“Girlfriends” and “Being Mary Jane” creator Mara Brock Akil is bringing her writing and producing talents to Netflix after signing a new deal with the ever-growing streaming company.
The Hollywood Reporter announced last week that Akil had signed a multi-year agreement with Netflix to create scripted content, in addition to other projects.
In a statement, the Northwestern University alum said her excitement about the new partnership has to do with Netflix giving her the creative space to churn out stories about people who’ve been underexposed on the small screen.
“It is a dream to partner with the force of Netflix, for we have the same goals, telling human stories for a global audience,” Akil explained. “I’m excited to have a home that allows me the creative freedom and support to do what I do best: paint portraits and murals of women, Black people and anyone else whose story is missing from this golden age of television. Representation matters and so does who you build with.”
Akil got her start in Hollywood writing for shows like “South Central,” a sitcom in the ’90s that starred Larenz Tate. She was also a writer on Brandy’s sitcom “Moesha” and became a supervising producer on “The Jamie Foxx Show” after that.
Then Akil created “Girlfriends,” starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Jill Marie Jones, Golden Brooks, and Persia White. It was the first show created by Akil that was picked up by a network, and it became a hit in Black households, running from 2000-2008. It first aired on UPN, then The CW.
On top of Akil signing her Netflix deal, the company recently finalized a licensing agreement to stream “Girlfriends,” with the first episodes starting to air Friday, Sept. 11, on the show’s 20th anniversary.
Akil and Netflix threw an Instagram Live party to celebrate the anniversary on that same day, and the screenwriter posted some throwback photos from when the show was still on-air.
One image shows her and Ross together, another shows Akil and “Girlfriends” executive producer Kelsey Grammer, who starred in “Cheers.”
Concerning her new Netflix deal, the company said it’s eager for Akil to bring her unique story-telling to the company.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mara Brock Akil to Netflix,” said the company’s vice president of original content Channing Dungey in a statement. “Her signature storytelling, authentic perspective and captivating characters have long entertained audiences and proven to be relevant, timely and endlessly engaging. We look forward to bringing her distinct voice, vision and passion to our global members.”