Tyrese has never been one to shy away from controversy.
And the singer is only fueling his fondness for healthy debate with It’s Not You, It’s Men, his new talk show on OWN with longtime friend Rev Run, on which they offer differing viewpoints on a range of topics.
PEOPLE caught up with the cohosts – who will both attend the Grammys Monday, where Run DMC will take home a lifetime achievement award and Tyrese is up for the Best Traditional R&B Performance hardware – who talked what they’ve learned from each other over the years, what they hope to accomplish with their show – and thoughts on the awards season diversity controversy.
You two have been friends for a while. What arguments in your personal life led to opening this dialogue on TV?
RR: I didn’t know Tyrese, but Tyrese called me responding to an email [newsletter] I had that would share my words of wisdom. We got on the phone, and we ended up writing a book, and this show is kind of a spin-off of the books. It’s about relationships. From day one, we’re still debating and laughing about my stance on sex before marriage and cheating if you are married or aren’t married.
T: Rev is my best friend in the whole world. There is no one that I’ve ever been friends with that has motivated, inspired and had such a direct impact on my life the way he has. So with the show, we’re here to say, “Here’s a bunch of s— that no one talks about.” At the end of the day, we just want to give women and men the heads-up of what’s around the corner in relationships before they get there, and if we’re able to spark a dialogue without judging people, without tearing them down.
With all your discussions over the years, have you worn each other down on any points yet?
RR: He’s worn me down. He’s so strong with his opinions about sex before marriage: all the things that he needs from a woman before he gets with her. And I’m still Scripture-based – and he’s coming closer to my side. He says, “I want to have sex with you before I marry you because I want to make sure it’s good.” But I tell him, “I beg to differ because you’ve had all this sex and you never married one of them! How’s that working out for you?”
Tyrese, you spoke out about diversity in Hollywood after the Oscar nominations came out and said you won’t be watching the show. What will you do instead?
T: I never watch TV, so it wouldn’t be a matter of me purposely staying away from viewing the Oscars … I’m just really proud of the dialogue. I’m very proud of what’s happening: Most people would sit on their hands and not saying anything, but I’m being very vocal about it because if I never win an Oscar in my life, I’m okay as long as future generations of African-Americans in this country can put their best foot forward and have an opportunity to win.
It’s Not You, It’s Men airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.