BMJ Recap 0306: Is MJ A Sell-Out?

111715-shows-bmj-season-3-ep-6-mary-jane-paul-44.jpg “You know what they say about the skinny brothers. They be packing”


Ahhhh! There goes my boo thing Tanika Ray. Love her. Hey boo, hey! The curls are popping! And Kelly is popping up everywhere, ain’t she?. Hey, Kelly, girl!


Sorry. I felt like I was at the table and got distracted!

MJ and her TV anchor friends are out talking about sex… with Barack Obama?! Bwahahahahaha. After Tanika talks about wearing her A1s to handle the turbulence, MJ tells her, “I hope Michelle beats your ass.” Welp. *kisses, T*

The conversation turns to pre-nups, and whether successful women should be asking for them. “Are we talking about legislating love?”, MJ asks, sounding very Carrie Bradshaw.

The girls chat on and MJ gets caught looking around the club. For who? The finger popping white guy? That wasn’t a one night thing?

The ladies are wrapping up  outside and talking about edges when MJ spots her white boo pulling up. She butchers an excuse to go back inside without her friend knowing exactly what’s up, because she definitely knows something is going on unless she’s a complete idiot



MJ heads to the bar to speak to her white boo. Okay, the bob is growing on me. Anyway, they’re making out in the club, and by make out, I mean everything but penile penetration.

English-accent White boo wants to go home with MJ. She shuts him down: “I like what we do here,” she says. We find out that he doesn’t know her name. Oh, dear. This ain’t gonna end well.

The next morning, MJ’s walking thru the kitchen in her pink robe with the I-got-mines strut. She spots a napkin from the private club, remembers last night and gives a naughty little laugh. I’ve laughed that way. It was filthy. And yes, I was at home. We haven’t seen MJ smile like that in awhile.


Later that morning, a pair of stylists show up at MJ’s house. One observes, “She’s cute. Even in person.” There IS a difference. I look like I weigh a million pounds on TV when I actually weigh a thousand. Even after I've "come down", as gym people like to say. But even before I lost weight, people would see me in person and often comment, “you lost weight!”, or “you’re so small!” even on my heaviest days. Sigh.

Sorry. Pet peeve. And tangent. As the stylist is laying out MJ’s designer options, she gets a message from Cutty Buddy asking for some Mary Jane. “She’s my main thang,” the text reads. The stylist thought it was corny. I loved it!

The stylist gives MJ some booty call rules. Late enough where you don’t have to feed him, but not so late you’re yawning. “No one wants to waste their gas on a lazy lay. It’s rude," he says.

Give whoever wrote that PSA-worthy line a raise.

After commercial break, MJ is on the air talking about a dog and is not happy about it. Kara insists there is a demo for it. She invites MJ to go over story ideas; MJ declines. MJ is enjoying the perks of her new job, including a stylist and not fighting with Kara anymore. She says she is going to “go with the flow”.

Kara wants to know where MJ is going. She saw a story on Gawker about MJ and “the “anchorettes” hanging out and she wasn’t invited. MJ points out that when she asks Kara out, the answer is always “no”. Kara agrees; she ain’t really feeling this new, all-Mommy, all-the time life. Later at her desk she has a meltdown. She feels trapped.


MJ is at home getting her back blown out by Cutty Buddy. His back? Lawd!

Oh LORD!!! He’s having convulsions! What is going on?!

Ok. He’s fine. For now. Wooooo-sahhhh! He had a seizure. This scene is one of the reasons I love this show. They do life. Like as soon as he was fine, most shows would have cut away. The cameras here stay after the others would be gone. They show her worry, and HIS embarrassment/fear/vulnerability. The awkwardness. That is life.

The next day at work, MJ says she stayed up all night with him, but tells Kara, “he is not my boo, just someone I do.” She says she has too much going on to be focused on a relationship. As they’re talking, MJ’s phone goes off. Pictures of Mark making out with a man have hit the newspapers. Aw, hell!



Mark says he ain’t ok, but blames himself for being “in the parking lot, kissing like a school girl”. Um… it was more than that. MJ tells him he is very well endowed. Oh! MJ tells Mark to embrace being outed. “Gay is the new black, honey.” Mark is offended that MJ thinks “gayness is trendy.”

Mark is legitimately worried about his career, and a staffer popping in to say that Greg, the Big Boss, is asking for him, doesn’t help.

In the meeting, Greg says that SNC wants to support Mark. A marketing guy wants Mark to do a 3-day promotional campaign, and come out on air to boost the numbers for the upcoming week. He suggests that going forward Mark will have a segment that “bridges LGBT issues and foreign policy.” Huh? How does that work together?

More or less, Greg offers Mark a higher profile job and a raise. Mark says he’s not interested in being the face of gay politics. About that…. Greg says that while Mark has been planning reporting trips to Syria and Nigeria “for weeks”, he can’t go anymore. “The last thing we need to do is send a recently outted journalist into hostile territory,” Greg says. Mark argues, offering to spend his own money on security to go. He got it twisted. “This isn’t up for debate,” Greg says.

Mark quits.

Elsewhere in the newsroom MJ is hosting a segment on immigration reform. Ha! Look, it’s Goldie! We Twitter chat. I read her work. She looks amazing. You know she’s a grandmother? She and Marjorie Harvey are medical miracles. I’ve never heard Goldie speak before.

MJ’s sleeves are ridiculous. I mean, it’s an adorable outfit. It is. But those are not news sleeves. She looks like she’s got wings.

Anyway, MJ is noticeably quiet on the segment, which I noted even before Goldie said something. Goldie tells her she was expecting to tangle more. “I get you, but we still need you, Sis, and we need you highlighting our issues.” MJ knows it’s true.


MJ’s white dress sans sleeves is awesome.  Or is that a whole new dress? And the bob has grown on me.

Greg pops by to talk to MJ about Greg quitting. He wants her to pass a message along: “SNC wants him, needs him. Seriously, we can’t afford to lose him.” MJ’s taken aback. Greg says he’s fighting for Mark as hard as he fought for her. MJ says she may have misjudged him and eventually says, “I’m sorry.”

Greg: "see, white guys aren’t so bad after all".

In one scene, I think totally different about Greg. That’s a testament to good writing, and good acting. And direction. Nicely done, Mara.

Kara’s wandering around the office eating microwave dinner when she spots Marisol at her desk. They haven’t found a new place for her yet, so she’s trying to stay in touch and stay visible. Kara throws her some shade, and Marisol finally stands up for herself and asks what’s good. Kara says she wasn’t feeling her sliding into SNC on the “quota program.” Marisol says Kara is busting her ass for 14 hours days and 65 percent of the pay. The look on Kara’s face tho?! She cuts back that it’s better than gaining entry acting “like a Chiquita banana”and wearing crotch-less panties.


MJ is at Mark’s trying to get him to take his job back. Mark doesn’t want to talk about gay topics because he thinks people will be looking at his ass instead of thinking about what he’s saying. MJ laughs. Mark doesn’t think it’s funny. “I’m baring my soul to you and you’re laughing,” Mark says.

MJ apologizes for making light, but, seriously, asks him to “talk to Greg.”

MJ’s knocked out in the dark, but somehow hears her phone ding. It’s Cutty Buddy asking via text if she’s still up. She lies and says she’s working. FFwd: she tells him to come over.

In the next scene, it’s bright lights and tonguing. Look Gabrielle Union got a good life right about now. She is being paid to tongue down Thomas Jones and then goes home to D. Wade? Ma’am? You are a winner. Side bar: everytime CBW watches MJ do a sex scene, he’s like, “does Wade know she’s doing this?” Like that man ain’t got a TV.

Anyway, they’re making out, and MJ calls a foul on the play. They have to talk about the elephant in the room, the seizures. Brandon, aka the man we will never call that because his name is Cutty Buddy, says that the seizures started two months ago and he’s freaked out because he’s trying to make another team. “All I have is football,” he says, shortly before he bounces.

The next day, MJ is shopping with a friend, talking about Cutty Buddy. She says she likes him, buts he can’t get involved in his issues. She keeps having that conversation. She says, “it’s like I know too much about him. The mystery is gone.” The convo moves to MJ and her white boy. Her friend says she’s been with a white man but doesn’t want to venture back to the “ baloney pony”. Bwahaha.

MJ admits that she hasn’t had sex with the white guy because she’s recently had sex with Cutty Buddy. She doesn’t want to be a “ho”. Her friend reminds her that she’s grown and can “do what you wanna do”. MJ asks if her friend were Queen for the day what her “International Ho Law” would be. This conversation is hilarious. Hee-lar-ious! MJ says she loves giving blow jobs. Her girl says that’s fine, “just don’t drink off my glass.”

The conversation moves to the “trickiness” of being single” and navigating sex. MJ advocated resetting the 'ho button' at 35 OMG! This is one of the greatest conversations in TV history. Watch it on repeat like that man singing about Patti’s pies.


FFW: Mark talked to Greg. The answer for Mark going overseas to cover ISIS and Boko Haram is still no. Mark says the cost of his dignity is too high for SNC. “I’m not a ratings ploy,” he says. Mark says he’s going to hire his own team and go over to Nigeria on his own dime.

MJ says its time to “live a little and stop fighting”. “I’m a B-list celebrity and I like it, I love it,” MJ says. “People don’t care about the truth. Audiences are half asleep and I am exhausted… why keep fighting a losing battle?"

