*It’s BET’s #1 original drama series and has been nominated for four NAACP Image Awards!
EUR caught up with “Being Mary Jane” creator and executive producer, Mara Brock Akil, to talk about race, police brutality and season two.
Mara Brock Akil: It’s interesting that “Being Mary Jane” is going to air post these situations because we cover some of these issues. Mary Jane’s (Gabrielle Union) oldest brother is dealing with some of the Mike Brown and Eric Garner issues… just being black, a man, and being treated any kind of way. But these were issues before Ferguson because they’re already in the fabric of our life. I think this is really new for white America, we’ve been dealing with this. The new thing is, we are going to deal with it until change happens.
A lot of this is reflected in the season. I was already dancing around these subjects, however had we been writing and producing at the time this was happening, I probably would’ve went in harder. We have a scene about a cop just pulling you over because they can. In this way it’s just an everyday occurrence for Patrick (Richard Brooks), we treat it like its normal. If we were to shoot that scene today, we’d have to go in deeper. In the office, Mary Jane is fighting for stories about black people and puts herself on the line for what’s right.
Mara Brock Akil: A lot of rebuilding! Mary Jane walked away from David (Stephen Bishop) and while it’s fun to make an empowering move…sometimes that is all you have planned. So she’s like, ‘what’s next…’ the new season is picking up from that moment.
Viewers will see how she puts her life back in order without David. This theme runs throughout the season, even with her family…with the idea that sometimes you have to take two steps backwards, to move forward. Mary Jane is tested and put through the fire because sometimes when your life is not going great in one area, you shift into other area. Work is a big force, she and Kara (Lisa Vidal) are going to be tested.
Also, Mary Jane is successful and beautiful, so she is attractive to other people…and while she is trying to heal from one situation, she still has suitors. A myth that I’ve always wanted to break, is the idea that the single woman is always alone. You are in one respect but there are options out there…the question is, is the right one out there.
Mara Brock Akil: To get four nominations, in our first season, is an honor and a blessing! I’m very happy for everyone to be acknowledged for their hard work.
Mara Brock Akil: Always! I’m always trying to out beat myself. When I stop trying to outdo myself, that’s when it’s time for me to hang it up.
“Being Mary Jane” returns to television February 3, 2015 at 10 p.m.