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A Kickstarter Campaign To Fund A 'Girlfriends' Movie? Mara Brock Akil Considers The Idea...

by Tambay A. Obenson
March 14, 2013 8:57 PM
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The above is a tweet from Mara Brock Akil early this morning (7:36am/EST to be exact), very likely inspired by the unprecedented success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign I ruminated on yesterday. By the way, in 24 hours, that campaign has raised more than $3.1 million - with 29 days still to go in the campaign. If contributions continue at this rate, who knows what the end tally will be? You'd figure that, at some point, the pace at which contributions are being made will start to slow down. Although, when the series was on TV, it was averaging 2.5 million viewers. As of this post, 47,000 people have contributed to the Kickstarter campaign; so, there's still lots of upside potential.

But back to Mara Brock Akil's tweet... I actually didn't even know about it until this evening, when actress Reagan Gomez mentioned it a number of times on my Twitter feed. Naturally, I had to follow the conversations which led me back to Mara's tweet at 7:36 in the morning.

She actually doesn't have a lot of followers - around 1,200 (although the Akil Productions Twitter account, which is obviously separate, does) - so it doesn't look like the Tweet really traveled, and I'm guessing a lot of folks (like myself) weren't aware of it. 

But if you're reading this, now you know.

So, if you want to see a Girlfriends movie (which Mara created), and you would definitely contribute to a Girlfriends Kickstarter campaign (like those rabid Veronica Mars fans did), follow Mara on Twitter, if you're not already, and tell her that (). And also *like* the Akil Productions Facebook page.

I assume she's serious about this, and it's not just a stunt. I checked her Twitter page, and she hasn't retracted since the above post last night. So I assume if the news of her announcement goes viral, and she receives a healthy number of responses in support of a film and crowd-funding campaign, then she'll act.

Girlfriends averaged around 4 million viewers in its early seasons, and ended with around 2 million viewers before it went off the sir. So its fan-base is really just about the same size as the Veronica Mars fan-base. The question of course is whether fans of Girlfriends want to see a feature film based on the TV series, and its characters...

And if not Girlfriends, what would you like to see revived and would contribute to?

As of this post, there were 93 retweets of Mara's tweet. I expect that number (which you can watch above) to suddenly start to rise once this news spreads... we'll see.

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  • Marie | March 20, 2013 3:40 PMReply

    It would be weave-tastic! Thanks, but I'll put my money towards other projects.

  • Livie | March 21, 2013 1:26 PM

    Ever since Mara lifted all those ideas and storylines from that book "Interceptions" for her new sitcom The Game, I have no respect for that woman.

  • I'll Say It Again | March 19, 2013 5:28 PMReply

    I said this on Tambay's previous post about V. Mars, and from the comments, here my unscientific observational survey is, somewhat, correct. Crowdfunding working for black movies will be tricky because we're a much more fickle, less cohesive audience when it comes to supporting these types of ventures. And we don't have the discretionary $$$ to spend on folly such as this. ... And I agree with other posters, The Akils have $$$, they're just jumpin' on the bandwagon. Additionally, although some posters said they were fans I'm guessing that a large majority of the audience for girlfriends aren't aware of Kickstarter, so the conversation is really a non-starter, when it comes to them.

  • Dave Smiley from Wheeling, W. Virginia | March 18, 2013 6:48 PMReply

    Why would we be surprised that the Akils are jumping onto the Kickstarter bandwagon? The Akils have already funded their big, fancy home and their kids private school/college funds off the backs of poor folks, marketing a sub-par product to a people over-eager to see "positive" black images. Aaanyway, I do hope they find the money to create a proper series finale, the last episode left so many unanswered questions!

  • dee | March 18, 2013 10:19 AMReply

    I would love to see a proper ending to Girlfriends. I was a fan from the beginning. However, why does AKIL Production need funding for this project. I think that they have enough money to fund there own projects. The movie does not need to go mainstream. A made for tv movie would suffice.

  • ALM | March 17, 2013 10:27 PMReply

    I would definitely like to see the series wrapped properly. I think it needs to wrap on television, i.e. a two hour movie or three 1 hour mini series pieces on a network such as TV One.