Oh, God. I struggle with this every, single, day. I could write a whole post on that concept. Being true to self and fighting the good fight on GP is hard. HARD.

“I may be a sell out but I’m finally getting what I want,” MJ says. I'm not even mad at her. I get it. I also get Raven-Symone. Though I don't think I could go that far astray. Offer me a couple million in a contract and we'll put that to the test.

Mark says he’s not going to give up or sell out.

Later that night, MJ is back at the private club. Her White boo walks in and tells her he watched her show. She says he ruined the fantasy. But the look on her face says she doesn’t mean it.

What did you think of Episode 6 of Being Mary Jane?

TV Recap Being Mary Jane 0304: Being Cara

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 8.09.10 PM Mary Jane is getting her freak on…. No, wait! It’s Kara getting her back blown out by her boo! As soon as she gets hers, she excuses herself from bed to go work.


Kara heads to the couch with her laptop, her real man, and works ’til she passes out. Bay-be, what are you doing?

In the AM, Kara wakes up late—on the couch—and scrambles getting dressed, leaving her dude at the house to lock up after her. He reminds her that his bestie is in town and they have dinner plans that night. Watching a harried Kara, he offers to reschedule. She swears she can make it. Um… you sure?

Kara puts on her face in the car, and the bottle of prescription pills in her purse doesn’t go unnoticed.

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I assumed Kara was late for work, but actually, there was a parent teacher conference that she missed. Her ex-husband is walking out of the school when Kara gets out of the car. “You couldn’t stall for me?” she asks. He reminds her that despite him sending a bunch of email reminders, she still showed up 20 minutes late. Womp.

Kara’s youngest isn’t so good at math and the teacher wants to have him tested for dyscalculia, dyslexia for numbers. Kara’s pissed. She isn’t trying to hear something is wrong with her kid, and she wonders how much testing is going to cost because she’s paying child support, the mortgage on the family house, rent on the condo she lives in and she helps her parents.

Whoo, chile. That’s a lot!

Kara has a bright idea: maybe the kids (and the dog) can stay with her for awhile so she can spend quality time with them, and help the babe with his homework since she is better at math.

Um… I love Kara. I do. But she told the God’s honest truth that time when she said she wasn’t fit to be a mom. She’s a good person. She is. But she doesn’t have the temperament for kids and all the other stuff she has going on. I respect that she’s trying to do better, but this is a bad idea.

Her ex points out that she always pulls this superwoman ish. “You missed a meeting, so what?” he says, trying to make her feel better (I think). This pushes Kara over the edge.

“It’s not fine for me anymore,” she says, dissolving into tears, then storming off. Oh, dear. She got a lot of guilt about not raising her kids.


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Kara’s already had a long morning and she hasn’t even made it to the office. Finally at work, she’s still a mess, thinking she got off on the wrong floor. Before she gets to her desk, an assistant is updating her that MJ is on a warpath and she hits up her boo to pass on dinner because she has the kids.

Earlier, Mary Jane was back at her anchor desk as the producers tested out her face on screen. “All I see is scars,” the Big Boss says. I can’t see anything. She looks back to normal to me.

MJ catches Kara in the hallway, “greeting” her with “what the hell?” She’s mad Kara wasn’t there for her screen test. Kara reminds her that she had to be at her kid’s school. MJ is all, yeah, I know. Thought you would reschedule.

Um. Her kids > you.

Big Boss sidelined MJ for another week. Womp. MJ is freaking at, as usual.


MJ still doesn’t have a car, so a driver drops her off after work. Sorting through the mail she comes across a letter for Lisa. Aww, hell. Instead of opening it, she calls Cutty Buddy. He comes over in a hurry to offer Vitamin D.


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Kara wakes up to the dog licking her face. Before she’s fully coherent, her teenage son is in her room yelling about “there’s nothing to eat!” Then he tells her the kid “peed the bed... again!” Then the dog chews on Kara’s good shoe.

Kara has been up all of 90 seconds and all the sh—she’s been through has made me tired and stressed watching her. I need a nap. Kara’s hysterical, screaming at her oldest about the dog, who she threatens to get rid of. The youngest hears this and runs out of the room distraught.

Aww, Lawd. I hope she’s on pressure meds. ‘Cause this? #toomuch

When both kids leave, Kara reaches in her bedside drawer for her pills. Um… I’m glad she has some, just hope she doesn’t abuse them.


Across town, Cutty Buddy is trying to stop the 6:30 AM alarm from going off. I’m sorry. Did Kara just go through all that sh—before 6:30AM? iCan’t.

MJ rushes into the room for her phone. Oh, Cutty Buddy is spending the night now? MJ is dressed to “run an errand”, so CB offers to bounce to the gym. She asks him to stay instead. This man has beautiful eyes. No, really. All of him is lovely, but his eyes are amazing.


Kara made breakfast and is apologizing to the kids for flipping out that morning and reminding them that she “loves them more than anything in the whole world.” She tells the kids that their dad is going to pick them up from school and bring them back to the house.

The kids ain’t feeling that idea they want to stay at “Dad’s house”. Kara corrects them: “That isn’t his house, it’s my house. I gave him that hou—“ She feels herself winding up and stops. She tells the kids to do whatever they planned to do after school by her.

Oh, and the oldest kid called his dad on Kara and said it was “an emergency” because Kara was freaking out. The kids start rough housing why she’s on the phone and knock over the lamp. It’s chaos. Dad offers to help, but Kara insists she has it.

Do you?

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CeCe is sitting on a park bench reading a book when a surly MJ walks up in her gym clothes to hand over 5k to CeCe.

“I hate what the Black man has done to the Black woman,” CeCe says. "Abandonment is the direct cause of our masculinity.”

It’s too early for this sh--. The direct cause of MJ’s “masculinity” this morning is being extorted by CeCe.

MJ: "Do you think about anything besides Black people and race?"

CeCe: "No."

Me: *cackles*

CeCe isn’t feeling MJ today, so she’s ready to head out, but not before offering condolences about Lisa. MJ ain’t here for that. “Shut up!” she tells CeCe. “You don’t have the right to talk about my friend’s life ever. This arrangement doesn’t afford you that luxury.”

Obviously and rightfully, she‘s sensitive about Lisa.


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Kara’s headed into the office, texting her boo to apologize about missing dinner last night. She spots Marisol in a meeting with Big Boss telling him her big ideas. Kara asks for “a word.” In short: she tells Marisol she’s out of line for going behind her back and accuses her of sexing the boss on the low. Marisol’s big idea just cost them a feature segment for the next day’s show. No bueno. “I don’t like problems,” Kara reminds her.


Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 8.27.39 PMMJ is at home in her glasses shoe shopping online when she decides to call Cutty Buddy. He’s in the pool with her providing what she needs when Niecy comes by and catches them. Awkward.

Niecy’s there to get help with her resume, but has no work experience. MJ adds an mailroom internship at her job to Nicey’s resume. Niecy doesn’t know what that entails, but says she’ll watch Chris Rock in Boomerang to figure it out.LOL

Niecy: "When I do all that, can I get one of those in my pool?" (She’s referring to Cutty Buddy.)

MJ: "You gotta get a pool first."

Me: *snort laugh*

Kara’s home from work and her ex is chilling on the couch. The youngest tried to wait up for her but fell asleep, the oldest is getting his first kiss on the porch. Kara’s day isn’t done. She has to make brownies for the baby’s class tomorrow.

Really? After a long day of work? Brownies? Ex is like, why didn’t you just buy something? But Kara is on her Martha Stewart Superwoman ish and tired of being judged by the mothers of the kids in her son’s class.

She’s trying so hard. I’m exhausted watching her. Watching this episode is birth control.

She pauses to grab wine with ex-hubs who tells her she’s a great mom. She knows he’s lying. She wants to talk about the kid wetting the bed and the dyscalculia. “I’m a problem solver, I fix things,” Kara says. John tells her to get off the roller coaster.


MJ is getting her freak on… again. Look. I ain’t mad at this lady. I don’t know if CB has any money, but he is definitely a provider. And I get the craving for sex, especially in these circumstances. Experiencing death can give folks a craving for life, or the act of creating it. I grieve the same way.

CB finishes too soon for MJ and he reminds her that she can’t be mad. “Woman, you got yours twice. Let me get mine.”

Welp. He has a point.

He says he has to get some sleep, but before that, he wants to know how she is being as she’s been going through a lot lately. MJ says she is “fine.” I guess we’ve moved on from the eulogy last week.

She offers to get him a towel to avoid the conversation. In the bathroom, she spots Lisa’s name on her BC pills and gets stuck for a moment.


Back at Kara’s, she’s having some manic moment, baking brownines and researching her son’s disability and texting her book all at once. Unsurprisingly, the brownies burn.

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At MJ’s there’s a knock on the door. It’s Kara, asking her after midnight to make brownies for her cause she doesn’t want to send the boy to school with store bought brownies. She left the kids home alone. MJ reacts like that is horrid. Is it? The oldest kid is about 14, 15. He can be left alone with the little one… um, right?

She’s lost it.Through sobs, Kara says, “I’ve been A student my whole life, and I‘m just a C student in everything in my life right now and I hate it.”

Look, I haven’t birthed any babies, but I have had that feeling on so many occasions and it’s devastating. Ugh. I just want to hug Kara. I feel you, boo. I do.

“I feel like I screwed up my life,” Kara says. “I’ve failed.”

Mara, stop writing my life!!!

No lie, I teared up. I have been there.

