BET’s ‘Being Mary Jane’: Relatable

Gabrielle Union's character is the opposite of Scandal's Olivia Pope. But in a good way.

“A wonderful career, a beautiful house.”

By now we know that Mary Jane does not do everything right, and the great career and picture-perfect house are far from enough. Would it be enough for anybody? She wants more than just the trappings of a happy life. She wants to inhabit that life wholly — the same goal for which most human beings are striving.

That’s the magic Akil has captured in Being Mary Jane. The show is relatable and authentic in that head-nodding and cringe-inducing kind of way. We’re watching Mary Jane make the mistakes so many of us have made and rooting for her to do better, because if she wins, then perhaps we all can.

I remember when Akil and I sat down at Starbucks all those years ago. She told me that she’d always been fascinated with the image of just a black woman alone, looking in the mirror and getting ready for her day — that quiet moment before she goes out to face the world. I think Being Mary Jane will show us exactly that.

Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.