    My question is, what will the incentives be? DVDs of the movie if you give $20? The Akils need to be brainstorming about this sort of thing, because off the top I don't see great incentives in return for the money, unless they are going to promise something such as a fan Skype chat with Tracee Ellis Ross or Jill Marie Jones, etc.

  • Katie | March 16, 2013 10:57 AMReply

    No, I'm not supporting this fundraising. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other crowd funding sites are for individuals, who without these options, would not be able to make their dreams, creativity, and innovations a reality. These people have money, stop playing and fund your own film.

  • ALM | March 17, 2013 10:28 PM

    Well, the people behind "Veronica Mars" are doing it, and Whoopi Goldberg did it for the Moms Mabley project, and none of those individuals are broke.

  • Donella | March 15, 2013 6:25 PMReply

    I wonder would the Akils consider slicing off public shares of the gross profits? So we could all own a piece of the pie in exchange for contributing ingredients.

  • Jeni | March 15, 2013 4:29 PMReply

    Not feeling the idea. Might tune in for a Sunday night TV movie, but I definitely wouldn't go to the theater to see it. I lost interest around the time Toni fell in love with the doctor, and basically stopped watching altogether around the time she exited.

  • ALM | March 17, 2013 10:29 PM

    @ Jeni: If they can't get Jill Marie Jones to sign on, the project is DOA. Tons of people stopped watching when she exited. I bet her exit is the sole reason for the viewership plummeting to half.

  • Greg | March 15, 2013 12:03 PMReply

    I'll support it, but only if they guarantee that Khalil Cain won't be reprising his role. I can't stand that dude.

  • ALM | March 17, 2013 10:30 PM

    @ Greg: Tell us how you really feel. What did Khalil do to you? :)

  • Phill | March 15, 2013 11:04 AMReply

    I enjoyed the show and thought it deserved a proper sendoff. That said, I'm going to stick to throwing $20 to artists who actually NEED the cash and opportunities.

  • PK | March 16, 2013 1:51 PM

    *edit* ^ money where your mouth is.
    ^ for art's sake.

  • Pk | March 16, 2013 1:48 PM

    You liked the show & in essence, would appreciate a movie but would not put your money where your enough ...because the creator can pay for it? Well can she? With "The Game" & the upcoming " Being Mary Jane" series & eh..being black creatives the money is not guaranteed and distribution isn't sealed. Donating $10 then seeing it in a theater for $13 is not much to show you're in support. "Veronica Mars" creator has "90210" out & lead Kristen Bell is on "House of Lies" every sunday but their fans gave and are still giving money because they support their entertainment for arts same.

    What studio is giving the Akils money for a black sitcom to "maybe" make money in theaters?

  • CC | March 15, 2013 11:03 AMReply

    " very likely inspired by the unprecedented success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign I ruminated on yesterday"

    That may be true... HOWEVER... I smell a deeper flavor in this hen house. Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor, but this smells like the rich are begging and stealing from the poor. That seems to be the new trend.

    But lets say this is not motivated by a wolf in sheep's clothing. A peek behind the screen might reveal an interesting fact... or two.

    Yesterday, with little money in my pockets, I was encouraged to plunk down a few quaters to watch Oz the Great and Powerful. I loved the original Wizard of Oz, and The Wiz is dear to my heart. So the mention of anything "Oz" related had my nose wide open. But lord have mercy, a slooooow and boooooooorrring love story paled in comparison to the previous versions. Yep, that's what I said... the Wizard of Oz was turned into a boring ass love story. No, I am not talking about Dorothy falling in love with anybody. In fact, there was no Dorothy character in the film. I'm talking about the Wizard winking and blinking at two of the witches. Yep, ol' Wiz actually swapped spit with two of the wicked witches (one wins his heart). And, to make matter worse, Toto was replaced by a flying monkey. No, not the monkey "O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!" guards of the original Oz, but a 3 foot flying monkey (wearing a porter's hat) was a companion on this yellow brick road.