MJ is in the kitchen making brownies when Cutty Buddy walks up to taste the mix. He's staying over regularly now? Oh.


I don’t know how I feel about him yet. I like MJ around him. He mellows her out some and I like that he’s there because I don’t want her to be alone right now. But I would probably say that about anyone single and not David. I might even accept Shelton and his living across the street from each other fantasies at this point.

MJ shows up at Kara’s with fresh brownies. This is a nice side of MJ.

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Niecy’s resume landed her an interview (yay!), which she showed up late for (boo!). Ugh! Come on, baby girl!!! Help yourself win!!! The interviewer is a little smug for my liking, but she’s not out of line.

Niecy doesn’t know the job interview rules so she doesn’t play by them. “Are you looking to hire me or not,” Niecy asks. “Because I feel like you judged me the moment I walked in here.”

Dammit Niecy. It’s what everyone has wanted to say at one job interview or another, but no one actually says that ish. Ughhh.

The interviewer admits that she’s not feeling Niecy because she was late. Niecy decides this is her cue to walk out of the interview. “I’m not late because I’m Black, it’s because I’m a mother,” Niecy says. “I hope you’ll still consider me for the job.”

Actually, I think she was late because she’s Niecy and she has a habit of being irresponsible. I’m just saying.


Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 8.56.50 PMMJ is on her laptop at home, looking at pictures of CeCe. Did she hire a PI to investigate her? She discovers that CeCe owns a book store, so she swings by to see her.

“You extorted me for a book store?” MJ accuses. “And you think I’m part of a dying industry?”

MJ asks CeCe why she didn’t ask for even more money because she clearly needs it.

CeCe: "Because that’s all I asked God for. Any more would be stealing."


MJ says she’s done paying. CeCe reminds MJ that she still hasn’t got the one thing that she wants: prime time. She knows that they’re giving her the run around at work and that she has the power to make her dream go away with a phone call to SNC

MJ: “You are no better than the slave master raping and stealing from Black people for their own personal gain in the name of Jesus. You’re a fraud!”

CeCe corrects her: ” I’m a survivor. I do whatever it takes to survive. You and I are similar in that way.”


At SNC, Kara’s boo rolls up to see her while she’s working late. She bailed on him again, it seems. She breaks up with him at some point. He says things are great, but she says that she needs to be more present for her kids and her relationship with him is getting in the way, so it’s a wrap. She does him in the backset of the car one last time, then goes home to her ex husband and tells him that she wants to move back in with him for the sake of the kids and to save money.

“So you want to be roommates?” he asks.

He says that he’s willing to do what she thinks is best, but his gut says it’s a terrible idea. Kara agrees, but she wants to be a better mother.


At MJ's Cutty says his penis is “broke. Not broke, but raw. It hurts.” She offers to get him some ice.

Niecy calls MJ while MJ is headed to the kitchen. Miraculously, she got the job and she’s starting with 20 hours a week and $7.00 an hour. It’s a start and it’s better than nothing .

In the kitchen. MJ spots the letter from Lisa and finally opens it. It’s an invite to an event Lisa was supposed to speak at in 2016. To the tune of one of may favorite songs, “Good Goodbye” by Lianne La Havas, MJ loses it, sliding to the floor and sobbing.

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Awww, boo.

CB comes into the kitchen and joins her on the floor, holding her. Geez. I’m so glad he’s there.

Later, he’s sitting on the deck when MJ walks out post-nap, apologizing for her break down. He says there’s no need. “It’s a blessing I could be here for you.”

That line made my yelp. Out loud. Hubs just turned around and glared at me.

CB has whiskey and Cuban cigars chilling on the patio table. He explains that he was raised by his grandfather, who worked in a mortuary. Granddad said the only way to balance out so much death was to live. He would smoke a cigar and have a glass of whiskey every night. “He was the most peaceful, happy man, I knew,” CB says.

I think I like him now.

What did you think of Episode 4?


Being Mary Jane, 0303: Ugly Truths (About Lisa)

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Lisa is having a fancy dinner alone in her big house. She takes a shower, slips on a sexy negligee then heads to bed with a glass of wine. She's up to something. I don’t know what.

Aww, hell. She’s popping pills like they’re popcorn, then chases them all with gulps from her goblet of wine. She exhales like she’s been waiting. This is not what Terry McMillan meant.

I knew she was going to do this sh—after MJ read her for deserved filth last episode. I know Lisa pissed everyone off with that David nonsense, but like Patrick said when he brought Lisa to MJ’s house, “I didn’t want her to kill herself.”

Lisa’s wine glass slips from her hand, then she foams at the mouth, her body trying to expel the poison. She stops breathing.

Ya'll, Lisa’s gone.


At work the next day, MJ is explaining to her colleagueMark that “he” won’t stop calling? Is "he" David? Or "Shelton?" Or the married guy? Mark teaches her how to block a call.

Now it’s Nicey calling MJ, asking her to come over to the house. MJ can hear her Mom is crying in the background. Nicey says, “it’s Lisa…” MJ knows what that means. It’s a call she probably was expecting someday.

MJ stays at work instead of going to be with her family, even as Mark insists. She says she needs a drink, but her work-husband has taken the liquor out of her drawer.

MJ heads home-- her place, not her parents's house--  and gets into bed fully dressed, staring blankly as her mind whirs. She checks her phone and sees the missed calls from Lisa.

Later, Kara comes by the house. Someone filled her in about Lisa. She wasn’t close to Lisa but she’s an obvious emotional wreck over her death.

Just for clarity: MJ is too. There are many ways to handle death. The most popular one, and the one people most understand, is tears and being emotionally distraught. MJ’s isn’t that. She’s gone numb and into “efficient mode”. People don’t often “get” that person, but they're under appreciated and so necessary. While everyone else is falling out, someone has to hold it together.


Now half the friend circle is at the house, discussing how to mourn Lisa: celebrate or cry? Now they’re telling Lisa stories. Apparently, she got drunk once, threw out all her hot combs, ran off to Kenya and came back with horrible twists. Oh, and Kara thought Lisa was lesbian when she first met her, but not because of her hair. No one in the room knows what Lisa called her god, they all agree that she was “constantly searching for something.”

The conversation turns back to Lisa’s suicide and the myth that Black people don't kill themselves. "We took pride in the fact that no matter how hard things got, we didn’t do that,” says Nichelle. “I used to wear that like a badge of honor.... What happened to us?”

Kara adds, “people see suicide as a weakness, it's an illness”

God, this is such an important conversation. Thank you, Mara.

The topic turns to whether medicine is bad or not. MJ argues that she's not a fan of meds because some meds cause suicidal feelings. This would explain why MJ is not on the drugs she so obviously needs. Kara acknowledges that some drugs are bad, but not all meds. "Life is hard and sometimes people need a little help to cope," Kara says. Ma’am. That’s a word. If you need help, get yourself some PRESCRIBED help with haste. (No self-medicating.)

Nichelle drops that David found Lisa’s body. Awww, hell.


David swings by MJ’s house to talk about Lisa. Notice she doesn’t let him in the house. He offers to cover Lisa’s burial expenses, but MJ says it’s already been handled.

MJ wants to know what David was doing at Lisa’s house. He says he was checking on Lisa because he didn't answer her calls since MJ’s accident.

David offers, “if you need anything---“ and MJ cuts him off with “I won’t.”


Look. I don’t hate David, even after his betrayal. I’ve adopted PJ’s take on David, which is David probably means well, but he just can’t do right for anything. Feelings are nice, so is intention, but the bottomline is he keeps f---ing up. And for that, he needs to be kept, at minimum, at arm’s length. MJ's self preservation matters more than his feelings or intentions.



The following day, MJ goes to the family home, and overhears her mother saying, “We killed her”, speaking of Lisa. “We wouldn’t talk to her when she needed to talk.” Um, who was she talking to? There’s no one in the room when MJ comes in. Did she hear MJ coming down the hall?

MJ says ok, and turns to leave. "I don't have time to chose a pity party with you, Mom,” MJ says.  She came by to plan a funeral, not this.

Mom tells MJ that she’s called Lisa’s parents. MJ is livid. Lisa hadn’t spoken to her parents in “over 15 years”. “Every mother has the right to know” MJ’s mom says.

I can see her  point, but this makes no sense to MJ. They have their typical passive aggressive exchange, Mom plays martyr and MJ walks out, ignoring Niecy on the way to the door. She treats that girl so bad sometimes.

MJ heads to Lisa’s house. It’s weird in there, and really empty, and cold. I’m all for minimalism, but this doesn’t look lived in. Tells you a lot about Lisa’s life, huh? MJ wanders around and sees the haunting remnants of Lisa’s last meal.

The doorbell rings (twice). It’s Lisa’s mom and stepdad aka Richard Lawson aka Mama Knowles's new husband. MJ doesn’t look happy to see them.


Anyway, Mom and MJ end up in the bedroom discussing Lisa. They agree not to divulge the circumstances of Lisa’s death. Mom has been telling the family that Lisa died “due to health complications.” MJ says she will do a FB post, notifying folks so Lisa has a “good turnout.”

Mom asks MJ to speak at the funeral because MJ “knew her better than anyone” and was Lisa’s sister. As they’re discussing arrangements, Stepdad yells up, “Baby, it's time to go". Where is he going that’s so urgent that he can’t let his wife sit and discuss funeral arrangements for her dead child?

MJ says stepdad isn’t allowed to come to the service. That’s bold. Mom says, “not now” and that “We put all of that behind us.” Um, all of what, exactly?

