Writer and director Mara Brock Akil is the woman behind some of our favorite television shows. She’s made us laugh till our sides hurt with Girlfriends, served up juicy drama with The Game and Being Mary Jane, and helped bring a super cool, crime-fighting hero to life with Black Lighting.
In her latest effort, Love Is__, Brock Akil is giving fans a glimpse inside her marriage to her creative partner, Salim Akil, and it’s helping many to give romance a try. While Brock Akil has been wildly successful, there’s one story that she still wishes she could tell.
After eight seasons on the air, Girlfriends was abruptly canceled in 2008, bringing an end to Brock Akil’s popular sitcom. The show never got a proper ending and fans have been hoping that it would return to the screen to give Joan, Toni Lynn, and Maya the wrap up they deserved. And they aren’t alone. On a recent episode of ESSENCE's Yes, Girl! podcast, Brock Akil said she’s been trying for years to bring Girlfriends to the big screen.
“I have tried,” the writer confessed. “Back in the day I would have done it for $5 million, or make a dollar out of 15 cents to tell this story. There’s been times where you might get some interest from the studios, but you don’t have all the actors, or you have the actors, but you don’t have the studio.”
While she really wants Girlfriends to make it to theaters, Brock Akil isn’t interested in rushing a movie just to wrap things up.
“I’m just claiming that the story needs to be told, big, epicly, and right,” she said.
It’s been a decade since Girlfriends aired its last episode, and in spite of her love for the series, Brock Akil said she’s had to move on from their story so she could continue to tell other narratives.
“I can’t stay there, because if I stay there I can’t breathe new life, i.e. the new show Love Is__,” she explained.
“I have to let go of those characters. It was hard not to give them an ending. I’m very connected and passionate about what I put out in the world, and I want to get things safely to shore,” Brock Akil continued. “With Girlfriends, even with The Game, or even with Being Mary Jane, I didn’t get a chance to wrap up the story and more specifically, show love. It’s been in me, and I’ve been living it, and I’ve happy to be able to fully express it.”
Though she’s fully invested in her latest project, Love Is__, Brock Akil has a message for those who really want to help Girlfriends get to the screen.
“To a studio that has $50 or 60 million that wants to go make an amazing ending to an epic television series,” she said, “let’s go do it.”