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If crime dramas are your cup of tea, consider adding Influence to your #quarantineandchill watch list. Based on the Carl Weber novel Influence: Death of the Beach, the film follows the story of Grammy Award-winning singer Savannah Kirby (played by Deborah Cox) who is accused of murdering her husband, Kyle Kirby (played by Anthony Hamilton).

“She’s a very self-absorbed celebrity in a high-profile relationship,” Cox told MadameNoire. “I wanted to get involved because it was a different genre. I’ve never done anything like that before, a legal thriller. It was something that intrigued me.”

In addition to making her mark in film, the singer-songwriter continues to release new music. At the top of the year, she debuted her latest single “Easy Way,” which serves as an anthem for couples who find themselves navigating the more challenging aspects of sustaining a long-term relationship. After more than 20 years of marriage, the “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here” singer is certain that having a friendship with your partner is what will carry the relationship through the peaks and valleys of building a life with someone.

“It’s so important to have a friendship first. When the romance is fading and all of that other sort of perfunctory stuff is done, I think you have to be friends. In my case, Lascelles and I were friends first. I think that’s why our situation really works because, at the end of the day, we’re friends. We can hang out and make each other laugh for hours and be good with just that. We have a lot in common, it’s just the connection that we have.”

The couple shares three children — two middle school-aged girls and a son in high school. Their hands are full without even factoring in Deborah’s career. The 45-year-old admits that being a working mom continues to be a challenge.

“I think it’s really about juggling more than it is about balance and when you can accept some of the balls falling and you can accept that not everything is going to perfect,” she said. “I just learned that it’s really about being okay with it not always being okay. You want to be the best mom. You want to be the best wife. You want to be everything to everyone and that’s impossible. But if you can just please yourself and be happy with whatever goals you set for yourself, then at least you’ve made yourself happy and then everybody can come after that.”

In these times, it feels as though you’re ignoring the elephant in the room if you don’t ask people how they’re doing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. So I did. As it turns out, Cox and her family are handling the transition well. In fact, not a lot is different because their family structure was already adjusted in response to a previous national tragedy.

“It hasn’t changed our household that much because we’ve been homeschooling our girls since the Parkland shooting. We’re here in Parkland. It hit our area and ever since that tragedy, I was just completely paranoid and upset about what was going on in the schools and just decided, for our girls, to home school.”

Deborah continued: “It really worked well for our family because I was touring a lot, I just came off of The Bodyguard musical. It allowed a lot of flexibility. And now, the whole nation has been forced to do that for the next couple of months. I think a lot of people are going to find that it’s actually pretty helpful. The kids get a lot more rest. You are able to monitor what they’re learning more, but the pressure is on, You really have to work closely with the teachers.”

Influence is available for streaming on BET+

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