Charles aka Mama Tina Knowles husband comes upstairs to rush his wife along and find out what the women are talking about, ie, him. Charles suggests they go as MJ has “issues and is being very rude.”

I have my issues with MJ, but one thing I love about her is that she doesn’t hold any cut cards and she ain’t never scared. It’s a gift and a curse.

She ain’t playing any games with Charles today: “I will not be at a service that this man is at,” she tells Lisa’s mother and by proxy, Charles as he’s standing there as she talks around him like he’s the kid in the room. MJ’s thrown down the gauntlet: it’s Charles or MJ. Can’t be both. She tells Lisa’s mom to let her know by 9PM how she’s gonna carry it. (For my Bmore folks: Wassup, wassup?)

Mom and Charles are in the car. She insists that MJ has to be at the funeral because “people will talk.” He hits back with, “you’re so weak like that. I can’t stand that in you.”

I’m sorry, WHAT?

So we know that Charles is emotionally abusive to the mother. Was he that way to Lisa too?

Charles says “Lisa was bipolar with an overactive imagination. She was not mentally stable and you know that.” Well, there is some truth in that. “She haunted us when she was alive and she’s haunting us from the grave.”

Damn, man. The girl just died and you’re talking to her mama. Some compassion, maybe?

Lisa’s mom tells Charles he can’t come to the funeral. Bottomline. He doesn’t seem to like the girl so much no way, so maybe that’s just for the best for everyone involved.


At the Paul home, the family is getting ready for Lisa’s funeral. Niecy is going D’Asia's hair. PJ is playing with Niecy’s son. Mom reaches for a box on a high shelf, and without being asked, Dad goes to get it down for her. I love that as dysfunctional as this family is, (just like every other family) they lean on each other and come together (like family is supposed to) when ish gets rough.

MJ is with the body at the church already. Lawd! Lisa is in the dang casket in all white, looking like an angel. Wow.



Um, MJ’s outfit and fascinator at this funeral are EVERYTHING!

David takes a seat next to MJ and listens, the first thing he’s done right in a long time. She tells him that she couldn’t cry, but she was trying on dresses and felt like she was having a mini-heart attack and then ended up crying for hours on the floor of her closet. Geez.

Here’s where he starts to go left: MJ’s not hysterically grieving, but she is grieving. David grabs her hand and intertwines his fingers with MJ’s before offering the lame cliché, “she’s in a better place now.” He catches himself, noting, “Who really knows if she’s in a better place?"

MJ: “Could it be much worse, really?”

MJ says she owes Lisa, who she had barely seen or talked to in a year, a good eulogy.

And then David goes all the way left: “It's not your fault,” he says to MJ. “You know that right?” Um.. why would it be MJ’s fault? I’m unclear.

MJ gets defensive, and lashes into David about screwing Lisa “out of her money and her dignity.”

Sidebar: MJ kills me when she mock-stutters to make a point about someone trying to sell her BS. I howled in the middle of this very important scene.

She ain’t done with David: “You pretend to comfort me but you really just came to comfort yourself. I'm not a comfort to give you, David. I am out of anything to give you. I have nothing for you.”

Ya’ll! Write that down and put it on the fridge door or keep it in your phone Notes so you can say it verbatim the next time your ex calls.

David leaves. Really, he never should have sat down. Just goooo, man. Where is your pregnant woman?

Nichelle sings “Eye Is On the Sparrow”, one of my favorite songs. She does a beautiful job. I really feel like I am at a Black funeral. This is a hard, hard episode.


Lawd, Lisa’s step- father had one job: not to come to the funeral. Why he want to be there so bad? He doesn’t like Lisa. And it’s not like he wants to be supportive of his wife, who he talks to like sh--. This is a power move.

MJs going off, trying to shame Charles for showing up, when the minister pipes in to remind her that they are in the Lord’s house and all are welcome. That was religious shade.

Despite Charles’s presence, MJ does eulogy, as promised. It’s a beautiful speech and beautifully delivered, especially the "We’re all just pretending we’re okay when we're really not…. The lies that we tell each other, that's what killed my friend Lisa."


Mid-speech, MJ is going over Lisa’s basics, where she was born and when she graduated, and such. She takes a moment and drops a nuke bomb on those gathered at the sanctuary that day: Lisa’s dad molested her from ages 9 to 16. “She carried that pain with her everyday for the duration of her life,” MJ says.

Lisa’s mom wails. Her stepdad looks embarrassed. Lisa’s brother looked like he just had a revelation.

I’ve read a bit of backlash about this episode, especially MJ’s big reveal. I’ve read it was “ill-timed” and motivated out of spite/control that Charles didn’t listen when she told him not to come, and dared to show up.

My take: the truth needed to come out. And there’s no convenient and polite time to talk about molestation/sexual abuse/rape, so it might as well be brought up and dealt with whenever the mood strikes.

I’m bothered that people get more stuck on the timing than the horror of abuse. If you’re uncomfortable with the topic and don’t want to talk about it, say that, turn the channel, keep scrolling, whatever. But don’t deflect to trivial topics like  “timing”, “tone” and attitude to distract other people from focusing on what makes you queasy.

MJ said what needed to be said, and yes, it was embarrassing and shocking, and scandalous, but sh--, all that pales in comparison to the pain Lisa must have been in when the abuse happened and all the pain she carried for so many years. Lisa matters more than embarrassment and shock and scandal. Lisa, and all the girls and women who have been through that horrific abuse, MATTER.

Mary Jane has some hard character traits to deal with, many I see in me, but I was never more proud of her than that moment.

Mom is inconsolable, lying on her son’s shoulder as MJ wraps it up. “The best way to celebrate her life is to stop being liars, is actually to embrace the truth… tell everyone that you love that you will love them no matter how ugly their truth is.”


*slow clap for Mara and the writer’s room*

What did ya'll think of  Episode 4?


Inspired by 'Being Mary Jane": Her Name Was Shelique


Lisa is saying farewell to life. After a delicious meal, a fresh shower, and a sexy neglige, she climbs into bed and pops  pills like popcorn, chasing her cocktail with a goblet of red wine. Then she waits.

The wine falls from her hand, she foams at the mouth, her body trying to expel the drugs from her system.

Lisa is gone.

The remainder of the episode is dedicated to how those who loved-- and hurt-- Lisa most cope with her death and prepare for her homegoing.

It was a heavy episode for me. A friend committed suicide when I was 13. And last night, BMJ brought a lot of stuff up that I hadn't thought about or dealt with in years.


Tomorrow, I will write a proper recap with the play-by-play of what happened on BMJ and how. But before we get to that, I want, no, I need to write about something, someone else.

Her name was Shelique. No alias.

Maybe her name had two "Ls". I can't believe I can't remember anymore.

She was two grades above me, but we were a year apart in age. I was 12 in the eighth grade (I'd skipped a year). She was 13 in the 10th grade (She'd skipped two years). She fit in and everyone liked her, which I didn't get. Not that she wasn't likeable, I got why they liked her because I liked her. But being the youngest by two years didn't seem to bother her. I was always aware that I was younger than everyone else in my grade and it always made me feel awkward. I hung out mostly with the girls the grade below me.

I was round. She was one of those teenage girls that filled out a dress. She wore fancy clothes, that in retrospect, were probably designer.  She had this maroon sweater dress that was one of her favorites.

The year after she died, her sister started at our school. She was in 7th grade. She wore her sister's clothes to school.

I remember her sister in the dress too. She was coming down the hallway in it, and I "saw" Shelique. Freaked me out, but I recovered for her sister. I didn't want to make her feel awkward or weird. I mean, her sister just died. I imagine now that wearing her sister's clothes was part of the grieving process.

Shelique used to pin her hair up in a French roll, as was the popular style of the time (93?). I tried to imitate it once and my french roll, which I'd stuffed with my father's black dress sock, unraveled in the cafeteria. Shelique pinned my hair back together in 5 minutes, sans sock and better.

I heard she died while I was at a party just before school started up again. A girl who lived in my neighborhood and was a close friend of ours, had cousins that lived close by and were throwing a party. The neighborhood girl had invited me, and another girl from our school to attend. She was in Shelique's class.

After the party,  we were sitting at the living room table unwinding and rehashing the night's events. The girl from the same grade announced that Shelique was dead, that she killed herself.

The girl knew and came to the party and pretended like nothing was wrong because she didn't want to ruin everyone's night. She was Shelique's best friend and the only girl in the circle who read the suicide note. She didn't ever say what it said, and I never asked out of respect. She had a meltdown in the Main Building hallway once about how selfish Shelique was.

The last time I saw Shelique alive, we were sitting on the steps of our school waiting for our parents to pick us up. She was fretting because her folks were late and she had to get home and get dressed to go to a Jodeci concert that night. She was in love with DeVante like every other girl who loved Jodeci. She was all smiles and nervous anticipation. When I think of her, most often I picture her in that moment. To this day, whenever I hear a really good R&B song, I wonder if Shelique would have liked it.

My mom drove me and the girl from the neighborhood to the funeral. The girl went up to the casket to say goodbye. I just couldn't go. The casket was open, and I could see from the back of the church that the wig was bad. Shelique never would have worn her hair like that. But the funeral parlor had to hide the bullet wound somehow, I guess.

We sat in the balcony. When the funeral director closed the casket-- the slowest process ever, but  it would be wrong to just slam the lid on somebody, right?-- Shelique's sister had to be taken out of the sanctuary. Her mother who had sat quietly the whole time, wailed something like, "you're with grandma. She'll take care of you." Jesus. It was the words, as much as the agony in her voice.

