It ain't easy running a hit show, but Mara Brock Akil, executive producer of "The Game" does it with style and grace-all while nearly nine months pregnant with her second child, Nasir, who is due to make his grand entrance on November 25. "This is my second boy and I don't mean to make anyone jealous, but I haven't had any morning sickness," says Akil, who gained 33 pounds of "basketball" belly craving glazed donuts, banana splits, nectarines and Fuji apples. "The difference is that the first time I was pregnant it was all about me and my husband's emotions, but now our first son, Yasin, is four and we're experiencing it through his eyes and watching his feelings develop for his little brother. He's so in love with Nasir already."
BFFs Sara Finney, a show writer and executive consultant, and Erica Montolfo, coexecutive producer and writer, cohosted a beachfront affair at Montolfo's Malibu home. "It was all about relaxation-very California with flip-flops and just good vibes," said Montolfo, whose known Akil for eight years. "Mara was happy to be around her family and friends." Finney, whose known Akil for a decade, echoed Erica's sentiments of just enjoying good company with their favorite girl. "When Mara thanked each and every one present and expressed her gratitude for having a village of a support to raise a second Black male, especially with having a new Black president, everybody cried. It was very touching, says Finney." The female-only soiree of forty guests included Tia Mowry and "The Secret Life of Bees" director Gina Prince-Bythewood." who received invites with a special message from Akil's hubby Salim explaining the significance of each of their sons' names. After all the fun and games of baby word scrabble, everyone received beach-inspired gift bags which included gift certificate for free manicures and pedicures, complementary eyebrow shaping and Havaianas flip-flops. Instead of asking for gifts, Akil asked that each of her guests buy Nasir a book and sign it with a special message. "My first baby shower for Yasin I received so much stuff that I never even got to use," remembers Mara. "This time, I wanted a keepsake for my son so years from now he can remember how loved he was by his extended family."
Days before her private affair with close family and friends, the cast of "The Game," including Mowry and Hosea Chanchez, surprised Akil with an office shower. "My husband and I are not easily fooled, especially when it comes to work," says Akil whose husband Salim, former executive producer-director of Showtime's defunct series "Soul Food" serves as a producer and director on "The Game." "When I couldn't find my assistant who was running around organizing everything, my hormones started to kick it and I was becoming cranky and easily annoyed. When my boss called me in for an impromptu meeting, I was welcomed by everyone-even my son Yasin was there. I was really surprised. It was beautiful!"
Like most expectant moms, Akil loves the beauty benefits of strong nails, healthy hair and glowing skin, but more importantly feels blessed to bring another life in this world. "I overheard my husband telling someone I was meant to be pregnant," Akil laughs. "I think pregnancy, like life, is what you make it. I received a good hand. I'm thankful and blessed and so peaceful and can't wait to welcome my son."