BET Producer Mara Brock Akil’s Top 5 Life Lessons

Mara Brock Akil, whose hit series Being Mary Jane is back for a second season, on learning to follow her instincts, create honest TV and love her body.


Independent woman defying the odds? Sign me up. My Mazel of the day and my long time crush shines once more as she shares her top five lessons.

1. My way is the best way.
I value other people’s opinions, but I have to follow my vision because no one is going to express a story the way I will. Even if some people don’t like it, I’m okay with saying, “This is the way I see it.”

2. My characters don’t need to be perfect.
The African American audience often asks me to portray women positively. But I can only create characters that are as real as I am; some days I’m sexy, some days I’m boring—and I think that’s much more interesting than showing only someone’s positive side.

3. My breasts are fine just the way they are.
I used to be so self-conscious about the size of my breasts that I even wore T-shirts over my bathing suits! It was a colossal waste of time. How I wish I could get back all those hours I spent obsessing….

4. Men can be feminists, too.
Just like white people fight for civil rights and straight people advocate for gay rights, men—especially those who have daughters—can be great ambassadors for feminism, and we could use their help. We need guys to join the conversation!

5. Every marriage needs sex.
When you’re dating, everything is fun. After you’re married, sex can start to feel like another item on your to-do list. But for my husband and me, it’s a way to connect and escape, so why shouldn’t it be at the top of my list?

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