Everything about Shelique's death was surreal.  I understood death and the finality and that Shelique was never coming back, but I didn't grasp the complexity of it all. Like, at 13, you don't realize how young 14 is. I didn't get that a baby just died. I didn't understand depression. Or the extra depths of a girl killing herself.

The story I got was that her father was having a birthday bash at the house, and she went upstairs and put a gun to her head. (I've always wondered about the timing of that.) Her sister ran up to the room and found her.

Her sister was all legs, kinda like Malia Obama. She ran track. At her first meet, the gun went off to start the race and I heard she lost it. I was cool with her little sister until she transferred schools. We never talked about Shelique. I never saw or heard from her after she transferred.

Many years later, I was in a college, in car on Route 50, headed somewhere toward DC with my BF and his cousin. The cousin was talking about some girl he was dating, a girl with the same name as Shelique's sister. I knew he was talking about her.

All this stuff came flooding back and I looked out the window and zoned out, trying to hold it together. All that I'd missed before about the complexities and depth of what happened finally hit me, about seven years later.

My BF asked if I was okay.

I didn't want to explain.

"I knew her sister," I said.

Cousin: "This girl doesn't have a sister."

She hadn't told him. I guess I could have guarded her secret. I mean, I get why she wouldn't tell anyone that tragic backstory. But I didn't want to pretend like my friend never existed. She wuz here. Her time was short, but she made an impact.

"She does. She did," I insisted. "Her name was Shelique."

Dear Demetria: My Married Friends Invite Their Husbands When We Hang Out

single-black-woman Dear Demetria:

"I'm single. A lot of my friends are married. I'll suggest getting together, and they'll say yes, only to hit me at the last minute with, "Hubby will be with me; is that all right?" Is it unrealistic of me to expect to still see my girls without their men tagging along?" —Anonymous

Your married friends are tripping and should know better. I mean, they weren't born married, and they've been in your shoes. So, no, you're not being unrealistic.

Single or married (now), this has happened to most of us. We're looking forward to a good kiki with the girls, and one of them shows up with her man. Even if he's the coolest partner ever, an unexpected husband (or beau) can be a mood killer for a ladies event. It's like, why is he here? The game ain't on? He doesn't have any friends? And real talk: We don't always converse the same when men are present.

It's bad if he just sits there looking like bored lump, and even worse if he wants to jump into the conversation, requiring a long-winded backstory to bring him up to speed or offering unsolicited advice about how to fix your issue, when all you wanted was your girlfriend to listen. Even worse than that is what happened to you. You showed up for one-on-one time with your girl, and ended up as the “plus one” on a date with your girl and your husband! That is not OK.

Some married couples take that "we are one" thing way too far. Yes, you're one family, and you're supposed to think in terms of what's best for "us, not me" and proceed as a unit, but that doesn't mean the couple has to be attached at the hip for every occasion. This may be how your friends operate, but this is not a universal outlook (by far).

That said, your friends are not entirely to blame here. Yes, they need better social skills, but you need better communication skills. When your friends have called last minute and asked to bring their spouses, you haven't been honest with how you feel. You've said yes and pretended that everything was cool when it is not. You're encouraging their behavior by pretending that it doesn't bother you.

Before you bail on your girls for asking you to be the third wheel, have a grown-up chat with each of them about what's bothering you. Admit that you haven't been completely honest about your feelings when it comes to hanging out with your friends and their husbands. Individually, remind your friends that you like their husbands and support their marriages. Say this first so that no one thinks what's coming next is a passive-aggressive way to diss their husbands. Then add that you miss having girl time, and sometimes you just want to hang out with your friends one-on-one.

Read the full article: HERE

Storytime: "Men Who Are Interested, Act Interested"



(Brief) Storytime:

I had the best cable guy today. THE BEST.

He's 23. He's been with his GF for 5 years. He met her on line in his first semester of college. He was a full time student with no job living in BK; she was also a student with strict parents living deep in Long Island.

Once they met in person, he was like, "she's it!" I'm done.

Her parents weren't cool with her going to the city to hang out with a Brooklyn guy she met on the Internet, so they were like, "if he wants to see you, he will come here because that is where you will be."

She tells him this. He's like, "I don't even know where [her neighborhood] is." So she's like, "I guess this is a no go, huh?"

He's like, "You sound crazy. Let me figure it out."

So he figured it out.

He would take the J train from BK to Penn Station, then take the LIRR out to Long Island to see her. [For non- New Yorkers, it's about a two hour commute, each way.]

Me: I wouldn't even date guys in Harlem because it's so far. You were going out to Long Island, what every weekend?

Him: Uh.. every day after class.

Me: What?

Him: Yeah, I had to get a job in the morning so I could pay for the train fare back and forth. It was $16 RT. My parents would give me $20 sometimes, so I'd spend that on the train, then save the $4 for food for the day.

Me: I'm sorry. You got a job... to pay for transportation... to get to Long Island... to see your GF... EVERY DAY?

Him: Ok. Not everyday, every week. But like 5-6 times a week. I'd hang out with my friends sometimes. Or my parents.

Me: Seriously?

Him: Yeah. I love her. I'm gonna propose in two years.

Me: You know what, this is funny, I often tell women that "men who are interested act interested". Like they put in the effort to see the woman, at the very least.

Him: Yeah. She's worth the effort. I love her. She has a friend, and the friend's boyfriend lives nearby. He sees her maybe twice a week, some week's not at all. I tried to tell her friend that he's not into her or he's seeing other people, but she doesn't listen.

Me: Curious, is this your first girlfriend?

(I asked because guys tend to be like this before they've had their heartbroken or been betrayed.)

Him: No, I dated a girl for two years right before her. She cheated on me and broke my heart. I stopped working out and gained weight.

(Dude is husky, not fat.)

Me: Interesting. (I'm kinda in awe of his effort.)

Him: Not really. When you know, you know. If I had any doubts, I wouldn't work this hard.

10+ Things to Remember While You Freak Out Over Ebony Magazine's Cover


Yesterday, Ebony magazine released it's November issue, The Family Issue(s), featuring a fractured  image of "The Cosby Show" cast. The cover has been met with mixed emotions with many readers calling the cover "extreme", "in poor taste" and "sad". Cries to boycott the magazine and threats to cancel subscriptions abound. Others (like me) have praised the cover as "fresh", "exciting" and "necessary", and are waiting with breath that is bated for the issue to hit newsstands and mailboxes. (In the meantime, you can read an excerpt of the cover story, "Cliff-Hanger: Can 'The Cosby Show' Survive? Should It?" penned by Goldie Taylor,  HERE.)

Of the controversy, Ebony Editor in Chief Kierna Mayo offered the following comment on her Facebook page:

"Here's what I'll say: this was not an easy decision. But I believe with everything that our collective healing (from this and all traumas) is tied to baring truths, confronting selves, and dismantling crutches. We aim to uplift. However, sometimes before you rise up, you break down. I invite each of you, mixed feelings and all, to truly READ this issue. Listen, @ebonymag has a 70-year-old history and you'd be surprised to know how tame this cover is in many respects--especially when compared with some of what the magazine has addressed in the past. We won't stop being maverick because it makes some uncomfortable. The times are calling. Too much is at stake. Thank you to everyone with an opinion. Informed debate is healthy and we need more of it. We/I have very thick skin, so say what you must. But know this: I love you, Black people. And Ebony does too."

After reading through hundreds of visceral reactions to the new cover yesterday afternoon, I have a few thoughts of my own about what people are saying. In short, a little perspective and logic is needed.

Ahem, see below:

1. Bill Cosby is not your Dad. Neither is Dr. Huxtable.

2. The Huxtables are a fictional family. You are not related to them.

3. A critique of the legacy of a Black TV show is not a personal attack on your family, or even the Black Family at large.

4. The state of the Black family needs to be critiqued.

5. The Cosby Show is not above reproach.

6. Bill Cosby is not above reproach. He made a great TV show; he's been accused by about 50 women of doing some awful things when the cameras weren't on.

7. Bill Cosby is inseparable from The Cosby Show. The fictional Huxtable family is based on Cosby's real-life family. And a show about the Huxtables is called "The Cosby Show".

8. Ebony is not tarnishing Bill Cosby's legacy or The Cosby Show's legacy. Bill Cosby did that all by himself.


9. If you're mad at Ebony for its current cover, please also be equally mad at Bill Cosby.

10. It's not any Black person or Black publication's job to look respectable to White people. We's free now.

11. Black publications and Black people are not obligated to uplift, defend, be loyal to or protect predators because they are Black. Shame, silence and fear are how Cosby got to this point in the first place.

12 "White people don't do X, so Black people shouldn't either" is a piss poor argument (and some coonin sh--). The idea is that "the guy from 7th Heaven" didn't get dragged, so Cosby shouldn't either. But yes, actually, "the guy", Stephen Collins, did. Google him and see for yourself.

13. "Innocent until proven guilty" applies to a criminal court of law. Public opinion is not the judicial system.

14. If you only believe in the justice system when it comes to defending Bill Cosby, stop. OJ went thru the justice system and was found innocent of murdering his wife and her friend. We still think he did it.

15. "Don't judge" and "who are we to judge?" are excuses not to have an opinion. You have a brain, use it. Also, if you say "don't judge" Cosby, but you have an opinion about the cover (or editors), you're judging.