    But back to Girlfriends and these new wizards. When I pull back the curtain, I don't see Richard Pryor nor a gray haired white guy, I see the Akils. So it behooves me to find the inner working of the original series.

    In the history of the show's entire 172 episodes, 22 writers and 16 directors received credits. Salim Akil (everyone's favorite) directed 13 episodes. His wife, Mara, received writing credits on 31 episodes. So before we put our lean money in the pockets of fat cats, wouldn't it be wise to see the whole picture?

    I'd be interested to know who would pen the script and who would sit in the directors chair? That new "Oz the Great and Pitiful" broke me of letting my past emotions control my dollars. And I still don't understand why rich folks, ask poor folks for some of their scratch?

  • PK | March 22, 2013 2:32 PM

    ...The Oz movie you saw is a prequel. There's no Dorothy because she didn't exist in the world yet. It's not the male version of "The Wizard of Oz"

    There are over 40 books about the Land of Oz, 14 of them from the original creator....Dorothy's is just one story

  • CC | March 15, 2013 9:31 PM


  • Nadia | March 15, 2013 6:56 PM

    Welp, I don't completely disagree with you. But here's the thing, other people are doing it, so why not them. I remember the post about Whoopie Goldberg trying to raise money for her Moms Mabley documentary and that same question was asked: why can't she fund it herself. She only needed $50,000. She makes at least a million a year hosting The View. Surely she could come with damn $50,000. White folks are doing it, black folks too, so the Akils are just jumping on that bandwagon, and I can't fault them. If people are willing to give then it won't stop.

  • Donella | March 15, 2013 6:24 PM

    This was my first thought when I saw Whoopi Goldberg's Kickstarter campaign. But I do believe this is the same formula that politicians use when they seek political campaign funds.

  • Sweeta | March 15, 2013 12:12 PM

    "In the history of the show's entire 172 episodes, 22 writers and 16 directors received credits. Salim Akil (everyone's favorite) directed 13 episodes. His wife, Mara, received writing credits on 31 episodes."

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I would call "added perspective."
    And though I don't think the poor'll be putting their money in the hands of the rich. Honestly, I don't think the Akils have done it yet because they don't have it, I'm wondering of they've sought out resources from those who do--like 1,000fold. There's so much damn concentrated wealth in this frickin country (Black and otherwise), I'd be DAMNED if I give before Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kobe, and Will does. DAMNED, I say!

  • ChgoSista | March 15, 2013 10:55 AMReply

    "Even the fat chick who played Jill Marie Jones' sister"-->REALLY, Winston? How old are we now?

  • Donella | March 21, 2013 1:45 PM

    Melissa McCarthy lights up every project she's in. Anytime I see her name, I know it's going to be a hilarious time. She reminds me of Danny McBride, stealing scenes in supporting roles.

  • Akimbo | March 20, 2013 4:04 PM

    Daniel, look at the last two weeks of posts on this blog and tell me what types of black women you see booking pilots: LIGHT SKINNED MODEL TYPES. Fuck out of here with that BS. There are white, Latin, & Asian counterparts to Gabouree, Mo'nique, & Latifah, and the simple fact that you can name but three versus the plethora of skinny "multiethnic types" negates your point. Are you mad at Kathy Bates, Sara Rue, Nikki Blonsky, Rebel Wilson, Melissa McCarthy, Rosie O'Donnell, Roseanne, and Camryn Manheim, too? There's room for talented actors of all shapes and sizes, but some of y'all just can't stand to see an overweight black woman succeed.

  • Daniel | March 19, 2013 5:38 PM

    Hollywood prefers the fat black woman over the sexy black woman. Notice Gabourey Sibide, Queen Latifah, Monique types getting work yet the beautiful black women do not. People are not digging deeper and realizing Hollywood prefers the ugly fat black woman over the sexy one because they aren't viewed as a threat. Thank goodness for Kerry Washington, and Megan Good because we need more of those sisters getting high profile roles.

  • ALM | March 17, 2013 10:35 PM

    "A better example would be "wtf, Kim Kardashian is in a movie but Jill Marie Jones can't book one?".

    Preach! The doors of the church are now open.

