’re going to see some conflicts, but you don’t have to respond by actin’ a fool.

Thicker Than Water airs Sundays at 9pm EST on Bravo.