The Root: In Defense of Candy Carson


There’s a particularly mean meme about presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Lacena, aka Candy, circulating around social media. In the meme, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are striking at the China state dinner Friday. President Obama is dressed in a well-tailored tuxedo, and the first lady has long, side-swept hair and an off-the-shoulder, custom-made Vera Wang gown.

The contrasting picture of the Carsons was taken in May, on the day Carson officially announced his candidacy for president in Detroit. He is dressed in an unremarkable but still presentable blue suit. It’s Candy Carson’s appearance that makes the meme funny to some (but not me). She is wearing a hairstyle and patriotic ensemble that is unflattering, ill-fitting and dated. The meme caption is a play on a popular DirecTV commercial that clowns its cable competitors for being subpar.


This is what my P.C. mind thinks: I’m no fan of presidential candidate Ben Carson. I don’t like his politics. He receives his fair share of ire from potential voters, but he asked to be dissected in the media, traditional and social, when he announced his bid for the presidency. Candy Carson did not. There are plenty of exceptionally valid reasons to rage about Ben Carson without adding his wife to the mix.

I hark back to the time in 2008 when Obama, then just a presidential candidate, appeared on Good Morning America to defend his wife from undue attacks for her alleged lack of patriotism.

“I’ve been in public life for 20 years,” he explained. “I expect them to pore through everything that I’ve said, every utterance, every statement. And to paint it in the most undesirable light possible. That’s what they do.”

He added: “But I do want to say this ... if they think that they’re going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. Because I find that unacceptable ... I think it is just low class.”

I loved how Obama stood up for his wife. He was the candidate running for office, not his wife. And Michelle Obama didn’t deserve to be ripped apart because of his political ambitions. Her being attacked wasn’t right and was “low class.” Period.

But then there’s also the un-P.C. part of mind, the side that gets me in the most trouble as a writer. That untamed part of my brain? It’s mature enough not to laugh at Candy Carson’s expense, but it’s still asking why she came out of the house looking like that when her man is announcing his presidential bid. She didn’t just join him onstage to say, “Congrats, boo!” and go on her way. Candy Carson, an accomplished violinist, performed that day, too, playing the national anthem as her husband’s intro music. Come on!

Well-meaning sympathizers of Candy Carson have excused her appearance as a result of her religious beliefs. She is a devout Seventh-day Adventist, a religion that discourages women from wearing makeup and jewelry and emphasizes a modest appearance. OK. But religion and modesty are not synonymous with ill-fitting and unflattering and out-of-date. Also, there’s a Seventh-day Adventist church on my block, and on Saturday morning, the women I see look well put together for service. Candy Carson’s look can’t be blamed on religion.

Let me tell you a story: I recall, when I was a kid, maybe 10, I attended a family event with my mother. A male family member, who had always been praised for his looks and appearance, showed up looking dapper, as always. His wife? Not so much. Pretty lady, but she looked as if she hadn’t put in much effort for the occasion of seeing all of her husband’s family, when she should have.

My mother leaned over to me in my seat and offered me a dose of grown-lady wisdom: “When your man is looking like something, you make sure you look like it, too. Don’t show up looking like the help.” I never forgot that.

Is that shallow? Maybe.

Read the full story on 

Sisterhood on Display at the Emmys

regina-and-taraji Confession: I missed the Emmy Awards Sunday night. I was driving back to New York for work on Monday. It means I missed Viola Davis become the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. It means I missed Taraji P. Henson going HAM in the audience and from the stage for her sister-friends Viola Davis and Regina King. It means I sat alone Monday afternoon in front of my laptop watching clips of beautiful black actresses celebrating one another’s wins and crying happy tears while I marveled at the #BlackGirlMagic on worldwide display.

There’s no doubt that Henson wanted to win the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as the magnetic Cookie Lyon on Fox’s Empire. She’s a veteran actress who, after 20 years in the game and an Oscar nomination on her résumé, is just now getting her long-denied just due.

Given the breadth of her part, the flood of magazine covers, prominent interviews and international celebration of Empire, she seemed like a shoo-in. But Davis, a fellow actress whose greatness has also been long overlooked during awards season, was a formidable challenger with her star turn as Annalise Keating on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder. She deserved the win just as much. And she got it!

When her name was announced as the winner, Davis leaped to her feet in joy, kissing her husband and accepting congratulations from those around her. Across the aisle, Henson was on her feet, too, jumping up as if it were her name that had just been called. As Davis hustled her way to the stage, she made a beeline for Henson, her competitor but also her sister, who stopped her with a proud, hard, gleeful embrace. It was the kind of hug we all got—or wanted—from our mamas and grandmas at graduation. It was as if Henson had won, too.

In a sense, she did. In 2015 Davis had just made history. Henson, who has struggled for recognition, knows the work, the perseverance, the frustration that Davis faced to gain this better-late-than-never accomplishment. Davis had opened the door of possibilities. And Henson celebrated Davis the same way black folks watching at home that night (or, ahem, on YouTube the next day) would have wanted to if they were sitting in the auditorium with Davis.

Davis took the stage and stood at the microphone to accept her award, struck silent as she was overwhelmed with emotion. The camera panned to the crowd to show Henson, the only audience member on her feet, clapping her encouragement for Davis. Elsewhere in the amphitheater, Kerry Washington sat riveted and seemed to hold back tears of joy as she looked on at Davis’ speech. At home, sitting at my kitchen counter, I choked back a sob as Davis so eloquently repped for black women with her passionate line, “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.”

On Tuesday morning Henson visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show to explain her big reaction: “Viola deserved that award,” she said. “And honestly, it would have felt weird if I had gotten it over her. ... She’s been doing it longer. You’ve just got to give respect and know when your time is.”


See full story on The Root 

Ask Demetria: How Do I Get My Jump Off to Open Up More?



Dear Demetria:

"I’m having sex with a man that I would like to get to know better. I’m not trying to rush into anything; I would just like to be a little more knowledgeable about the person who is sexing me. I’ve invited him over when we talk, but he never comes. However, when he wants to have sex, he’ll ask me to meet him in various places, such as his mother’s house. I would like to be somewhere comfortable, but he seems at ease with risky places. I’m confused and not sure how to communicate with him. Any advice?" —Anonymous

I’m in support of single, consenting adults having all the safe, consensual sex they desire, whether it’s an established relationship or a one-night stand or a friends-with-benefits scenario. Your body and with whom you share it is your business.

That said, you’re hustling backward here. You want to get to know the person you’re sharing your body with now? That’s a matter that should have been worked out before you hopped into bed—or wherever y’all are having sex. Also, don’t lie to yourself about what you want here. You’re not having sex with this man because you only want a good time. You also want an emotional connection—hence, you’re inviting him over to talk and get to know each other.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a connection. But what is wrong is trying to use sex to get it. A lot of people make that mistake, and they quickly realize that the connection doesn’t last beyond the sexual engagement, if even then.

When you began this situation, you were offering sex with no strings attached, and he accepted. Now you’re trying to change the rules midway through the game. You have the absolute right to change your mind about what you’re looking for, and he has the absolute right to want to keep things as they are.

You have to start paying attention to what’s going on, though. This man has made it clear that he is interested only in having sex with you, not building a relationship with you. It’s why he’s never available to talk or spend time when there’s no sex involved, but he can quickly find the time and a corner in his mama’s house when he’s ready, willing and able. Is he even that available when you’reinterested in sex, or is sex also solely on his terms? I’m guessing that he isn’t, since he won’t even compromise to have sex in a place you would find “comfortable.”

You’re selling yourself way short here, hon. Not only does this guy sound uninterested in you beyond sex, but it also sounds as if he may be committed to someone else. Is it that he doesn’t have his own home in which to have sex with you? Or is it that there is someone else—his girlfriend or wife—who lives in the home he has, which is why you can’t go there?

Read the full story on The

Sept. 9, 2011: "As Seen on The Today Show"

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Yesterday morning, FB shared with me one of those "4 years ago today" reminders. It was a video of the time I went on The Today Show to talk about my first book, A Belle in Brooklyn.

The interview had been delayed for months. It was supposed to happen in June when the book dropped, then it was pushed indefinitely, and finally happened, well, four years ago yesterday. I only got a couple days notice of the new date.

I didn't (and don't) have a hair stylist, so it was up to me to get my hair right for my big appearance. I washed my hair the night before, against better judgment. My hair had to be dirty to stand up in its swirl, but it was too dirty to look fresh on TV. So my hair was clean and shiny, but wilted on my big day. No amount of hairspray would make it stand up properly.

I was freaking out about that the morning of, but then the car the show sent went to the wrong address. And then after the car came, we got stuck in traffic. And the driver was trying to whip through traffic and I felt car sick. And I got to the studio late, trying to keep from barfing. I forgot about my hair.

My MUA was supposed to do my face at the studios, and she was late, a first. She beat my face in 15 minutes, then we were hustled up to the wings of the studio set to wait.

I was so nervous. They don't give you the questions in advance, so you just have to plan what you want to say and weave it into the responses of whatever question is asked. My PR, Michelle Huff, had sent over talking points prior, but she was in my ear right up until I walked out with reminders: mention the blog, say the book name, don't be nervous, don't fidget, mention the blog, smile, mention the blog, sit up. MENTION THE BLOG.

The graphics in the studio changed to the name of my book in a cursive font similar to that on my book cover. I was called to set. Hoda told me I was adorable. Then we were live.

