Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil
Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil

Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil’s, Being Mary Jane, is opening the 16th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Being Mary Jane, written by Brock Akil, stars Gabrielle Union as a successful TV anchor whose family doesn’t support her single lifestyle or career ambitions. Being Mary Jane is serving as a backdoor pilot to be BET’s first original drama. It will air on the network in early 2013. The Akils have previously done a series with BET, The Game, and have a production deal with the network. Their film, Sparkle, starring Jordin Sparks and the late Whitney Houston, was released this summer.

With Kerry Washington as the first black female lead on network television since 1974 in Scandal (now available on Netflix Instant—catch up before the Season 2 premiere on September 27) and Meagan Good leading NBC’s midseason murder mystery drama Infamous, I hope that talented writers and directors such as Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil continue to make projects that are committed to giving us more and varied representations of African-American women in both television and film.

Urbanworld runs from September 19-23 in New York City.

Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil's 'Being Mary Jane' Opens Urbanworld Film Festival (The Hollywood Reporter)