It wasn’t until Brandy Norwood‘s second episode on The CW’s 90210 that I even recognized her. Can you blame me? She’s playing a political candidate named Marissa Hill-Young, for whom Silver (Jessica Stroup) starts making campaign videos. That’s not the first place my mind would’ve gone considering this is the R&B star who basically played herself on Moesha and starred in Cinderella.
There also wasn’t a lot of promotion; one day she popped up, and she’s been in each episode’s C-plot since. Michael Ausiello did break the story back in August, but it came and went. Interestingly, back then her character was named Marissa Jackson-Lewis. I wonder what was the reason behind the change.
A source described Brandy’s character as “a cross between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama“—you might guess that ostensibly it’s because she’s black and female, but the tipster probably meant that Marissa can relate to the youth vote. After all, she and Silver develop a pretty amicable working relationship.
Except that all we see Marissa giving Silver unsolicited love advice. So, a woman can only be a leader if she’s spouting wisdom about trusting your man? And for some reason, Brandy’s signature husky voice doesn’t fit my mental image of a politician.
Last night’s episode did hint at an interesting development: Silver feels her trust in Marissa is abused when she discovers that Marissa hired an actress for a campaign video. But Marissa explains that the words belonged to a single mother she actually met who simply didn’t feel comfortable appearing on camera. This is obviously a woman who understands the importance of getting a message out; I wonder what lengths she’ll go to for that goal.
Regardless, it’s difficult to take Brandy at face value playing a straight-up politician. Now, if 90210 – which does plenty of commentary on fame — wanted to cast her as a former pop star fighting for the political issues she cares about, then that would fly.