Playing the role of Diana Ross and other Motown singers in the Broadway show “Ain’t Too Proud” six nights a week, Ta’Nika Gibson cuts a glamorous figure.
But she had a horrific childhood: demeaned, beaten and starved by her adoptive mother.
“She used to hit me with telephone cords, curling-iron cords, pots, pans and switches from trees,” the 28-year-old told The Post. “I would be covered in welts and bruises.”
Ta’Nika was born a ward of the state in 1991 in Springfield, Mass., as her schizophrenic biological mom was under the protection of the courts. The girl bounced around foster homes and was eventually taken in by a woman who had five children of her own as well as four other foster kids.
It was hardly one big happy family, however. Ta’Nika still has a scar where a bowl of boiling food “accidentally” landed on her leg when she about 4 years old. She believes her foster mother had taken her and the others in for one reason: “She received [government] checks for us,” said Ta’Nika.
It didn’t get any better when, at age 5, she was adopted by the woman. “Mother would put locks on the kitchen cabinets so we couldn’t get food,” Ta’Nika recalled. “We were starving, panhandling for things to eat outside the local store, even shoplifting.”
The woman’s five biological children, she said, were well-fed, spoiled and rarely did chores. Meanwhile, the adoptees were forced to sleep in a freezing cold pantry after their mother claimed she had spotted a cockroach because they hadn’t swept it properly. “I spent the night in a plastic bag,” Ta’Nika recalled.
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