Tyler Perry's Sistas is already being celebrated for showcasing the varying dynamics within Black female friendships and cast member Novi Brown, who plays Sabrina in the series, adds to the sauce perfectly.
While speaking with Brown about her journey to nabbing the coveted role, she opened up about how fate led her to where she is today, how flattered she is for fans comparing the series to a trailblazing show of the past and why she is actually nothing like her character in real life.
How did you find out you booked the role of Sabrina in Sistas?
I found out I booked the role not even four days before I had to be on set. Long version short, I actually got the callback and I flew to Atlanta to read for the role of Karen, which Ebony Obsidian is playing, and after the callback, I felt all good about myself and everything and then I didn’t hear anything — for a month and a half I heard nothing — and after two weeks, as an actor, you’re kind of like, ‘OK, probably not coming, but hopefully I booked the role.’ Then I got a calling saying, ‘We need you to come in to the LA office to read for another role for the same show,’ and I was like, ‘Alright. OK, let’s go!’ [It was] for Sabrina. I did that on Friday. On Monday I got the callback. Tuesday I got a call asking me about some clauses in the contract, Wednesday I got the offer, Thursday I got on the plane, Monday I was shooting.
Some are calling it the millennial equivalent to Girlfriends. How do you take this comparison and how does it feel to hold that voice for Black women?
Wow, first of all, I love that question. Everybody needs a model or someone to look up to so that they have something to visualize and see because we look to our leaders and mentors and in my eyes, Girlfriends is like a silent mentor for Sistas. It’s just a foundation of what great TV is, what relatable TV is, regardless of how curly and tight your kinks are or how deep your skin is. Girlfriends has really made Black women palpable, relatable as we hope to continue carrying that torch… I think that it would be probably a mash of Girlfriends and Sex and the City with some action involved. So, that’s where we get to take it to the Tyler Perry level. So it’s an incredible experience and these are four women just as they are, currently. This is not a representation of every single woman of color. This is a representation of maybe moments in our lives.
It appears as Sabrina is the one in the group who is trying to find her own voice in love through her girlfriends. Why do you think this particular role can resonate with so many people?
Oh my goodness! It’s so crazy because I’m nothing like this. I know what I want. Don’t play games with me. I am so straight forward. I will ask a guy out. I am not like Sabrina! But I think Sabrina is the manifestation of the transition spot from when you’re dating, kind of in the beginning, to, ‘Oh, no. Now I know what I want.’ So I think she’s in that nice middle place where I think a lot of people go through that… Love is such a personal thing that you cannot have other people’s opinion on your love. And I really think that’s a great question to ask.
Of each of the characters, which are you most like in real life and why?
If I’m like anybody in real life, I think I’d say I have Sabrina’s heart. She wants everybody to be at peace and she wants everybody to be happy. That’s what I truly want, but I’m not going to ask you what my happiness is. So I think that’s what I get from Karen. Karen knows what she wants but she’s afraid to say it to the people who she needs it from. I have the voice of a Karen, I have the heart of Sabrina, I have the smarts of Andi and I have the wit of Danni.
What does “sistahood” mean to you?
"Sistahood" means to me a safe space for you to go back to when you have to recalibrate so you can continue on your journey, and that means that you will be going to that safe space with your sistas or your brothas. This is all about having your tribe, essentially.
Tyler Perry's Sistas airs Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET on BET.
(Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images for BET)