Brandy (no last name needed) is back. She’s on the radio. She’s on television. And this Friday, she’ll co-star in Tyler Perry’s latest film, Temptation—her first silver screen appearance since 1998’s I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. This, Brandy says with a sigh of relief, is her season.
“I feel like God is great to me and I’m finally back on the path to purpose,” she tells EBONY.com. “I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. Like, I’m supposed to sing, I’m supposed to entertain and just relate to people through the arts. And I’m happy to be back on my path, because I was off of it for a minute.”
We talk with Brandy about The Game, her upcoming wedding and why reality TV isn’t for her.
EBONY: You said you got knocked off your path. What got you back on it?
Brandy: Inspiration and environment. And hunger, like wanting to do it all again. I think when you’re not in touch with your purpose or when something’s off in your life, your spirit is going to keep telling you and tugging at you until you get your act together. So I think that’s what happened to me.
EBONY: Did you have a moment when you lost hunger?
Brandy: I did. I was overwhelmed, I felt like my life was imbalanced. I felt like I wasn’t taking a lot of time for myself. And when you grow up in the public eye, you already don’t know who you are because you’re young and you’re trying to discover and evolve. When you’re doing that in the public eye, you can get caught into what people want you to be. So I needed to take a step back, develop and see the type of person that I really wanted to be and who I really was. And raise my daughter, take some time for myself. I’m so glad that I did that, because I was able to not only discover some great things about me, but also just have the patience and create the balance to do what I get to do now.
EBONY: What made Temptation the right film to reintroduce yourself to the silver screen audience?
Brandy: I loved the script. I loved how intense it is: the subject matter, my role, and how real it is. How she’s running from this troubled past and she thinks that running means that she’s brave. It doesn’t. As her story unfolds, you see her confront this craziness and the things that she did in her past that were not right and she wasn’t proud of. You see her confront that and develop friendships all around her.
And I love Tyler Perry, I think he’s amazing. I’ve been trying to get a call from him forever. So when I got the call from him, I said yes before I even read the script. I’m like, “Please, yes! I need to be in a movie with you, so let’s just do the movie.” And things turned out to be as amazing as it was. And then the cast, with Jurnee Smollett, Lance Gross, Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Williams… everybody. I’m like, whoa. This is great company, and I’m just blessed to be a part of it.
EBONY: The Game comes back for a sixth season on BET this week. What’s up with Chardonnay and Jason Pitts?
Brandy: She and Jason Pitts are married, so she’s just trying to adjust to this new football lifestyle. She’s used to riding the bus and making drinks for people, and just popping off at the mouth when somebody gets an attitude with her. So this is a whole new life. She’s trying to find some friendships, to fit in and still represent her husband in a way where she’s holding him down but at the same time she’s still being herself. So she’s just trying to find her own way. But she’s still Chardonnay. She’s still very feisty, she still has her swag, but she’s trying to calm it down a little bit. She’s trying to be a wife.
EBONY: There are a lot of changes this season. Tia Mowry is gone. Pooch will be leaving. Lauren London is on…
Brandy: I don’t think the fans should be nervous at all. I think everybody should be open-minded. I think life is about change and evolving, and sometimes we don’t want to accept that. But just be open-minded, and don’t try to compare the newcomers to Tia and Pooch. I mean, nobody can be Tia, and nobody can be Pooch. Let people be their own character. So just give everybody a chance.
EBONY: Congrats on your recent engagement. Have you started planning the wedding?
Brandy: I have definitely been thrown into it! My imagination has been going crazy for the first time in my life. When you meet the person that you want to be with, you start seeing your wedding. And I’m like, “Oh Lord. This is something! I’ve never really seen it before. I never saw myself walking down the aisle with a gown!” I’ve always wanted it, but I can actually envision it now. And every time I see some flowers now, I’m like, “Oh my gosh! That would be great for the wedding.” So it’s definitely coming along.
EBONY: What’s your non-negotiable?
Brandy: Oh, music at the reception has to be amazing. I have one thing I really want for the reception. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I really want it. I can’t tell you what it is, because I don’t want to say. If it doesn’t fall through, then I don’t want to look crazy!
EBONY: Do you want to anchor your own TV show again?
Brandy: Absolutely. I didn’t want to say that, I didn’t know how that would come off, but absolutely! I definitely want to do that. Without being disloyal to The Game or anything else, I definitely want my own show. For sure.
EBONY: One Mo’ time?
Brandy: One Mo’ time! It’s the comedy and it’s the rhythm, it’s the timing, it’s where I come from. It’s so much what I’m used to, and I just feel comfortable on TV sets. It’s like a playground. I’m able to play and just be free. And comedy gives me that freedom. It’s not so, so, so serious. I get a chance to just try different things. I like the dramatics too, ’cause you know I’m a drama queen. But comedy is just definitely my niche.
EBONY: Last question: would you ever go back to reality TV again?
Brandy: I don’t think so. I’m not opposed to it, because right now, a lot can be captured in my work. Before, I didn’t have a lot of my focus in my work going on, so it wasn’t really anything that I should’ve been on reality TV for. If I’m not in the studio, you’re not seeing the behind the scenes of what my life is really all about, [so] I didn’t see a reason to do reality. That’s why I didn’t feel like I worked in reality. But I have so much going on in terms of the arts and the purpose of why I’m doing what I’m doing. I don’t think it’s a problem for people to see the behind the scenes of that. So I’m not opposed to it anymore.
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EBONY Entertainment Editor