Why Brandy Initially Didn’t Want to Audition for ‘Moesha’
It’s hard to talk about the impact Brandy has had on popular culture without factoring in her work on the hit sitcom Moesha. The show chronicled a teenage girl’s coming-of-age in LA and gave Black girls everywhere a positive representation of themselves. But the singer was not sold on the idea at first.
Brandy says she did not want to audition for ‘Moesha’ because acting wasn’t her focus
Before Moesha, Brandy starred in two other sitcoms. When she was 9, she starred alongside other kids her age in a sitcom about children who lived in group homes, We Are Family. The show was short-lived, lasting just a few episodes. At 13, she landed a gig on Thea.
Brandy’s time on Thea was not fun for her. In fact, she clashed with the show’s creator, comedian Thea Vidal. The show was cancelled after just one season due to Vidal’s issues with the show’s executives. After the cancellation, Brandy turned her full attention to music.
She released her multiplatinum self-titled debut album in 1994. But by 1996, Ralph Farquhar, who is the co-creator of Moesha, set his eyes on the star. He put in a request for her to audition, but Brandy was not interested.
“She gave me a script that Ralph Farquhar and the other creators of Moesha gave to her,” Brandy told ESSENCE, noting her mother/manager advised her to audition. “And I was like, ‘Mom, I’m not an actress.’ I didn’t really take my acting seriously.”
Coupled with her experience on Thea, she didn’t want to go down that road again. But after reading the script and connecting with the character, Brandy decided to give it a try.
Her audition was horrible
It was Farquhar’s idea to have Brandy audition for the lead part. In Brandy’s VH1 special Driven, Farquhar admitted that Brandy bombed the table read. “She was so horrible, she was so bad. If the network had that reading, they would have pulled the plug,” Farquhar said.
But Farquhar was convinced that Brandy was the right girl for the part. To help convince network executives, he hired veteran actor Kim Fields to work as Brandy’s acting coach for Moesha.
“I sucked in the beginning…Everybody thought I sucked,” Brandy said in her interview with ESSENCE. She credits Fields for whipping her into shape. “She snapped me into major discipline. Without her, I wouldn’t have nailed it,” she added.
Brandy is proud of ‘Moesha’s’ legacy
The show ended with a cliffhanger after Season 6. In 2020, the show became available on several streaming platforms including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Brandy says there’s a reason the show still resonates with viewers.
“I think for young black girls to grow up through her journey and through her eyes and to see a young black girl with braids in her hair, it leaves the legacy of possibility,” she told ET Online. In recent years, Brandy has been in talks to reboot the series. She specifically wants to give fans the closure they need from the cliffhanger.
“Yes, there are still talks about that because I feel that we owe it to the fans, because it was a cliffhanger,” she told The New York Times. “We didn’t end on the best note with our fans. I definitely feel that we should give them something special, and that’s all I can say about that. But I’m working on it!”