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The Akils New BET Drama Series "Single Black Female" Gets A Title Change (Thank Goodness For That)

by Tambay A. Obenson
April 4, 2012 2:01 PM
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You'll recall that in my post annoucing the new series, I recommended (and continued to recommend in successive posts) that they change the title of the series to something more interesting than just Single Black Female. Sometimes keeping things simple is a good idea, but that initial title didn't work for me for a number of reasons.

And I'm glad they took my advice *wink*

But a quick recap...

Last May we announced the mega mutil-year production deal between BET/Viacom and husband/wife team, Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, the brains behind the network's hit series, The Game, the movie Jumping The Broom and the upcoming Sparkle remake.

The deal included a 3-year agreement, with commitments to new, original series, which means we should expect more new scripted programming from BET, courtesy of the Akils.

One of those new scripted series is/was an hour-long drama called Single Black Female, which was first announced in February this year and will follow the professional and private family life of a black woman, who is also the host of a popular Atlanta-based talk show host.

Later it was announced that Gabrielle Union had been cast as the lead in Single Black Female.

And finally, moments ago, I received a press release saying that the title had been changed to Being Mary Jane - Mary Jane being the name of the character Union plays, and as I wondered before if that was an arbitrary choice of names, or if there's some meaning behind it; I immediately think of Rick James' song of the same name; and his isn't the only one.

Further, the press release adds:

Being Mary Jane is an opportunity to explore the life of a statistic often reported but never explored.

And you know what all that means, I'm sure :)

But let's see how this is developed; let's see how honest and comprehensive they are allowed to be.

By the way, joining Union in the series will be Aaron D. Spears (The Bold & The Beautiful) and Richard Roundtree.

Aaron Spears will play Mark Bradley, described as "a charismatic co-anchor and close friend to Mary Jane;" Richard Roundtree will play Mary Jane’s father.

Mara Brock Akil is billed as writer and Salim will direct.

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  • Donella | April 5, 2012 1:24 PMReply

    Title is still... not working well.

  • sandra | April 5, 2012 9:40 AMReply

    I hope they put more effort into the show than they have in the title. Also...reading the description of the show gave me heartburn: "Being Mary Jane is an opportunity to EXPLORE the life of a STATISTIC often reported but never explored." That summary doesn't bode well. It should just be entertainment NOT a case study. Sex in the City didn't treat those 30/50-something single ladies as a stat. They were allowed to be bold, unapolegetic and free! When a black woman is navigating the dating world as a lead on a show, this becomes an opportunity to explore an ALIEN being.

  • Yogi | April 4, 2012 7:10 PMReply

    Gabby needs to help them come up with a better name for her character. I prefer the original title to this !

  • Akelah | April 4, 2012 5:19 PMReply

    Title is still wack but ok, and i hope the writing is more like her Girlfriends days not recent The Game writing because it is Hoar-a-ball!

  • Addie Sanders(McInnis) | April 4, 2012 4:56 PMReply

    Ok, so totally disagreed with Single Black close to Single White Female.But Mary Jane? Why not.brainstorm, just a little while longer. NEVER THE LESS, sounds like its A spoof, from the old series on CBS. Which starred Clisa Flockhart. It will however, should be a great watch. ADDIE

  • Joia | April 4, 2012 4:22 PMReply

    Hate it! The inuendo is not positive; and what black woman is named Mary Jane? No one I've ever met. "Single Sistah" sounds like a great title for s sitcom to me.

    Also hate the long stingy hair weave Gabriel is sporting. What happened to
    curls, and black women wearing their own hair, whether it's au naturelle, fried,
    dyed or laid to the side?????? But preferably some curls, and not past the nape
    or shoulders; or a more realistic and/or natural look. When will the weaves disappear?????? PLEEZ!!!!!!

  • BONDGIRL | April 7, 2012 10:38 AM

    You must not have met any black women that look this good. I have long *natural*hair, and so do quite a few of my friends in L.A., NYC, Chicago, and St. Louis. Gabby's hair represents many of us, and is very authentic looking. All brown skinned women do not have hair like Lauryn Hill or Viola Davis, not that there's anything wrong with that. Fake hair in entertainment is so old it's'll never go away. I highly doubt you get this disturbed by seeing Jennifer Lopez's or Kim Kardashian's daily weaves.

  • Geneva Girl | April 4, 2012 4:58 PM

    Uh, Mary Jane Blige?

  • That Regular Guy | April 4, 2012 3:55 PMReply

    This shouldn't come as a surprise. When you take "The Game", "Jumping The Broom", "Sparkle" and "Girlfriends" and mix them all up into one body of work, you can see the product you will get with this new show: melodramatic, female-centric positivity lacking subtext and nuance. Let's not be mad at the team because they can't raise the bar, even if it's just titles.

  • Said in Los Angeles | April 4, 2012 11:56 PM


  • Leon Breckenridge | April 4, 2012 11:08 PM


  • Charles Judson | April 4, 2012 3:32 PMReply

    Why change it to something so generic? Single Black Female is provocative. Being Mary Jane is generic and sounds like a failed NBC pilot from the 1990s. They might as well ask Courtney Cox to play Mary Jane's boss to complete the joke.

  • LA Industry writer | April 4, 2012 3:16 PMReply

    HATE IT!! Leave it to BET to find some ill in the Black community to promote - in this case drug use. Trying to further screw up the young demographic that keeps them on the air.

    Meanwhile, inside BET corporate headquarters.

    BET Exec: Hmm, how can we use our influence to further promote the destruction of the Black community?

    Exec 2: Let's see we've got misogyny covered - check. We just don't promote drugs enough. How can we integrate this into our latest scripted programming?

    Exec 1: Let's get head devil on the line is Stephen available?

    Exec 2: It's gotta really be destructive for him to sign off on it. Debra just nods and gets her check. I KNOW we'll make the character slutty to promote the AIDS rate, we're so close to Africa in some cities, and we'll add in drugs. What else can we come up with to further destroy the community?

    Exec 1: Stay tuned . . . we think we got Stephen away from his shoe fetish long enough to join in . . .

  • LA Industry writer | April 5, 2012 9:15 PM

    They have to be comfortable that you'll take their ignorant ass notes, Jorge so they go with who they feel will accomodate. If I were Gabby's people I would find a clause and get her out of this attachment. As in my future endorsements would suffer as a result of my association with this raggedy mess. I would take an L on that one, it will just hold her up from features. Don't blame the creators or Gabby, they have to adjust to the BET notes. Early signs already they are going to make this a mess. Al's show is just online right?

  • Jorge | April 4, 2012 4:12 PM

    Dropping inside info, huh LA Industry Writer? But hey! *shrugs* My issue is that every scripted show on BET is thru one source. Not hating but what other network does that? There are plenty of AA writers--i.e potential show runners who could use a break and have their own show on a network but BET acts like they aren't able to find talent. Awkward Black girl would have been a radical move! Al Thompson's Odessa would have been great too but Syfy not BET took note and went for it. BET is just not a risk taking network.

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