We all have a good idea of what a power couple is. One reading describes Estes and Collins perfectly. Power couples are successful in their careers while having a great relationship. Both partners in a power couple also go after their personal goals and maintain their independence. They balance each other—their strengths complement each other’s weaknesses and are considered relationship role models.
Johnny Collins is the first Black person to be added to the Texas Land and Title Association (TLTA) board since its inception in 1908. An association that advocates for the title industry in Texas. A business mogul, disruptor and founder and CEO of Community National Title (CNAT), a full-service title agent, serving the great state of Texas.
Toni Estes is a Grammy® nominated songwriter and R&B singer who has written for the likes of Whitney Houston, written with heavyweights as the late LaShawn Daniels, Rodney Jerkins, sung theme songs for breakout shows like All of Us and as a teen, and opened for legends as the late Natalie Cole and Gladys Knight. Her pen is nice, and her vocals match.
The couple personifies two bible scriptures. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.” Genesis 2:18 says, “… It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
Because they work so well together, and honor God in all they do, their ventures run smooth and successful. On December 23rd the power couple, who have been married for 18.5 years, will come together to host a private screening to celebrate Toni’s song and voice placement in I Wanna Dance With Somebody, the biographical musical film based on the life of Whitney Houston. Directed by Kasi Lemmons, written by Anthony McCarten, with Clive Davis serving as a producer.
The event will celebrate Estes’ songwriting and voice placement in the film. “From what I understand, there are two different versions of the same song ‘It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay,’ states Estes. “One version with me singing and the other with Whitney singing.”
“It’s Not Right, but It’s Okay” was the first single by Whitney Houston from her fourth studio album, My Love Is Your Love. Written by Toni Estes, the late LaShawn Daniels, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins III, and Isaac Phillips and produced by Darkchild, the noteworthy collaboration earned Houston a 2000 Grammy® Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
Estes has written many songs for Houston. However, when asked how she felt about her songs being in the film, the multi-talented artist exclaims, “excited is an understatement!” “Whitney Houston was the reason I wanted to sing and be in the music business.”
CNAT will sponsor the event, which is free, but each guest must bring a new pair of socks or a blanket to donate to Morning Star Prayer Center in Fort Worth, TX. No strangers to giving back, the company’s philanthropic efforts have helped numerous individuals and families in their time of need.
However, on other occasions Collins and Estes share their philanthropic endeavors and say their joint philanthropy is one of the most meaningful shared experiences. “We love giving back to the people in our city and other cities,” they state. “Sometimes my strategic corporate responsibility giving plan is thrown out the window because I can’t say ‘no’ when it’s a charity that I value, appreciate, and admire,” says Collins who also partnered with Morning Star Prayer Center in the past to furnish 1,100 homes for $1million dollars.
Research shows that giving can create togetherness and shared experiences that make a couple more connected. Toni agrees and adds, “Giving together allows us the chance to work on issues we care deeply about, it also provides an opportunity for our relationship to grow.”
Although the couple play hard, they work even harder. Especially when it comes to parenting. Their kids Johnny Collins III, 14, and Justyn, 11 come first over everything. In fact, at one point Toni put her music career on the backburner to become a stay-at-home-mom. She pivoted for a while from songwriting and performing music to making lunches, and carpool, and love every moment! And when the multi-creative yearned to create, she re-invented her brand and started a YouTube channel, a podcast, and dived back into photography.
Both were driven and focused at an early age which explains their success. Estes started her career in entertainment at three years old. From making commercials, opening for legends, and writing for and with various artists. Collins earned a spot in Texas Christian University’s (TCU) Hall of Fame and was a successful collegiate athlete in track and field.
“I’ve written many songs but writing for Whitney Houston was my jam,” states Estes. Songs Estes wrote for Houston include: “It’s Not Right, But it’s Okay”, “If I Told you That” (A duet with George Michael), and “Get It Back”. Estes says the first two songs have been a part of several greatest hits albums and had several different remixes done.
“It’s Not Right, But it’s Okay” was in “A Night with Whitney”, a hologram show on the Las Vegas strip. Estes explains that “The same song was also in the Las Vegas show, “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” Live and says it’s set to be released on several big projects in the coming two years that she can’t discuss.
Estes is now a member of the Grammy® recording academy, and in 2023, she will relaunch her podcast and YouTube channel, but her photography she says, “is reserved for friends and family only.”
Real estate is in Collins’ blood. “I’m a real estate child. My mother was a real estate broker.” He never thought he would be in the title business, but it happened on a fly. “I started in the mortgage industry and one day while at a mortgage bank with my business partner, there was disagreements with our contact, as usual. Being the man who unapologetically goes after what he wants, Collins suggested they start their own title company to eliminate the dissatisfaction of how things were run.”
Collin says the process of moving from mortgages to titles was horrific. “We had no intentions of running a title business… We partnered with guys we weren’t aligned with and started seeing how much we were unequally yoked. However, we were making great money, but it wasn’t a good fit, and the company was quickly dissolved.” That is when Community National Title was born.
There is power in married couples joining forces. Marriage is not just a contract between two people that lasts only if each party fulfills their responsibilities. Instead, it is a two-way promise (covenant) with each spouse and with God to fulfill their role as a spouse.
So, what is this power couple’s secret? When asked what is the most important factor in making a marriage work? The couple says, “communication (not just communication, but comprehension of what each of you is communicating), common goals, and commitment to the cause (the marriage).”
Collins and Estes are navigating this promise to each other and God. Living and loving life and giving back.