Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why Being Mary Jane Was Everything

Being Mary Jane
Season 3 Finale
Three must be a charm because, finally for this series, our language was spoken and in a most non-traditional way.  Being Mary Jane inspired thought, consideration but mostly had us embroiled in a myriad of issues, some discussed ad-nauseam.

I called this season, empowerment.  Empowerment was intricately woven into every episode.  Empowerment sounds easy, but MJ showed us, it’s not. 

Empowerment is that force that grabs the ball and runs toward the goal.  While propelling forward, that same force may finesse around a few stumbling blocks but when a three hundred and fifty pound line-backer is bull-dozing at the bulls-eye target, you, with the same brut intention, empowerment runs forward, braced for impact.  Empowerment doesn’t guarantee that you get it right, it means you try.  MJ illuminated with empowerment.

On what I consider to be BET’s greatest work to date, we propel toward self-awareness, compassion, intelligence, vulnerability and candor which some hailed as insensitivity.  This season we got the whole person, not just the broken one slow to self-sacrifice and chasing down unavailability.   MJ became the woman we longed to champion; the one when standing at the buffet table, you were more interested in engaging her opposite the hardened shrimp cocktail.

Our champion rewarded us with candid conversations about love, sexuality, mental illness, marriage, motherhood or lack thereof, family, commitment, community, views and placement in one’s community, and intra-racial conflict.  Our champion showed us what it looks like when it’s too late because time and space wait for no one.  If that weren’t enough, divergent views were displayed and without apology.

Being Mary Jane
Gabrielle Union, Raven Goodwin, Stephen Bishop, Lisa Vidal,
Margaret Avery, Richard Roundtree, Aaron D. Spears

We were strapped in for a roller-coaster ride of emotion using some of the Black community’s most iconic figures: the powerful, evolved, lost, pimp, preacher, poor, needy, the un-evolved, the highly evolved and those stuck in the middle.  Being Mary Jane took the stereotype and turned it on its head.

Navigation and negotiation was depicted brilliantly from the NAACP insertion, to the extortion between MJ and CeCe, Marisol and Kara.  Big Brother intervened sometimes on our behalf, sometimes not, depending on your chosen side.

We were given conscious truths shrouded in intention and choice with lines like, “I didn’t sell out, I bought in…”  And the eulogy…  The thought that when we ask how someone is doing, the true feeling is we don’t want to know because their truth too ugly… Then the charge to tell those you love them no matter how ugly their truth is.  This is not only the making of good television, it awakes the deferred sleep walking consciousness embedded in most.
But what I loved most about this season was MJ’s biggest lesson.  The ability to discern and learn to remove herself from the table.  Nina Simone once said, “You have to learn to remove yourself from the table when love is no longer being served.” So when David stopped serving love, when Lisa couldn’t or when others put their love on hold, MJ got up from the table. 

This season MJ loved with love no matter how it looked to someone else.  It was love because it was authentic.  It was true.  That’s what we witnessed this season.  We didn’t have to agree or disagree.  We got to watch.  We were moved.   And isn’t that what good television does?

I look forward to Season 4 with great anticipation.  Not sure where the writers will take us, but they’ve proven that they are poised to figure it out.  Bravo! Cast and Crew, Bravo! 

What did you like most about Being Mary Jane this season?  What was your favorite take away? 

Catch full episodes BET, On Demand

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