By// S. Tia Brown
NEW YORK — Thursday night I popped in for a special screening of BET’s new show, Being Mary Jane, at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York City. The project is currently being a dubbed a movie, though it already feels like a series — a good one!
Now, while I’m a fan of the show’s producers, married duo Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, I can be critical. I adored Girlfriends. I’ve enjoyed cheering on The Game. (Sparkle, not so much.) But, Being Mary Jane feels different.
The show deserves a round of applause for really capturing the struggles of our generation of twenty-to-fortysomething women who have all the trappings of success — degrees, homes and bank accounts — sans the highly coveted BMW (Black Man Working). The main character, Mary Jane Paul (Gabrielle Union), is a television anchor who’s not simply hunting for a six-figure brother; she wants true love with a life partner. (Sigh.) What good girl doesn’t?
The good news is Mary Jane has lots of relateable issues: her mother is ill, her brothers are underachievers who both admire and resent her success, her parents are enablers and her boyfriend is married — she didn’t know. Then there’s her job. Obviously, a Porsche and a bad house don’t make being Mary Jane easier… well, maybe a little.
Besides a great script, superb acting and hard-hitting topics, BMJ’s biggest coup is its quality. This is no bootleg BET flick. Everything — from the writers to the locations to the camerawork and editing — is top notch. BMJ sets a great precedence for excellence at BET.
And check out our gallery below for photos from the premiere.