I didn't remember what I said, exactly. I mentioned being assaulted which wasn't the plan, but a question came up and I gave an honest answer. Hoda fawned over the book. My PR and MUA and my publishing PR said I did great.

After the show, I changed into my flip flops and walked a couple blocks to my job in my cocktail dress to get to work. I sat at my desk in my cube. I'd told everyone at my job that I would be on The Today Show, but I don't think they believed me. No one watched. No one said congrats when I got back. I went in the bathroom and changed into work clothes and put the whole experience aside. *

Later that day, a VERY popular Black author lamented on Twitter that she had sold millions of books, but had never been on The Today Show (or GMA). That same afternoon, I was watching a live stream of a conference I wanted to attend, but couldn't because of work. There was a guy talking about how he had a day job and he created this side business. It was successful enough to land him on The Today Show. He said, "everyone doesn't get to the Today Show. It's a huge opportunity and you have about six weeks to capitalize on it. I couldn't capitalize on it the way I need to because of my job. I was busy building someone else's dream, and didn't have time for my own. The Today Show was was I realized I wasn't dreaming anymore. My dream was my reality. I had to make the most of it, so I quit my job."

I agonized over quitting. I REALLY loved my job. But I had speaking offers for a LOT of money, to me anyway, and no vacation days left. I'd used them all going on a 5 city book tour.. And my new boss had said "no" to taking more time off.

I asked my mentor who worked at my job what to do. She told me to quit. She was in her late 60s and had once quit her job as the EIC of a magazine when she was about my age at the time. Of all questions, I asked her what I was supposed to write on the declaration form (I'd already decided I was going to travel if I quit) when it asked what my job was. It really bothered me that I wouldn't have some corporate affiliation.

She told me, "you write 'A Belle in Brooklyn. It's a brand, as seen on The Today Show."

Less than a month after my Today Show appearance, I quit my job. I've been living my dream ever since.**


*In fairness, most of my co-workers had been on the show to talk about The Magazine, so it may not have been considered a big deal. Also, the website for my then-job did run an article on my appearance.

** "Living the dream" does not mean everyday is glorious. It means I work everyday on building something I own.

Twitter Goes HAM for Actor Bae, John David Washington



On Thursday afternoon, it seemed as if the 40-and-under ladies of Twitter had made a shocking discovery. As it would turn out, everybody’s mama’s celebrity crush had created a “sequel” of sorts for a new generation of fans.

Or, to put it plainly: Heartthrob Denzel Washington has a grown-ass son. And he is finnnnnne, just like his daddy!

John David Washington, 31, is an actor who appeared alongside Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson in the HBO comedy series Ballers, which recently wrapped its first season. The show claimed the network’s best ratings for a comedy series in a decade, according to the New York Daily News.


John David Washington played Ricky Jerret, a flashy and troublesome receiver with a magnetic personality. Despite Washington’s scene-stealing performances, somehow the show came (in June) and went (in August) without most of the audience realizing he was Hollywood royalty, despite’s announcement in a headline in October 2013 when J.D. joined the Ballers cast: “Denzel Washington’s Son John David Washington Lands First Major Acting Role.”

I guess most viewers just weren’t paying attention to that ... or that the younger Washington sounds (often, but not always), looks and moves like his father. In fairness, this isn’t the same as the O’Shea Jackson (aka Ice Cube) situation, where father and son are practically identical. Depending on the angle, Washington looks more like his mom, Pauletta Washington, who has been married to Denzel since 1983. But still.

Ballers isn’t Washington’s first introduction to Hollywood. In 1992 he appeared in Malcolm X, which starred his father, who deserved the best actor Academy Award (he was nominated but didn’t win) for his turn as the slain civil rights leader. The younger Washington was credited as a “student in Harlem classroom” on IMDb, i.e., one of the kids who pop up from their chairs to yell, “I’m Malcolm X!” (He’s the first kid to say it.) Washington was also a co-producer for 2010’s The Book of Eli, which also starred his dad.

So, OK, some folks were a little late, but that’s probably not by accident. The younger Washington, who attended Morehouse College on a football scholarship and had a brief stint in the NFL, has a history of declining any attention that may come his way because of his famous father.

“Since I’ve known him, he has shunned away from media attention,” the younger Washington’s former football coach told ESPN in 2003. “He doesn’t want to get attention that the other guys on the team are not getting just because of his father. John David is a very humble young man from everything I’ve seen.”


Humble and apparently smart, too. Sure, Washington would have garnered more media—traditional and social—attention on Ballers by coasting off his father’s name, but he would also have been relentlessly compared with him, too. While I’m sure Washington wouldn’t hesitate to utilize his dad, and mom—who met her husband when they both performed in an off-Broadway play—for advice or introductions, I respect the younger Washington a little more for showcasing his talent instead of name-dropping his biological affiliations to get our attention.

Read full article on The Root 

Ask Demetria: Should I Wait 'Til His Divorce Is Final to Date?


Dear Demetria:

I’m currently in a seven-month relationship with a married man who is separated from his wife (it’ll be a year this October). They don’t live together but are co-parenting a child. I’ve met the baby, wife, immediate family as well as close friends. Also, he took me on a trip out of the country for a wedding that he and his wife were initially invited to. While I love how things are going, entering a new season (mid-20s), I am reassessing this. Should I back up because his marital status isn’t “divorced”? Let me mention that he wants one and his wife doesn’t. Or should I give it more time (two years) to see what happens? —Anonymous 

The man you are dating is married. Period. He might be separated from his wife, but he is still married to her. “Separated” does not mean “single.” You’re right to reassess this one in your new season because this is a bad situation.

You don’t realize it, but you are a rebound from his marriage. If you’ve been in a relationship with him for seven months, that means you likely met him when he’d been out of his marital home for a few months. This other woman’s husband didn’t take hardly any time to process separating from his wife before he took up with you.

Maybe he was deeply unhappy in his marriage and knows for certain that he wants out. I can fully understand that. But he still has to take the time to process the end of his marriage and assess what went wrong and the role he may have played. (It does take two.) Unless he does that, it’s impossible for him not to bring the baggage from his relationship with his wife into the relationship with you. He needs to “do his work.” You’re a distraction from that.

Also, they are still in a relationship. This isn’t like dating, where you say “It’s over,” move out and, just like that, the relationship is over. It has to be legally dissolved. Many states require a legal separation of a full year before couples can even begin divorce proceedings. There’s a reason for that. The hope is that if spouses take the time to consider their situation thoughtfully and with clear heads, they can work out their issues and reunite.

He says he wants out. His wife says otherwise, which makes this situation very messy. They have history, memories and a child together. And while the marriage is rocky, it isn’t over. He has unfinished business with his family.

It’s also not just another random woman who wants him; it’s his wife. That holds more weight than you seem to give it. At any moment, he could decide that he acted too rashly, wants to give his family another shot, and return where his wife and child are waiting with open arms. If you told me he’d been separated for years, I’d wonder what the holdup was, but I’d think that a reunion was less likely to happen (even though I know of couples who have been separated for years and worked things out). But a guy who got in a serious relationship three months after he moved out? Anything’s possible at this point.

I’m wondering why, in your mid-20s, you’re willing to take on the complications of a married man with a wife and child. What is so compelling and urgent about this relationship that you can’t wait for his divorce papers? Is there some sort of ego boost, knowing that he has a wife but he’s choosing you over her? Do you feel that he’s giving you the wife treatment because he’s taking you to events that he planned to attend with her?


Read the full story on The Root 

Behind the Scenes with Belle at GMA

Demetria does "Modern Romance" on Good Morning America "Don't forget the graphic."

"Smile, so you don't have RBF." 

"Get to the point, so you get to the fourth question."

"Sit up straight so your boobs aren't on the table." 

"What's my first line again?" 

"Be clear, concise." 

"Not too much about New York or Black folk. This isn't a New York or Black audience."

"MRS degree. MRS degree. Don't forget MRS degree." 

"We don't depend on men for survival."

"60s housewife. You have to say 60s housewife. If MRS doesn't stand out, this will." 

"Remember to breathe." 

"Oh sh--. We're live!" 

"She's talking to me."



The build up for doing live TV is more scary than actually doing it.

I did a pre-interview with the Good Morning America producer yesterday. He asked me a million questions. The call lasted 30 minutes. All that chat has been boiled down to a segment that lasts 1:45. I'm in and I'm out. Fast and not so easy. As soon as I get warm, the segment is over. Warm is not enough. Hot. I gotta be hot.

In the green room, the producer rehearses the segment with me four times. I keep forgetting to mention the graphic. I'm talking too much. We're at 2.5 minutes. We need 1:48. Again. 2.20. Again. 1:48. Again. 2:00. It's fine. The fourth question is the advice. The good part where I tell women to shorten their lists. 3-5 must haves, everything else is about communication and whether you're compatible. Be "aggressive", ie, do something when you see a fine man. Say "hello", smile, ask a question or pay a compliment. And stop listening to all these doomsday statistics. You are one woman looking for one man. This is entirely feasible. I need to get this part in.

The producer's not gonna force the time. I just need to remember the graphic. "If you forget, it's not the end of the world, but my boss wanted the graph, so try hard," he says. What he means is: whatever you do, do NOT forget the graph.

I walk on set and there are three sets in one big room: a news desk, a half moon table, and a living room. There are 50 people: producers, sound men, cameramen, a director, other talent, the host. Fans. Kids. There's a gigantic window where people walking thru Times Square can watch from outside. It's a crowd. 50? 100? I don't judge crowd size well. And big a-- cameras. That are moving. I'm in the way. I move. Now I'm in the way of another camera. I move again. The graphics on the wall keep changing.

