It is the era of the Black female lead and Novi Brown doesn’t understand why nobody is talking about it. Novi plays one of the four girlfriends navigating life and love on Tyler Perry’s Sistas. The series has viewers glued to the screen, debating in the comment section (and real life), all while seeing themselves represented on screen. Novi Brown is grateful to be able to act alongside her castmates showcasing all of the complexities of black friendships and relationships. Offscreen she is living her best creative life, acting in her first series and influencing in hair, makeup, and celestial studies. We got the chance to speak with her about Sistas on BET, astrology, and seeing black artists win all 2022 and beyond.
We currently know you for your role on Sistas but, you have been posting your shorts on YouTube and been in productions for years. Was it always your dream to pursue acting?
Novi Brown: I always wanted to throw my voice into the visual arts field because of the way black people and especially black women are so misrepresented. It’s really interesting because the first movie that I remember watching is The Little Mermaid in the theater. I felt things inside of me, I was like “Oh my God, why do I feel things? That’s so weird!” Then I started getting the words for it as I became older. I said that’s insane that this person can play a character so well that your emotions start stirring. I thought that was so powerful. That’s why I love music and art so much because you really can impact somebody that you don’t even know. It was that and a combination of dressing up, I don’t have to choose one career for real and I meet a bunch of different people. Sounds good to me!
Congratulations on the fourth season of Sistas! Your character seems to be the voice of reason in the group and can help her friends make good decisions but, her relationships are filled with doubts and judgements (some warranted). Do you think your character will get some romantic stability or clarity this season?
Does she need that? She’s single, sexy, and free! I know the world is not comfortable seeing women date. I’m so grateful I get to play a character that questions society and why we have such an issue with women one, not knowing exactly what they want right in this moment, God forbid. Two, changing their life, God forbid! The world’s gonna burn down. And three, she ain’t got no ring and no baby, she can do whatever she wants! I think because she doesn’t approach it in a way that we are used to that it makes people uncomfortable. But I love playing characters that make people uncomfortable. It is my favorite thing to do because it is all about what you think in your head, your perspective, your psychological make up. Why do you think this way? Especially Calvin and the sex scene, y’all dont know there’s seven different orgasms on the body?
In an alternate ‘Sista-verse’, if you could get a chance to play any other cast mate, who would you choose and why?
I wouldn’t choose anybody else, I’m exactly where I need to be. I feel like every actor brings exactly what they need to for each character. I am very happy playing Sabrina to be quite honest. I feel like she goes under the radar. And that’s what I like. I like the character who might sneak up on you when you watch the show five years later and you are like “hold on a second”. A lot of people miss it but Dani and Sabrina hang out together. If y’all love Dani so much and she’s so honest, why does she hang out with Sabrina? Sabrina says a lot of poignant things, I think it is just her delivery that people don’t understand.
I love playing my character. I had to learn how to not talk with my hands, how to not speak so fast, there were a lot of things I had to learn character wise to really get into her voice. I’m happy and think the show is perfectly set up.Novi Brown
Out of all the roles, is Sabrina the character that has come close to your personality offscreen?
In the soul, yes. I feel like every actor has that soul of the character they are playing, that’s why they got chosen. Sabrina has that heartfelt, ‘Are you okay?’ ‘Is this what you want?’ ‘You deserve more’. I am like that with everybody in my life, all the time. Even through my astrology, absolutely. What makes Andi happy doesn’t make Sabrina happy. She can’t tell her what and what not to do. I think it’s perfect. You are not supposed to know everything. You’re not supposed to be perfect and I love that this sister circle represents all of those things. At the end of the day, you are a human being and no one makes your decisions better for you than you. Even if you make the wrong decision in the moment, it is still the right decision.
Working with Tyler Perry, who does everything from writing to producing, what have you learned about yourself as a multi-talent?
That I am built for this. I can do this. I would recommend anybody in the world whether you are in the cast or crew, whatever part of the film industry you are in, go to Tyler Perry Studios at some point in your career. To be able to do 22 episodes in 9 days, that’s different. And in one take. A lot of people have opinions about our show but y’all don’t know what we have to do, physically, to get to where we are. There’s an ongoing joke about there being no customers in the bank. Well, we filmed during quarantine and we were the first people to do that in the world. There’s a lot of other things that go into it. I was hired for season one, four days prior, I had never been on a TV show before. I was able to memorize all my lines, I was able to be a professional. You know how something just works for you, it fits? It fit. Now it is just about making my vision more of a reality and realizing I can do even more that I thought I was capable of. My dream started as an actor. I want to do more now.
And you are doing more. Another congratulations for your new show, Conversation and Constellations. Astrology has become a love/hate subject amongst recent generations. What do you think are some common misconceptions about astrology?
You are not just your sun sign. Everyone has all of the energy in their chart. That’s where you start. At the end of the day, there are all of these planets in the sky, right? The day you were born, they were doing something. It is also in the tombs of our ancestors, I don’t know about anybody else but, I take that seriously. Whatever knowledge they had back then is very much important to today. That’s why I study it so much, I love history. I feel like we are missing a lot of those things because we would rather replace them with convenience. Obviously there is a lot of confusion, because people are not following their own energetic path. So, it’s going to make you feel under-appreciated, unloved, and unseen. Then you are going to make decisions based off of how you feel. It’s deeper than that.
Advice for someone beginning to take interest in the subject?
It really depends on the person giving you the information. The information usually stays the same but, because I am so passionate about it and I have different viewpoints, people are going to start gravitating towards my content. It’s not like there aren’t a million astrology books out there. It’s not like people have never talked about this before. I would just do a little self research and some introspection. It depends on what your placements, life journey, and your lessons are. It’s all wrapped up into a conversation. Conversation and Constellations. That’s what I want to talk about. It is a very casual conversation and I’m definitely throwing facts at you here and there but, I want you to see how the symbolism can play out in your life. I always say God is a poet first. Everything else is symbolic of that poetry.
A lot of people get weird with me because they are like “You are so energetic”, I said “Because I’m living. This is called life honey!” Y’all dont understand what it is because you don’t feel that anymore. It makes me feel more empowered because I understand my energy better, my obstacles, and my gifts better. Even when my emotions get in the way, I’m like this is my purpose. So I have to continue going on. It is a great conversation starter, great ice breaker, and if you have a good teacher, trust me they are going to change your mind a little bit about astrology.
In the numerology and astrology world, 2022 is a powerful year, what are you excited for and hoping the year will bring?
I am so excited for all my artists. Any person that has something creative to give to the world. In my mind, about 85% of people are artists. Even a doctor, because how the hell do you put a brain back together? That’s art. I don’t know why people don’t see it that way. I am so excited for artists. I am so excited for artists of color. Especially black women. Recently I posted on my Instagram, there are about 8 to 10 shows with black female leads. We have never had this before, nobody is talking about this. So, it is our time. I’m ready for black people, black women specifically because that is who I am, to be unapologetic when it comes to their art. And make all the bags that the ancestors left behind for us, okay? Let’s make them up.
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