Being Mary Jane Creator: ‘I Think Mary Jane Is All of Us’ 

Hollywood powerbroker Mara Brock Akil talks to The Root about her new BET show and what she’s doing to bring out more black voices.

Mara Brock Akil
Mara Brock Akil Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images

MBA: This is not new. There have been times when we’ve sort of ebbed and flowed in the business. It’s been barren, and it’s been a little bit more fruitful, and we are certainly in a fruitful stage. I just hope that … we keep the understanding that the longer we stay in this game, the more experience we have. Also with the advent of social media, we’re able to hold on to an audience. That equals dollars. That keeps us participating in the game of Hollywood. So I think we are at a better place to be more consistent in sustaining and hopefully not go through longer droughts, because at the end of the day whether someone likes our content or not, they like the dollars.

TR: What other projects are you working on?

MBA: I’m excited about the ushering in of new voices. It’s not enough that me and [husband] Salim get to do our thing, the thing we get to feel very excited about. It is very important to me to get other shows on the air, to help other young writers or new voices have their own shows or to be showrunners. [It’s] about community—helping each other, supporting each other, validating each other, but then also pulling each other up to usher them into more work, more projects, more voices.

Being Mary Jane airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on BET.

Lottie L. Joiner is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance writer and senior editor of The Crisis magazine. Follow her on Twitter.

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