Head writer and Being Mary Jane creator Mara Brock Akil is doing her part to widen the depth and perception of black women on TV.
Over the past decade, the Kansas City-raised Northwestern alum has been at the helm of several TV phenomenons, including Girlfriends, The Game, and now Being Mary Jane.
Now in season 2 of her hit BET show, starring Gabrielle Union, Brock Akil says she loves pushing the envelope of the storyline of Being Mary Jane.
The show doesn’t shy away from including steamy sex scenes and nudity — when appropriate, of course.
“I think it’s about time we see African-Americans in loving sexual situations,” Brock Akil told theGrio.com. “I don’t think we’re really used to seeing our bodies in that context, and we’re beautiful.”
“Often times, a black woman’s perspective in the history of television and film, we were in the context of being a whore, a prostitute, or we’re in the A-sexual space of a judge and we don’t know what her life is like, it’s like she doesn’t have any sexuality.”
Brock Akil says it was a sex scene between Oprah Winfrey in Danny Glover in 1998’s Beloved that transformed her perception of black actors in love-making scenes on TV and film.
“I remember Oprah did a movie, Beloved, and I’ll never forget this. Her character and Danny Glover had a sex scene, it was a love making-scene. I was at a Magic Johnson’s theatre, so it was predominately African-Americans, and we couldn’t sit through that,” she recalled. “We were uncomfortable with our own image of love. We’ve got to see ourselves in 360 form, and it doesn’t have to be in a pejorative all the time.”
Tune in for an all-new episode of Being Mary Jane tonight at 10/9C on BET.
Follow theGrio.com’s Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon on Twitter @WitherspoonC.