Women Rock: Mara Brock Akil

6th Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon held at the Beverly Hills hotel

Who is Mara Brock Akil?

Mara puts pen to paper and creates real people who share (via television and film) authentic experiences we face in this thing called life. Girlfriends, The Game, Cougar Town, Sparkle, South Central, The Jamie Foxx Show, and Moesha… Mara’s had a hand in them all. Check her resume, she rocks!

Girlfriends, the first show created by Mara, is one of my all-time faves. It was so good that I had to buy boxed sets. I’m anxiously awaiting her new series Being Mary Jane, which debuts in 2014 and stars Gabrielle Union.

Mara captures the complex lives of individuals (esp. African American women) and serves them up on a plate of awesome with the help of her diverse team. That team includes her husband/partner Salim Akil.

You know they’re the bosses over at Akil Productions (formerly Happy Camper Productions), right? Let’s say it together: Power couple!

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of spending time with Mara and Salim as they honestly (not Hollywood honest) uncovered their relationship in a panel at the BET Experience. They shared how they keep their marriage in tact and manage their business relationship.

Aside from dynamic partner and skilled writer, Mara also proudly hold the titles; successful producer, devoted wife and nurturing mother. From where I stand, she does it all with style and grace.

Mara is an ah-MAy-zing Los Angeles born, Kansas City raised individual rocking the world. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Unlike Dorothy and Toto, Mara worked hard to create the life she lives, she didn’t just click her heels.

Fun Fact: (Cue Kanye West’s Through The Wire) She’s a Delta, so she’s been throwing up that dynasty sign.

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Tyler Perry’s The Haves & the Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbor

THATHNcastatLAscreeningCast members at the Los Angeles press party (photo credit: Nicolle Whalen)

Fascinated with BFFs Tyler Perry and Oprah’s new partnership, I’ve patiently waited to check out the new projects on OWN.

Last week, I attended the press party for both series. The event, held at SLS Beverly Hills, featured brief teasers and a Q & A session with cast members. Forthcoming with behind the scenes deets, the casts seemed genuinely excited about their respective shows, so I eagerly awaited the air dates.

Yesterday, I watched the first two episodes of both shows and i’m ready to share my thoughts.

The Haves and the Have Nots is both Tyler and Oprah’s first drama. The premiere episodes definitely brought a boat load of drama. The issues are real and relevant, but there is a soap opera feel to the show.

At the press party cast members emphasized how this drama is much different from soaps that they previously worked on. As a viewer, that boundary is not so clear. I’m curious to see how the show progresses.

As for the comedy,  Love Thy Neighbor, it is the signature Tyler Perry that fans have grown to know and love. The characters are over the top, but authentic. The series ruptured with touchy topics including infidelity, independence and trust.

I hope that continually displaying real issues truthfully will start a shift towards us becoming better people. We realize how silly a situation/idea is when we are on the outside looking in, right?

Share your thoughts below or tweet me @kinkycurlsla.

IMG_2591Tika Sumpter introducing The Haves and the Have Nots teaser

IMG_1736Dynamic duo Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey in Essence Magazine‘s June issue

Because of Them, We Can…

Last month, in honor of Black History Month photographer Eunique Jones released a new photo each day of African Americans past & present who have opened doors for us.

The influential individuals were portrayed by children and included inspirational quotes. Eunique’s campaign is titled “Because of them, We Can.” I love love love this! It’s a creative way to remember and can be used to teach children with a fresh twist.

Check out some of the photos below. More can be found on the Because of Them, We Can website and are available for purchase. There’s a Facebook page too.

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