Published on August 5th, 2019 | by Percy Crawford0
Brely Evans Explains the Importance of the OWN Network, New Show “Ambitious” and Netflix Show, “Black & Privileged!”
Brely Evans has been putting the “G” in grinding. The Oakland, California native is currently featured in, OWN Network series, “Ambitions,” Netflix’s, “Black & Privileged,” all while getting her own company, “Water Walkers” off the ground. Evans is a unique talent because of her ability to do so many things on the entertainment side of things. She can sing, model, act and she’s funny. Combine all of these talents and you could understand why she is on the tube as much as she has been lately. She’s looking to expand to her resume by helping others live out their dreams through her, “Water Walkers” production company that helps individuals through the process of living out their dreams while putting their talent on the forefront. Evans has been seen in movies like, “Just Wright,” “The Man In 3B,” “Sparkle” and many more. While also securing roles in series like, “Being Mary Jane,” “Born Again Virgin” and “Ambitions.”
I recently spoke with, Brely to get a look into her busy life, her multiple projects and much more!
You were down in New Orleans for Essence Festival. What was that experience like for you?
Brely Evans: Absolutely amazing! I was there with my castmates and even bigger than that, I was there with the stars of, OWN. So, everyone from, Miss Iyanla Vanzant to the cast of “Queen Sugar,” the cast of, “Haves and the Have Nots,” “If Loving You Is Wrong,” and the cast of, “Greenleaf” We were all there together and it made for a very special event.
Do you make Essence every year or was that a first?
Brely Evans: No, I had gone to Essence some years ago with my mother and I like to say, as a civilian (laughing). Which was much different than it was for me this time. I could barely walk down the street, which I loved. Everyone wanted pictures. I was able to love on a lot of people and take pictures and go and promote the show like I was supposed to, so every Tuesday night at 10:00 pm, I want ya’ll to be watching, “Ambitions.”
That is an amazing show. I think Robin Givens Essence Atkins, Brian J. White and obviously the character you are playing are doing an amazing job of bringing this onscreen drama to light. You show so much passion in the roles that you play. Is that just who you are as a person or is that all acting?
Brely Evans: I think it’s coming across both ways. After I read the script my heart went out. Because these things are happening right now in the city of Atlanta, I’m from Oakland, California. The prices are sky high right now to live there. I talked to someone in New York, it’s happening there; in D.C. So, it gave me a passion beyond acting. The voice that I’m carrying is actually for real people.
You are currently involved in two projects, “Ambitions” and the Netflix show, “Black & Privileged” which both touch on gentrification. It’s a very important topic, I’m sure it’s important to you to be involved in these types of conversations.
Brely Evans: It’s so important. I don’t know what, God is doing, but he’s definitely making me a voice for the voiceless. I shot the show, “Black & Privileged” before I even got, “Ambition.” So, I had no idea that this was coming down the pipeline. It’s just funny because that’s how, God works. He knows your end and your beginning. He was already getting me in that mode and if you watch, “Black & Privileged,” I was on the other side of the gentrification.
You show a lot of diversity in your roles. Do you feel that is key to these roles to continue to pour in?
Brely Evans: I think the very thing is knowing that I’m not in competition with anyone but myself, keeps me focus on, “How can I push myself in this area or that area.” Nobody going to do it like, Brely Evans going to do it; just can’t do it. Even on my best day, I can’t be nobody else. I said that on, “Sister Circle” when I was on a few weeks ago and I think everybody was like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe you said that.” Yes! Nobody can do it like me. I had to have that confidence because, God gave me a set of fingerprints that he only gave to me. You need to feel that way about your set of fingerprints. I’m not saying that I’m better than you, I just realize who I am. That’s the difference between me and maybe someone else. The only competition is with yourself and learning yourself. Becoming so authentically you, that you become a brand without even trying. I’m just being me. I’m not trying to create a brand. I don’t have to because, God already created this brand and he didn’t make no more of them.
I’m beginning to think that there is more than one you because you are all over the place right now.
Brely Evans: I know right. I’ve been from city to city and bouncing all around, but it’s been so much fun promoting, “Ambitions” and making sure people are tuned in. We have been #1 for the last 3-weeks in our category in the African American household from the ages of 18-45. We have been doing really good numbers and we just want everyone to keep watching, don’t quit watching. It’s only going to get hotter; it’s going to get sexier. We also want to make sure that you know, if you are DVR’ing the show, you have to watch it within 3-days. A lot of people do not know that.
I did not know that.
Brely Evans: We don’t get the credit if you don’t. Here’s the thing, I don’t even know if you gotta watch it, just turn it on and go clean your house or cook your dinner or whatever it is you’re doing and then come back and rewind it. As long as you turn that thing on within 3-days, we get the credit. I didn’t know that. It’s like, all this time, why didn’t they tell the people to tell them that? Don’t tell me no inside stuff because I’m going to tell everybody.
You are so talented. You sing, you model and act. Do you feel like at times you’re not doing one or the other enough or more than you would like?
