Mara Brock Akil explains why ‘Love Is _____’ counters the lack of serious black love stories

Michael Desmond/OWN(NEW YORK) — Mara Brock Akil is sharing a special and important narrative in Love Is___, her latest pet project with husband/producing partner Salim Akil. According to Mara, their scripted relationship drama — which mirrors their own real-life relationship journey — is something she hopes will become more of the norm on both television and in film.

“We have come a long way [with] progress about our images in intimacy,” Akil tells ABC Radio, referring to the lack of black relationships on screen. “I’ve been in movie theaters where I’ve watched the black audience squirm when you see love, and kissing, and sex, and romance…In a way that’s not comical — that’s serious.”

Akil says her creation of the OWN series was purposeful in that she wanted to show love from the black lens.

“Black artists getting the opportunity to do what we’ve watched white artists do for eons,” she explains. “And so, I’m really proud of the progress that we’re making as artists within this storytelling medium. And that we can do it and keep professional bounds, but make you the viewer believe.”

Of course, Akil knows that just like love and relationships — changing an audience’s viewpoint on how they see love is also a daunting journey. But, the Being Mary Jane creator says it’s one she and the actors of the series are definitely on board to take on.

“And we have progressed and so as artists we have to progress,” she says. “So yes, you can kiss and be a trained artist and know how to connect spiritually, and connect as actors, and connect as creatives, and still maintain the boundaries of professionalism.” 

Love Is ____, starring Michele Weaver and Will Catlett, airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

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