TheGrio's 100: Mara Brock Akil, creator of 'Girlfriends' and 'The Game' keeping black TV alive

theGRIO's 100 - What do 'Moesha,' 'The Jamie Foxx Show,' 'Girlfriends' and 'The Game' have in common (aside from making us laugh?) They all were written, produced or created by television writer and producer Mara Brock Akil...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

What do Moesha, The Jamie Foxx Show, Girlfriends and The Game have in common (aside from making us laugh?) They all were written, produced or created by television writer and producer Mara Brock Akil.

She’s written a new screenplay for an upcoming remake of the 1976 film Sparkle. The movie, which will be released in August, stars the late Whitney Houston.

Akil was born in Los Angeles but raised in mostly in Kansas City, Missouri. After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism, Akil began her writing career on Fox’s critically acclaimed television show South Central. From there she worked her way up the ranks on the hit show Moesha, becoming a producer after four seasons.

She was a supervising producer on The Jamie Foxx Show and went on to create “Girlfriends” after being approached by UPN to come up with her own show. After the sixth season and cancellation of Girlfriends, Akil created The Game in 2006, which was revived by BET last year after The CW cancelled it in 2009.

Mara Brock Akil is making history … as one of the most successful black television writer/producers in the country. Through her shows, Akil has offered the world a glimpse into African-American life and culture, with comedic and entertaining twists that keep us laughing along the way. She has been named one of Essence magazine’s Outstanding Women Under 40 and was featured in Newsweek’s Women And Power issue.

What’s next for Mara?

Akil and her husband signed a multi-year deal with BET last May. Under the agreement their production company, Akil Productions, will develop new shows and work to continue BET’s success with their current lineup of scripted shows. The couple continues to develop other projects.

Mara in her own words …

“Television has more room to explore, and that gives women more of a chance to make inroads,” Brock Akil told Newsweek. “Television has to appeal to the audience in a more real and tangible way, so it only makes sense that women play a role in that. We make up such a large part of the audience that our input is imperative if it’s going to reflect who’s watching.”

A little-known fact about Mara Brock Akil…

Akil’s husband, Salim Akil, directed the hit movie “Jumping The Broom,” starring Paula Patton, Angela Basset and Laz Alonso.

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