Young, Black, Fabulous & Gifted, Mary Brock Akil’s “Being Mary Jane’s” lead character Pauletta Patterson, or ‘Mary Jane’ as she is known to her fans, has set an exceptional standard. “Being Mary Jane”, who by many has been coined the modern day “Girlfriends”, is a very accurate up-to-date depiction of the life of the single, professional Black woman in her prime. Where there is a dependable definition of what a #GirlBoss is, we are confident that a picture of Mary Jane Paul wouldn’t follow too far behind!Mary Jane is a journalist, serving as a news anchor on her show, “Talk Back”. We watch as Mary Jane’s promise of financial satisfaction and celebrity, compete with her beliefs that as a Black woman with a platform and a voice she is compelled to target her show to her Black audience in which she resonates. We all remember the episode where Being Mary Jane made television history, as she sat down with India Arie, Michaela Angela Davis, and Mark Anthony Neal and fearlessly attacked and ultimately embraced the #UglyBlackWoman syndrome. The entire segment, this panel sat and discussed the strong existence and importance of #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackLove in the Black community. If we weren’t already, that is the day Miss Mary Jane had us hooked.
“Being Mary Jane” breaks social barriers as it bravely confronts different important issues in the Black community that are usually disregarded. To name a few, “Being Mary Jane” uses its major platform to address how homosexual Black men are treated in the media, matters of police brutality against Black women, the stereotype of teen pregnancy amongst Black women, as well as stresses the topic of poor mental health in the Black community and effects of that on a person. “Being Mary Jane” forces us to not only acknowledge, but live in the truths of our society.
Falling in a ‘love drought’ isn’t the hardest thing to do. Especially as a very busy, high profile mature Black woman. Throughout the three seasons Mary Jane has been swinging on our heart strings like a wrecking ball, she’s been fighting the good fight of finding a husband to achieve the family to match the image of “perfect”. (Aren’t we all?) Man after man, Mary Jane realizes that the trivia of love and lust can be a difficult game to play; yet her desire to feel loved never seems to dissipate, only intensity as we all sit on edge, waiting for which man will be the next Mary Jane Paul!
It is no secret that in today’s society, Black women are largely the bread winners of their families. Being Mary Jane sheds light on this matter, giving a very personal look into the life of the modern day career-driven Black woman. Mary Jane is consistently there to check and regulate, as well as disperse the necessary funds in effort to keep her family stabilized. Selflessly and wholeheartedly, Mary Jane is her family’s rock.Mary Jane struggles with heartbreak, rejection, racism and misogyny, insecurities as well an alcohol problem. Yet somehow, she is able to tap into that resilience that Black women are known to have deep within them, and make lemons into Lemonade. Mary Jane, like all of her viewers, only wishes to find happiness within her life. This woman, through all the money and popularity, still only seeks to find resolve.
Gabrielle Union so perfectly adds life to her character, Mary Jane, by revealing the vulnerable fragile side of a so powerfully bound and independent woman. For many women, Mary Jane, is a superwoman; a true warrior simply trying to survive through pain, and tiredness, in the end, coming out on top.
Are you sold yet? You can keep up with “Being Mary Jane” on BET every Thursday night at 10P/ 9C! We’re sure you will not be disappointed.