Moesha, which turned 20 on Jan. 23, certainly left a lasting impression on both its star, Brandy Norwood, and audiences alike when it went off the air in 2001.
“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,” Brandy tells ETonline about the UPN series that followed the titular 15-year-old girl as she navigated family and teenage life in Los Angeles, California.
A mid-season replacement, it went on to become one of UPN’s biggest hits, running for six seasons and producing the spin-off, The Parkers. While not directly related, writer Mara Brock Akil created Girlfriends and The Game in the same universe. Despite its success, Moesha was canceled before it could wrap up loose ends, leaving fans to speculate about Myles (Marcus T. Paulk), who was kidnapped, and whether or not Moesha herself was pregnant after an unknown positive at-home test was found.
“I was very, very disappointed with how the show ended,” Brandy says, revealing she still gets questions from fans about the fate of the show’s characters. “I would really love to resolve that issue.”
“Full House is coming back, right? [A Netflix reboot] would be awesome,” she continues, ready for the call to make it happen. “We could do, like, two episodes or something. I'm ready to go!”
While Brandy has since had notable recurring appearances on 90210, Drop Dead Diva, and The Game, it wasn’t until this year that the 36-year-old entertainer found herself starring in BET’s Zoe Ever After. “It’s all about divine timing,” she says of taking on the project. “There were a few different steps I needed to take in order to get back to the space where I could carry and hold my own on a show again.”
The series, a hit for BET, is an opportunity to explore that comedy world she first tasted on Moesha. “I went into the Zoe experience wanting to feel that all over again,” Brandy says.
In fact, if it wasn't for some of the lessons learned -- and even the nerves that come with acting -- on her first starring TV role, she probably wouldn’t be able to tackle such an adult comedy. “The nerves are worse now. I was fearless as a kid,” she says when asked about her 1996 interview with ET, in which she talked about being nervous to be seen as an actress. “I have adult nerves now and basically they don’t go away. But I’m blessed enough to not allow them to cripple me.”
In addition to Moesha, Brandy’s other most notable TV role -- as Cinderella in ABC’s adaptation of the popular fairy tale -- turns 20 next year. It’s place in TV history is cemented by Brandy’s real-life idol, Whitney Houston, who played her Fairy Godmother, and smash ratings at the time.
While there’s no fabled sequel to adapt, Brandy is open to the idea of another remake, this time stepping into Houston’s role. “That would be so amazing to experience being the Fairy Godmother,” she says of the idea that first came up when Keke Palmer took on the main role for the 2013 Broadway musical. “I would try to channel Whitney the best way I could. But that would be a dream.”
As fans -- and Brandy -- hold out for reunions and remakes, the actress is busy promoting the first season of Zoe Ever After, which draws to a close on Feb. 16, and renewing her focus on music. She released her first new single in four years, "Beggin & Pleadin," in January and is planning to put out a new album before the end of the year.
It may seem like a lot all at once, but 20 years later, Brandy has a renewed vigor. “I'm just inspired all over again in my life,” she says, “so, let's do it!”
Additional reporting by Leanne Aguilera.