One of the highest rated shows on television right now is Being Mary Jane. Many fans of the show relate to Gabrielle Union’s character because she could be any of us. A black woman, with everything going on in their lives, but with their own flaws. Both relationship and personality. Her pretty isn’t perfect. Mara Brock Akil, the creator of Being Mary Jane, says she isn’t out to portray picture perfect black women.

In an interview with Essence, Akil spoke candidly about the characters she wants to create and why she doesn’t want to create angelic women.

“I think that’s just as damaging as negative images,” she said. “When Black women say ‘Can you write positive images?’ it’s just a reaction to something that was a lie to begin with. The negative images out there were a lie and to paint them with positive images is a lie too, so you’re just painting lies on top of lies.”

“Our truth is beautiful; we are enough,” she added. “Within our beautiful frailties and flaws is where our humanity exists – between those extremes. No one is perfect. I mean, I tell my kids that every day. You can’t be perfect; so don’t try to be. Just do your best and sometimes your best falls short. The journey of humanity is to get back up again and keep trying, and I think that is what is beautiful about Black women.”

Clutchettes, what do you think about Akil’s comments? Do you think there is room for a black woman on tv who isn’t flawed and ‘angelic’? 

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  • Anthony

    I see her point. For instance, Sidney Portier used to portray characters who were so perfect, that they just weren’t realistic.

    • I understand your point. Some of his roles were super clean. I respect Sidney Portier’s work ethic and his talent. No human being is perfect and showing the imperfections in the human family is fine.

    • Anthony

      A good example was the doctor from “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” The man was so brilliant and good that it was impossible for anyone who was not a hardened racist to say he wouldn’t be a great son-in-law. The flip side was that it sent a message that a black man had to be perfect to be worthy of a white woman. I remember my Mother saying that the whole movie talked about how great Poitier’s character was, while saying nothing about the woman he was planning to marry. Mom said, “What did she have to offer besides white skin and some straight hair?”

    • There is another movie with Sidney Poitier called “For the Love of Ivy.” It is similar to “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” The difference is it shows Sidney Poitier in an imperfect light and his love interests is a black woman (the actress playing the role is Abby Lincoln). The movie “For the Love of Ivy” came out in 1968. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner came out in 1967. The movie did send many messages (the film de-emphasized the personality of the female spouse while it emphasized the personality of Sidney’s character. The movie came out before I was born. My parents lived during that time period), but the truth is that there is nothing wrong with Black Love at all. Sidney Poitier loved to play racial related roles or controversial roles in general.

    • Anthony

      I will see if that is on Netflix.

    • Mary Burrell

      @[email protected]: For The Love Of Ivy, what you know about that youngster? That was one of my favorite movies. I just love how Poiter has such swagger and the black people were so elegant.

    • LOL.

      Good Afternoon Sister Mary Burrell.

      Yes, I may be young, but I know about For the Love of Ivy. They have shown a re-run of the movie some time back. Poitier is a regular, strong black man. You will notice that tons of black people had tons of elegance in the movies back then. Even in the 1990’s, we had Roc, A Different World, Living Single, Hanging with Mr. Cooper, NY Undercover, etc. where black people were shown in diverse, great ways. Today is a different story. We need more shows that reflect the diversity of our people.

  • Mary Burrell

    I love Being Mary Jane