Toni Braxton: Still Makin' Us High

With her eighth studio album about to drop, the sultry singer shares her personal demons, her irritation with the state of marriage equality, and her suspicions that she was a lesbian in a previous life.

BY Jase Peeples

January 21 2014 8:00 AM ET

Above: Toni Braxton and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. Photo: Marc Baptiste.

Braxton’s desire to champion the diversity of relationships is apparent when asked about her views on marriage equality. “We’d have to sit down and have a martini or champagne or some chicken wings to properly talk about this because I could go on all day,” she playfully says before adopting a more serious tone. “I really don’t understand why some people are so afraid, and I have an issue with those who are working so hard to battle marriage equality. Get over it. It’s going to happen and we’ve been through the battle for civil rights before, so why are you fighting it? What’s there to fight? Just 50 years ago it was illegal for blacks and whites to be married. My dad is biracial, so I have a different opinion than some other people in the black community because I believe love is love. But unfortunately it takes the rest of the word some time to understand that their minds are closed.”

Having experienced an emotional catharsis after finishing her latest effort with Babyface, Braxton is now setting her sites on flexing her acting talent in the near future and hopes the opportunity will help her increase LGBT visibility at the same time. “I’d really like to play a lesbian role in a TV series. I think it’s a role I’d be comfortable playing and it would make people stand up and take notice,” she says, admitting that while the idea of portraying a queer character has long appealed to her, it was viewing the Netflix drama Orange is the New Black that renewed her desire. “I really connect with that show,” she says. “I love the writing, the characters, and the way the women come together. It’s a show that makes me feel like in a past life I was a lesbian.”

However, Braxton is clear that her desire to shine as a thespian doesn’t mean she’s hanging up her microphone anytime soon and hopes to collaborate with several LGBT artists in the future, including RuPaul and Elton John. “I’d love to work with Elton John,” she says, adding, “You know, when I came out with my first album, Elton told [LaFace Records co-founder] L.A. Reid after he heard my song, ‘I love your new artist. I love his voice.’ And L.A. said ‘I will tell her that you love her voice.’” She laughs, adding, “Elton said my voice was so androgynous that he couldn’t tell, and I took that as a compliment. So working with him would be a real full circle moment for me.”

 

Watch the music video “Hurt You” from Love, Marriage & Divorce (due Feb. 4), starring Toni Braxton and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, below.

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