Brely Evans: You know, I would like to be singing more to be honest with you. I’ve been asking my producer friends over and over again and they are like, “When are you going to get in the studio?” And then it’s like, “Oh yeah… okay.” I would like to do some more singing. I just believe that my time will come in each arena and right now, it’s acting.
How special is the OWN Network?
Brely Evans: I think there is nothing better than having our own. Just to play on words, but it’s just the truth. There’s something special when we can celebrate our own. I remember when I used to hear in the media, “Oh, the Oscars don’t celebrate us.” And I was like, “Why not have a “Chocolate Oscars? Why do we need someone else’s award?” I don’t even ask for an award. If I do get an award, that would be great. Actually, I did, the NAACP, and that was fantastic and I’m grateful. I’m super grateful because the NAACP is me. That’s us and that’s where I want to be recognized before I go out seeking somebody else’s accolades. I think it’s fantastic and it is an honor and a privilege, but at the same time, I don’t want us to be focused on the awards. I want us to get the work done and do what we do. We are doctors in a way; performers are. We help people forget about their illnesses, their troubles and their finances. We allow them to lose themselves for a moment and allow them to have some fun and some relief. And sometimes like in, “Black & Privileged,” we’re able to disperse information that you would not know in a real unique way. So, it’s imperative that networks like, OWN exist because we would like to keep telling our stories our way.
I loved, “Black & Privileged” because, I think there are so many films that we can draw from that shows how other races treat us unfairly, but I think it was important to show how we sometimes treat each other as well.
Brely Evans: Isn’t that fantastic. I just want to say… that was the most fantastic. That, Mark Harris who was our writer, producer and director, I just have to tell him, you are so amazing. Because, we do concentrate on the others all the time. What about us doing us wrong? We could be a mighty people if we could just band together.
I know you can’t be at all these places and fulfilling all these roles without having a great team around you.
Brely Evans: Can I just tell you the truth, the truth is, I am still building my team and I have to do a little bit of everything. I have a couple of people around me that I can depend on; Janet and Matthew and Jason and Joy. We are the little train that could. We get it done with just the few of us and everybody is working on a different aspect, but I definitely need an executive assistant, I definitely need executives to help run, “Water Walkers.” I’m in search of people who want to come aboard of a very small company that will be as big as OWN definitely in the near future.
Tell us more about, “Water Walkers.”
Brely Evans: My company is my platform. We are a production company as well as a loan out company. We help people get out of the boat for their hopes and dreams. The boat has lacked, procrastinated, in debt, fear, all of those things are in the boat. We help you step out of the boat and begin to do the impossible which is walking on water. Those principles are all set on keeping your eyes on, Christ. That’s the secret. That’s how we do it. We help people by kind of holding their hand during the process of leaving their 9-5 and coming over to whatever their given talent is. I truly believe that, God has set all of us up with a talent. There is enough money for all of us to be millionaires, but some of us won’t do it because of being afraid. Our company is just here to help guide people to what is already theirs.
When you are surrounded by, Robin Givens, Essence Atkins and the amazing cast of, “Ambitions,” does it help you elevate your game because you know they are brining their A-game?
Brely Evans: Yeah! Ooooh, absolutely! I used to watch, Robin Givens when I was young. I am so blessed to be in the room with her and Essence too. Been doing it forever. Over 20-years she’s been in this game and I’ve been watching them for that long. I grew up looking at these people and definitely had a crush on, Brian [J. White]. It is such a blessing for them to even know my name, call me sis and be real folks with me. I still ask them for selfies. I’m still a fan, but I respect them and what they do. But it’s definitely iron sharpening iron at all times.
You are now in a position to influence people and you do. Who are your influences and some people you perhaps stole a little something from on your way up?
Brely Evans: Nothing is new is under the sun, so you are right when you say stole (laughing). I really looked up to, Queen Latifah. I loved that she’s crossed genres; music and in film. She can just do it all. I look up to her. I really love, Meryl Streep. Every movie I watch her in she just transforms into the character and I no longer remember I’m watching, Meryl until the end. I really love that about her. I also have some other influences outside of the acting world, Les Brown I listen to, Bob Proctor I listen to, Will Smith. I actually listen to him as a mentor as well in the motivational speaking arena. There’s a lot of people. I look at a lot of online ministry; Joel Osteen, TD Jakes. These people who are on social media heavily, I watch them, and I listen to them. So, I’m pulling from everywhere, every arena trying to empower myself, so that I can float over and help other people.
I appreciate your time, it was a pleasure speaking with you and I look forward to Tuesday nights so I can check out, “Ambitions.”
Brely Evans: Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Stay tuned. I would love to talk to you about any new projects I have coming up, so keep your ear to us and stay in touch. Thank you so much. Please have all of your readers follow me @BrelyEvans on Twitter. We live tweet every Tuesday night. It is so fun. You should see the emoji’s and the things people are saying on Twitter. So, make sure you meet us on Tuesday nights starting at 10:00 pm on the east coast, brelyevans on Instagram and it’s actually me, not any of my team members or anything, I’m on Facebook too, so let’s all keep in touch and I will sharpen you as you all sharpen me. You could also visit my site at www.brelyevans.com.