Last night was the premiere of BET’s new series, Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union.
Created by Mara Brock Akil (Creator of Girlfriends and BET’s The Game), this show is about a successful journalist who hosts her own show on the fifth-ranked cable news network.
The beautiful 38-year-old is battling with trying to take her career to new heights, but being boggled down by family problems and personal relationship problems.
In other words, like man young black professional women in Atlanta, she’s successful, but has a crazy family that mooches off of her and she can’t find a man.
We all know it. That’s why I believe this show is a hit. It’s real. We all saw how, even though she’s one of the key journalists at her network, she still battles with having to report politically correct stories or entertaining stories versus the social issues she is passionate about.
We had a chance to see her struggle with having her whole immediate family living in her parents’ house, but not making any attempt to help with the rent, let alone find jobs. She has a niece that barely has an education, but keeps popping out illegitimate children. Then of course, she’s looked at as “high and mighty” or “bougie” and talked about… until they need something from her.
Then we had a chance to see her problems with men. There was a married guy she was sleeping with. Then there’s the gay friend who might have been the perfect prospect, and finally, that ex that we can never seem to let go.
Mara Brock Akil said she felt the need to create a show that spoke to black women and men that was a little more real than Girlfriends:
“After a while four women meeting up to eat lunch and discuss their lives everyday became a little far fetched. We all know that sometimes we can’t meet up because of conflicting schedules at work or with family. Then we all know we don’t tell our girlfriends EVERYTHING.”
She also revealed she gets a lot of the ideas from things that go on in her friends’ lives and even encourages them not to tell her if they don’t want it to appear in one of her projects. The part about Mary Jane exposing the affair to her lover’s wife actually came from one of Mara’s friends.
You saw the wife take in the hurtful news then ask Mary Jane, “Now what am I supposed to do with that information?” Mary Jane couldn’t answer, but she did answer when the wife asked if she had any diseases. As a married woman, Mara gave her take:
“This part was needed because it happens. Now Mary Jane was just sitting in the car with her niece who’s pregnant AGAIN for someone else’s boyfriend, not to be “ratchet” then she walked into the store and exposed her lover.
But to be honest with you, if any of you walked in and told me you were having an affair with Salim I don’t know if I could leave him. I’m not letting that man go. Married people work on things and that’s a conversation to have.”
Then we discussed Mary Jane’s character and how it fits so many woman so perfectly:
“I feel like as black women we hide who we really are. Mary Jane Paul isn’t even her real name. Her name is Pauletta Patterson.
That’s one of the first things we do is try to erase. We get so caught up in what’s right in the eyes of mainstream media or corporate america.
Then she want’s to see better for her family. But let’s not forget she’s longing for her own family with a husband and kids and is hitting road blocks at every turn.
Like many of us she seems to have it all, but she’s barely holding it together. It’s honest and that’s why it fits so well.”
There were so many topics of discussing from the state of the black community, to feeling like you’re selling out in your career, to being a middle-aged woman that has never been married and doesn’t have children, to marriage and infidelity, to homosexuality.
This show something for everyone. When I watched the screening I felt someone had been watching me. From her job, to her family, to her love life, I could relate. I’m looking forward to January when the season starts.
I am Mary Jane. Are you?