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Tisha Campbell Martin talks about staying on top of her game

Don't call her "Gina".

There's much more to Tisha Campbell-Martin than the television role she made popular in the sitcom, "Martin," starring opposite comedian/actor Martin Lawrence.

Campbell-Martin will be honored in Atlanta this weekend at the  Black Women Film Summit's annual "Untold Stories Award Luncheon" Saturday at the Intercontinental Buckhead Atlanta, 3315 Peachtree Rd. N.E.

She is being honored as a television trailblazer , said Saptosa Foster, vice chairman of the Black Women Film Network, which is holding the event.

"Her career has been consistent with promoting  positive images of African American women," said Foster.  "She's one of those actresses who continue to evolve and create."

Other honorees include Mikki Taylor, author and speaker; Fran Burst, director and producer; and Naturi Naughton, actress. Tickets for that event are sold out.

Another program, "Conversations with Tisha Campbell-Martin" will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Dennard Conference Center at Atlanta Technical College, 1560 Metropolitan Pkwy. S.W. Tickets are $10.


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When Campbell-Martin started acting, she quickly realized that black actors and actresses, in particular, had to be "extraordinary to be considered average, especially in this business. I never forgot that."

She estimated that then the average career life span for a black actor was about five years. Hers has lasted well beyond that. "I'm one who really pays attention to why things work or don't work," Campbell-Martin in an telephone interview from Los Angeles. "That's one of the things that has sustained my career. I often try to figure out other ways to initiate work for myself."

In fact, Campbell-Martin's start in entertainment actually began when she was three years old.  Then the young singer entered and won several talent contests in her native northern New Jersey, once winning first place and a car for her family.

She has a tight schedule while in Atlanta.  She's booked on Atlanta radio and will hit a few clubs to promote her new singles "Steel Here" released last year and "This Ain't Gina", released a few weeks ago.


Atlanta, she said, is a "dear" place for her with "lots of memories. Whenever I get a chance to come to Atlanta, I try to hit as much as I can.

"I'm hardly ever in the area," she said. "A lot of times, I purposely stayed at home because of my kids and my husband (actor Duane Martin). It was a choice because my kids were so young. Now they're older (14 and six) so, I can travel more."

For information and tickets go here.


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About the Author

Shelia Poole has worked at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for more than two decades.