Gabrielle Union stars in BET’s ‘Being Mary Jane’

Gabrielle Union stars in the new BET series “Being Mary Jane.” — AP Photo

On Tuesday July 2 at 10:30 p.m., BET will present the provocative original movie “Being Mary Jane,” starring Gabrielle Union in the role of Mary Jane Paul.

According to the network, Mary Jane, a.k.a MJ, is a fiercely independent woman who seemingly has it all as the beautiful and successful host of her own news show, “Talk Back.” In reality, she’s a self-sufficient powerhouse with a lackluster love life who remains devoted to a family that doesn’t share her motivation. How far is she willing to go to find the puzzle pieces that she — and society — insist are missing from her life? Intense drama and unforgettable moments unfold as Mary Jane juggles her life, her relationships, her work and commitments to her family.

In “Being Mary Jane,” Union plays a softer, more vulnerable character than we’re used to seeing from her — although she’s no pushover. In one scene she blasts a lying boyfriend with a garden hose while screaming at him to kiss her a**. In another, she reams out her trifling, unemployed brother, who comes to her job to ask for money. In yet another, she brazenly tells a woman that she has been sleeping with her husband, because she doesn’t want him to “keep getting away with it.”

MJ’s parents are played by entertainment icons Richard Roundtree (“Shaft”) and Margaret Avery (“The Color Purple”), and the cast also includes Aaron Spears, Lisa Vidal, Richard Brooks, Omari Hardwick, Tika Sumpter, Raven Goodwin, B.J. Britt, LaTarsha Rose and Robinne Lee. The pilot is directed by Salim Akil.

Following a recent public screening of “Being Mary Jane” (BMJ) series creator Mara Brock Akil addressed perceived similarities between BMJ and the hit ABC series “Scandal” starring Kerry Washington. “The difference is Olivia Pope is in a white world, whereas MJ is just not.” She continued, “I’m not sure if a show like ‘Scandal’ allows for a character’s humanity and real life experiences to be shown like BMJ does.” The series debut for “Being Mary Jane” is slated for January 2014 on BET.

 

Contact Entertainment Reporter Kimberly C. Roberts at (215) 893-5753 or kroberts@phillytrib.com.

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