After recently starring in hit series for streaming networks including Harlem on Amazon Prime, Family Reunion on Netflix, and Tyler Perry's All the Queen's Men on BET Plus, Ashlee Brian is headed to cable television in a leading role in OWN's new family drama, The Kings of Napa. In the series, Brian plays Christian King, the youngest in the King family of affluent Black winemaking entrepreneurs. The series recently premiered on Tuesday (January 11th), and along with Brian stars Ebonee Noel, Rance Nix, Karen LeBlanc, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Heather Simms, and Yaani King, as members of the King family.
During an interview with The Quintessential Gentleman, in his own words, Brian describes Christian as "trying to find himself, after being forced to fill big shoes after unexpected events." "When I first started reading the script, it was very clear to me the magnitude of the project that it was going to be, and I just wanted to be involved every time I turned the page. This world that Janine Sherman Barrois created is something that exists but I didn't see on TV, and I just thought that that was super special and just dove head into that audition," Brian elaborated.
While Black entrepreneurship is depicted amongst an array of industries from entertainment to fashion, Black winemakers and Black vineyard owners are rarely highlighted in mainstream culture. The few entertainment projects that have depicted Blacks in the wine industry prior to The Kings of Napa include Netflix's 2020 film Uncorked. "The stereotype a lot of times when you're on television (especially), and successful and Black, it's like where's the record deal? Where's the sports contract? Where are the drugs at? And for us to just represent this kind of family was very refreshing, " Brian said.
When it comes to specific tastes, Ashlee shared the similarities b