When I watched the premiere episode of "Being Mary Jane", I was already excited because it was about a black woman who I could relate to. Well, not financially, not physically but gosh darnit..we both had ambition and a love for the emotionally unavailable Brotha! It premiered in 2013 during the time of so much black girl magic on television, "Scandal" and "How to Get Away With Murder" I felt I had a bevy of television that spoke to me. While I had seen several films with Gabrielle Union, I wasn't particularly a fan, even though I would argue she is an underrated comedian. In Deliver Us from Eva, a typical rom-com but her monologue in the kitchen of the restaurant during a health code visit I thought was real comedic brilliance. For me "Being Mary Jane" was a game changer and Gabrielle became my show heroine. This post is basically my love letter to Mari Brock Akil and the wonderfulness that was "Being Mary Jane" from 2013-2016. Once the show changed producers, it lost some of that magic for me. There are few shows where I find I almost living vicariously through the characters, with Mary Jane I related to the contradictions in her life. The challenge of having a family that has dysfunction and love which is the reality for most . It is the human complexity of Pauletta ( the character's name) that I appreciate the most. A mixture of confidence, sexual prowess, insecurity and substance dependency. What I valued about Mari Brock Akil is that she didn't offer us a "perfect person" but an actual woman. It was her frailties along with her ambition, that as a grown black woman I could identify and truly appreciate. In a just world, Being Mary Jane would have received more critical attention , politically and culturally I thought it was one of the best in that period. The issues that were woven in between, the suicide of successful blk men, the Psychology Today article re: the Ugly Blk Women, the discovery of love letters between slaves, the proliferation of fatherless blk children, addiction, the challenge of motherhood and career, mass incarceration,cultural identity and on and on. You had a show with 2 women of color as leads who were defined and not defined by their identity. SNC producer Kyra was a fascinating character, a fiercely ambitious woman, loyal to the work with SNC, a dedicated mother, a conflicted Latina and a sexually positive person. The scene where she had a breakdown about brownies for her children's class was real and vulnerable. The character of Marc, his coming out scene with his parents was so black but universal in it's unfolding. The complication of Niecy her rudderless niece, her agonizing lack of personal responsibility and the truth of who she is, would frustrate because of just the realness of it. I was blown away by Loretta Devine, who knew! That was the most interesting role I ever seen Devine play, the contradictions and specificity was exciting to watch. For me personally, when the Akil's left, that mixture of drama and political astuteness left with them. I was much less interested in the romance and rivalry that seem to seep in. The focus on male characters that came to forefront. This is my THANK YOU to the Akil's and specifically Mari Brock Akil for creating the #theblackgirlmagic that was "Being Mary Jane" #gabrielleunion #maribrockakil #saleemakil #bet #blackgirlmagic #television #womenwriters #stories #cable #grownandsexy #love #richardroundtree #blacktelevision
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An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.