  • Akimbo | March 15, 2013 3:01 PM

    I understood very clearly your point and I disagree with it. Being good looking or better looking than someone else doesn't entitle you to a career. Fuck yes Yvette should be working over Golden Brooks because Yvette is TALENTED. Retta is talented. Viola Davis, Aisha Hinds, CCH Pounder, Chandra Wilson, Paula Newsome, S Epatha Merkerson all (and so many more) talented women who deserve careers over the Jennifer Nicole Freemans, Paula Pattons, Kent Masters Kings, Stacey Dashes, Leila Arcieris, Brooklyn Sudanos, Rochelle Aytes, LisaRayes, Erica Hubbards, and Porshia Whites of the world. Your analogy doesn't work because health (in which weight is a factor) has everything to do with a foot race and nothing to do with acting. A better example would be "wtf, Kim Kardashian is in a movie but Jill Marie Jones can't book one?"

  • Winston | March 15, 2013 12:46 PM

    @Akimbo-- Exactly! That's what I was trying to say. It's like if your kid lost a foot-race to a fatter kid, you'd be like "WTF just happened out there? This ain't even right." You'd want to know how this could be! I'm glad somebody understands where I'm coming from.

  • Akimbo | March 15, 2013 12:28 PM

    Because you used "fat" as a negative and unnecessary descriptor. Your comment boiled down to, "if the fat chick can get work, why the hell can't the sexy ones?"

  • Winston | March 15, 2013 11:57 AM

    And for the record, I think she's a beautiful sister. But that's how I remember her. As the beautiful fat chick who played Toni's sis.

  • Winston | March 15, 2013 11:55 AM

    What did I say?!! Why is it acceptable to call people "skinny", but not "fat"? What would have been more acceptable? "Plump"? "Big"? "Heavy"? "JUICY"?!!

  • Winston | March 15, 2013 8:35 AMReply

    Forget that. Can we just get these talented women working on a regular basis again? If they keep doing 'Girlfriends'-related projects, they'll be typecast forever. That series wasn't exactly groundbreaking, but it allowed us to observe the blossoming of 4 special actresses. Why is it that they aren't doing good TV anymore? Even the fat chick who played Jill Marie Jones' sister is a regular on a major network now. Why aren't these women ever considered for roles on shows like 'Scandal', 'The Good Wife', or similar programs? We have to let 'Girlfriends' go, otherwise that's where they'll remain forever.

  • ALM | March 17, 2013 10:34 PM

    @ Winston: Wow, insensitive much? You boiled Yvette Nicole Brown, an attractive and talented actress, down to her weight. Sad.....

  • Donella | March 15, 2013 6:21 PM

    I agree that Yvette Nicole Brown is GOOD. Community would not be Community without her.

  • Akimbo | March 15, 2013 3:03 PM

    No, you were coming from a sexist place that somehow makes an actresses appearance more important than her acting ability.

  • Winston | March 15, 2013 12:48 PM

    @Akimbo-- You're losing me! I thought you understood where I was coming from. I was coming from a loving place.

  • Akimbo | March 15, 2013 11:57 AM

    Probably because Yvette Nicole Brown acts cicles around the utterly dreadful Golden Brooks and Portia White. Have you seen Community? in five minutes of a single episode she outshines anything the other two did in Girlfriends' entire run. I can't explain Jill Marie Jones & Tracee Ellis Ross' failure to take off, other than the fact that the "late 30s-40s but still hot" category is overcrowded, not just for black women, but all actresses. Halle, Nia, Taraji, Gabrielle, Sanaa, Garcelle, Gina Torres, the infernal Paula Patton, Nicole Ari Parker, Vanessa L Williams (though a little older), Regina Hall, Regina King, Tisha Campbell, and Tichina Arnold (I'm sure I missed a few), are all higher on the offer list.

  • Aaron | March 15, 2013 8:16 AMReply

    I would put some paper down to support this. I miss this show.

  • MissWildfire | March 14, 2013 9:35 PMReply

    Oh my goodness, I was just thinking about this. I would love to see a Girlfriends movie!!! I hope this campaign gets started and is successful.

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