A tear trickles down Tata Vega's face as she stands with me on the Walk of Fame on glamorous Hollywood Boulevard. "God's been so good to me," she says. While Tata tries to squelch her emotion, soon her tears flow more freely. "These streets used to be my home. What a messed-up life I've lived. But God's forgiven me. He's the God of second and third and fourth chances."
A young woman and her friend walk by and notice Tata silently waiting for TCW's photographer to take her picture. "Is she somebody?" the woman asks.
She certainly is. Tata, 48, has released 12 albumsher most recent is her third Christian recording, Now I See(Qwest Records). She's been a powerful vocalist on the movie soundtracks for The Color Purple, The Lion King, and Forrest Gump. She's worked with top mainstream artists Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Quincy Jones, as well as toured with gospel-great Andrae Crouch.
But despite her success, Tata's experienced enough trauma to warrant a storyline from a soap opera. Raped and impregnated at the age of 15, Tata gave birth, then left home to go to California to be a movie star when she was 16and ended up homeless. She was abducted, raped, and impregnated again; she became promiscuous and had several abortions and miscarriages; she married a man who introduced her to crack cocaine. When they finally divorced, Tata was left with a young daughter, Chloe, to raise alone. Tata's struggled with her self-esteem, with anger at her parents, and with her role as a single parent. Yet despite the pain of her past, today Tata joyfully demonstrates how God's love finally brought the peace she so desperately needed.1