Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about various topics including celebrities and entertainment.
Toni Michele Braxton wears many hats as a singer, songwriter, pianist, television personality, producer, and actress. Since she was the lead character in two recent back-to-back Lifetime movies on Saturday, April 2 and April 9, this article focuses mostly on her being an actress.
Toni was born in Severn, Maryland on October 7, 1967 into a family of clergymen. Her father, Michael Conrad Braxton Sr., was a Methodist clergyman. Her mother, Evelyn Jackson was a former opera singer and pastor. Her maternal grandfather was also a pastor. It is no wonder that Toni and all her siblings were raised in a strict religious environment.
- Toni Michelle was born on October 7, 1967.
- Michael Jr. is the only male, born in 1968
- Traci Renee was born on April 2, 1971 and died on March 12, 2022
- Towanda Chloe was born on September 18, 1973
- Trina Evette was born on December 3, 1974
- Tamar Estine was born on March 17, 1977
2. Toni's Education
Braxton enrolled at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland to get a teaching degree, but she began to sing professionally after she was discovered by William E. Pettaway Jr., who reportedly heard her singing to herself while pumping gas.
Toni has a distinctive contralto voice that has been described as "husky, sultry, elegant, and sexy."
3. Toni's Awards
Toni is one of the best-selling female and well-known R&B artists. She has sold over 70 million records worldwide. She is the winner of seven Grammy Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, seven American Music Awards, three Soul Train Music Awards, a BET Award, an NAACP Image Award, American Music Awards, and numerous other recognitions over her long career.
The singer is also an actress, a television personality, and an executive producer. She executive produced and starred in Braxton Family Values, a reality television series that aired for seven seasons from April 12, 2011 until December 17, 2020.
4. Toni's Acting Career
Toni has been active as an entertainer since 1989 as a singer. She starred as Belle in Beauty and the Beast in September 1998. Toni was the first and only Black woman to have that leading role. It also marked the first time a Black woman would star in a Disney musical on Broadway.
Braxton began making movies for Lifetime in 2013. She has acted in a total of six successful Lifetime movies since then.
- 2013: Twist of Faith
- 2016: Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart
- 2018: Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story
- 2018: Every Day Is Christmas
- 2022: Fallen Angels Murder Club: Friends to Die For
- 2022: Fallen Angels Murder Club: Heroes and Felons
5. Toni Braxton's Lifetime Movies
Twist of Faith
Twist of Faith was Toni Braxton's first Lifetime movie that premiered on February 9, 2013. It is a story about Orthodox Jewish Jacob Fisher, played by David Julian Hirsh, who resided in Brooklyn, New York. When his wife and three young children were murdered, Jacob suffered unbearable grief. He moved as far away as he could and ended up in Brent, Alabama. That's where he met a single woman named Nina, played by Toni Braxton. She and her gospel community helped Jacob deal with his loss. Braxton's son who was diagnosed with autism has a cameo role in the movie.
Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart
Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart is a biopic that premiered on Lifetime on January 23, 2016. The biographical film is about the singer's life and her many struggles. It is based on Toni Braxton's Memoir. Lex Scott Davis plays the part of Braxton until the very end when the real Toni Braxton came on stage to sing her own songs.
Viewers got to see how Toni struggles with finances, lupus disease, and a failed marriage while raising a son with autism.
Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story
Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story premiered on Lifetime on January 27, 2018. It is based on a true story surrounding the true events that happened on August 20, 2013. It was the day Antoinette Tuff, played by Toni Braxton, considered suicide because she was drowning in debt.
Shortly after arriving to work at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia, Antoinette the school’s bookkeeper, was in the front office when Michael Hill, played by Trevor Morgan, a young man with a history of mental illness came into the facility armed with an AK-47 and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The school went into lockdown, and Antoinette was left alone with the gunman who threatened several times to kill everyone.
Antoinette convinced Michael to surrender by simply talking to him and telling him about her own hardships. By connecting with him. She was away from her own office and was at the right place at the right time to help save the lives of more than 800 students and others in the school. Later, she said it was faith in God that guided her through the ordeal.
Every Day Is Christmas
Every Day Is Christmas is an original movie that premiered on Lifetime on November 24, 2018. Toni Braxton starred in the movie and was an executive producer.
She played the part of store manager Alexis Taylor, a workaholic who went to her office even on Christmas Day. She ends up embracing the spirit of Christmas when she was forced to understand that making money does not guarantee real happiness.
Fallen Angels Murder Club: Friends to Die For
Fallen Angels Murder Club: Friends to Die For is the first of two Fallen Angels Murder Club movies that premiered on Lifetime on April 2, 2022. Hollis Morgan, played by Toni Braxton, and all the members of the Fallen Angels Murder Club have a criminal record. When a member of her book club is murdered, Hollis becomes the prime suspect because the murder followed the script from the book the members were reading and discussing. Hollis investigates the book club members and after a second book-inspired murder occurs, she races to identify the killer to clear her name before she becomes the next victim.
Fallen Angels Murder Club: Heroes and Felons
Fallen Angels Murder Club: Heroes and Felons premiered on Lifetime on April 9, 2022. The members of the Fallen Angels Murder Club worked together to find answers surrounding the death of another member of the book club. A journalist reporting on the murder also winds up dead, and Hollis is a prime suspect once again for two more murders. She takes matters into her own hands and helps a handsome young detective solve all the murders.
6. Family and Relationships
Musician Keri Lewis met Braxton when his group, Mint Condition, opened for her when she was on tour. They married on April 21, 2001. In December 2001, Toni gave birth to their first child, a son named Denim Cole Braxton-Lewis. Their second son, Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis was born in March 2003. He was diagnosed with autism. Toni and Keri divorced in July 2013.
Braxton and rapper Birdman have been dating since May 2016. They got engaged in February 2018, but they called off the engagement in January 2019. Both Braxton and Birdman confirmed in April 2019 that they were still in a relationship. However, there is no report that they are married.
7. Personal Life
Toni has been through so much that some people didn't think she would ever make a comeback and be as successful as she is today.
Toni once lost all her possessions in a lawsuit after her manager and change of record labels. She filed bankruptcy twice and considered posing nude for Playboy magazine to pay her bills. At the time, her debts amounted to about $2.8 million. In 1999, the lawsuit against LaFace Records was settled and Braxton was able to buy back all her possessions, including her awards.
Toni was in and out of the hospital several times in 2016 because of lupus. She had to cancel and rescheduled some singing engagements and tours. She once announced she was giving up singing and acting. Fortunately, things turned around for the singer and actress, and she did not give up either profession.
Toni says her religious background kept her from advancing at times in her career and in her personal life. She explained that because she was born into a family of preachers, she was under strict rules. She said she could not listen to secular music, attend movies, or participate in extracurricular activities like girls her own age. She could not wear pants until she was 14 years old. Toni says her family chose Jehovah’s Witnesses, then Catholic before settling on United Methodist. That's when her father loosened some of the tight reins.