In her new book, Unbreak My Heart: A Memoir, Toni Braxton revealed a few very interesting facts about her childhood. One of the most interesting facts was about her need to fake like she was speaking in tongues during church services.
Apparently Toni and her sisters grew up in a very strict Pentecostal type church that she has described as a cult, and her parents were active members. Toni Braxton described how she had to fake speaking in to tongues as a child to keep from getting bullied in her parents cult.
According to Toni Braxton via Daily Mail.UK, “Women had to ‘cover their nakedness’ by wearing only skirts or dresses, full stockings even in the summer and no holidays were acknowledged – or ‘You’re going to hell’! ‘I began connecting religion, God and church with judgment, anxiety and guilt’, Toni writes.
Toni Braxton says her salvation was singing in the Sunshine Band, the children’s church choir. “Yes, Lawd, that child can sang’ the congregation said.”
She went on to say that there were so many religious restrictions that it left little else for children to do. Toni couldn’t go roller-skating because that music was evil. Going to a movie was a sin. Drinking was ungodly.
“You had to be prepared for rapture to come at any time and the goal was to be ‘saved’ and stay obedient, which required being baptized and speaking in tongues. That was the evidence that you were on your way to heaven.” Toni said in her new book“Unbreak My Heart.
At eight years old, Toni faked speaking in tongues and quickly learned that ‘the ties that bound us together became the ties that strangled us’, she writes. ‘Our family had fallen into religious extremism’.
Their spiritual pursuit alienated Toni from other children her age. Her clothes were homely, her mother fixed her hair in a ponytail right on top of her head, and her studies suffered with so many siblings at home. Her parents could not focus on enforcing the children to study
Her parents’ religious journey took them through two more repressive churches before they landed at an organization called Truth Foundation. Despite the repression, the family learned that the girls could sing – Trina, Traci, Tamar, Towanda and Toni — and they performed at area churches.
Toni became known as the girl who sounded like Anita Baker.
She went through a variety of jobs and onto to college, transferring often because she really didn’t want to be a college student. She wanted to pursue music.
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