Today’s Women Behind the Scenes spotlight is shone on writer and executive producer Mara Brock Akil.
Mara was born in Los Angeles, California, but she was raised primarily in Kansas City, graduating from high school in 1988 and late earning a degree in journalism at Northwestern University.
She began her television career in 1994 as a writer for the short-lived but critically acclaimed FOX series South Central. Two years later she was on the popular comedy Moesha, working as a story editor, writer and producer for four seasons. She followed that up by working as a supervising and later a co-executive producer as well as a writer for The Jamie Foxx Show.
In 2000, she created and executive produced the long-running sitcom Girlfriends, which lasted for eight seasons. She also created and executive produced the spin-off series The Game.
Over the last couple of years, she has worked as a writer and consulting producer on the ABC comedy Cougar Town and she was the co-producer and writer on the box office film Sparkle that starred the late Whitney Houston and American Idol winner Jordan Sparks.
Her latest project will be the BET hour-long pilot called Being Mary Jane for which she will be the writer and executive producer. The series centers on successful talk show host Mary Jane Paul (to be played Gabrielle Union) looking to one day become the No.1 nightly news anchor while searching for Mr. Right. The series is expected to air sometime next year.
She won a BET Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 2005 and was nominated for an NAACP Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series in 2007.
Mara has been married since 1999 to Salim Akil, who has been her partner in many of these projects, and the father of her two children, Yasin and Nasir.