A lady who was in the green room with me enters the set. She came down after me, but she's going on before. She walks over to her set and takes a seat. She's a natural. She's done this a million times. I want to do this a million times too.

I'm up. I'm not seated on the side a junior producer said I would be on. Hold up. Which way do I point to indicate the graph? I look out into the 50 or so people milling around. I don't see my producer. I get distracted by Robin's shoes. Are those Sophia Webster?

The intro video is playing. All my directions are playing in my head. The video is wrapping up. It's almost time.  I replay instructions in my head. "She's talking to me."


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I talked. I almost forgot the graphic, but then the the wall screen moved rapidly and I caught it in my peripheral vision. I think, hey, look at that! That's cool, but I mention the graphic out loud and give commentary. I honestly don't know what I said, but the hosts are laughing and applauding. I smile because I've done something good. And, you know, no RBF. We're going to commercial. I missed the fourth question. Sh--.

I'm being guided off set by the producer. He says I did great. I'm disappointed. I say, "but I missed the fourth question." That's not hot.

Producer: "But you remembered the graphic!" He's happy. I hope his boss is too.

I check my Instagram. No one watching knew there was a fourth question. (Almost) Everyone's happy. I know from experience that social media will not hesitate to rip me a new one if I weren't better than good.

I get a text from my father, by far my hardest critic, and the only opinion I really care about. Weird that nothing came thru from him before now. He usually likes to text me while I'm on air live with instructions. Smile. Pause before you answer. Don't cut off the question. Don't nod out of nervousness because it might be something you don't agree with. Don't fidget. It doesn't matter that I can't see any of this until after the cameras stop.

His text reads: "outstanding." Period.

My PR sends me the link. I refuse to watch it. I hate looking at myself on TV.


Part 2- After the Show: Catching Up with “Power” Creator Courtney Kemp Agboh

*SPOILER ALERT*  *SPOILER ALERT*  *SPOILER ALERT*  *SPOILER ALERT* For Part 1 of the interview with Courtney Kemp Agboh, click HERE 

Part 2 is below.


DLD: My next question is weird: who is James St. Patrick? And I ask that because I’ve watched 2 seasons of this show, each episode 3-4x and all I’m absolutely sure of is he loves his kids and he wants to go legit. I can’t trust what he says or what he does.

Agboh: LOL!


DLD: You’re laughing, but as a viewer I’m like, “What is this man thinking?!” Who is he at the core, other than a man chasing the American Dream?

Agboh: He’s the black man in America! He is trying to make a way out of no way. and every time he tries to make a way out of no way, he has to shift his hustle a little bit because people are coming at him in a different way.

The truth is that he is a little bit of a fiction, a little bit of a figment of Ghost’s imagination. James ST. Patrick is who young Jamie wanted to be when he grew up so he’s performing an identity. Ghost is always performing. He wants to be “Breaking Good”. I really set out to write that.


DLD: In the penultimate episode of this season, Ghost has this primal scream when he sends Shawn on his way. I saw the memes about he scream, there was so much discussion about that scream. What was that exactly? It’s a sound, but it says so much.

Agboh: That’s a great question for Omari. It just erupted naturally from Omari in scene. There was so much rage and so much frustration from Ghost with Shawn, like don’t be THIS. I invested in you and I don’t want you to be this. Ghost feels like he failed in that moment.


DLD: Was there in-fighting in the writer’s room about Shawn being killed? I think when a series regular goes, it’s a hard decision. It was the natural conclusion for his story arc but still.. ugh! Was there a fight for him to stay?

Agboh: That character actually dies in the original outline for the pilot. No one in the writer’s room thought he would go that long. Sinqua Walls, the actor that plays Shawn, is so interesting that we decided to keep writing for the character. But in the writer’s room, there was no fight because it wasn’t a new decision.

In the original script for the pilot, Shawn was Ghost’s illegitimate son from a relationship prior to Tasha , but Tasha did not know that, so when she masturbates in front of Shawn we the audience would have found out later that she had no idea that Shawn was actually her stepson. We didn’t end up telling that story. But he always died. We said to Sinqa, you earned your way to 17 episodes. 



DLD: Dre is an equally confusing character as Ghost. I hate to make other TV show comparisons, but I see him as the “Marlo” to “Avon” and “Stringer”. He’s the next generation, a colder, harder, worse version of the one that came before him. I can’t read him. He says one thing and does another. What is he up to? He wants to be Ghost? 

Agboh: Here’s the arc. Dre wants to serve Kanan because Kanan saved his life in jail. And then over time working for Kanan, he realizes this MF is f---ed up. Ok. When Kanan kills Shawn, that’s Dre’s last moment. Dre was fighting for supremacy over Shawn throughout the season, then he sees that you get that number one spot, and what do you get? Dead. He understands what Kanan has been saying: Ghost stabbed me in the back; Ghost put me in jail, all of which is true. But Dre has perspective at the end of the season, like, I know why that n---a did that… because you’re crazy. You’re a bad dad, and a bad boss. I’m outta here. 



DLD: Do you have a favorite scene from the show?

Agboh: Episode 107, Ghost kills Rolla. It’s the whole show in one scene. Ghost is thinking, I want to be good, I’d like to be good. I love this kid, I don’t want to do it. What he is saying is making sense. My frontal lobe is clicking with what he’s saying, but I can’t trust it. I have to be bad.


DLD: Do you have a favorite character? Based on what you said earlier, I’m guessing it’s Tasha?

Agboh: I do. But I can’t tell you who it is.


DLD: A mystery!

Agboh:I try not to have favorites, but there is a character that expresses more of my inner monologue than any other character. That’s what I’ll say. There’s one character that’s more like me.

Power 2014

DLD: Was it intentional to have viewers lose love for Angie? I know in the beginning I was rooting for her. As an engaged— at that time— woman, I was like yeah, I know he’s married, but I was rooting for him to be with his mistress. My circle is professional women, and I think some people feel there’s a disconnect in how Angie can be so smart at work, and so stupid about love. I get why Ghost sticks by her, but not always why she sticks by him. 

Agboh: In episode 102, Paz says to Angela, “you think about love like you’re a little girl, it’s not rainbows and butterflies”.. She’s standing in the dining room at her apartment and she smooths her sister’s hair and she talks to her about how Greg is a good guy. And Angela is “yeah, but…” because she wants this fairytale. If you go back and watch that scene, I think it will explain everything.

There’s definitely a polarizing effect that character has and people either love her or hate her. I feel so strongly that her behavior is real. We’ve all been with that man. He’s terrible. He sucks. You should walk away. Why aren’t you walking away?! You can’t.

Sometimes the actors will ask me, well, do I have to do this sex scene and I’m like, “yes!” Part of what keeps you hooked is the stuff that is released in your body when you have really great sex with someone. It’s a drug that you get hooked on. We joke around about getting hooked on that dick but that’s actually a really thing!


DLD: Dickmatized is real! 

Agboh: Pussy-whupped is real! People don’t think that it actually happens.


DLD: I think the visceral reaction some women have toward Angie is they want her to make the decision that they couldn’t make when they were in that situation, they continuing to engage with him. You kind of want this character that you were to make the decision that you could not or would not when you were dating the guy that you should have walked out on early on, but didn’t. 

Agboh: I say for those people: wait for season 3. At some point, he is going to do something that she can not forgive.


DLD: Can you give us hints as to what’s coming in season 3? 

That’s a pretty big hint. She cannot forgive him. He doesn’t do it ‘til the end of the season.



After the Show: Catching Up with "Power" Creator Courtney Kemp Agboh

  "Power" creator Courtney Kemp Agboh

You know how much I love "Power"! So you can only imagine how happy I was when the show's creator, head writer, and show runner, Courtney Kemp Agboh, agreed to an interview for ABIB.  I liked her before our chat (in the same way that I like David Simon from The Wire)  because she's created a show that I obsess over. But post-interview? I'm officially in love! In addition to being all things awesome, Agboh is a former magazine girl (just like me) turned Hollywood powerhouse (um, not me... yet).

I caught up with Agboh via phone as she was sitting in the dark in her LA office, finalizing a script for a Season 3 episode of "Power". (Hint: two characters pull guns on each other... again.) For 45 minutes we talked all things "Power", from Black women harping on Tasha's complexion, to Omari free-styling Jamie's primal scream, to Shawn's 17 extra lives— and much more.

Check out Part 1 of my interview with Agboh below!

ABIB: Where did the idea of “Power” come from? I read it was two shows kind of rolled into one?

Agboh: Mark Caton and 50 Cent had an idea for a fast paced music series. I was putting together a show about my dad. He died in 2011 and I was trying to work my way through that loss. My dad was not a drug dealer, but he was a self-made man, who was very invested in looks, and in perception being reality. Many of the building blocks for creating Ghost are based on those traits. Also, my favorite book, or one of them, is The Great Gatsby, so that figures into the show as well.


ABIB:  I can totally see that. The “fake it til you make it” idea?

Agboh: That and the woman who got away that he couldn’t have, and when she comes back, only showing her the one side of him. All those things


Agboh with "Power" Executive Producer Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson

ABIB:  How much input does Fiddy have on the show?

Agboh: Lots! We talk about everything. We have long phone conversations. He reads everything, but he doesn’t write, per se. But he is a writer. All rappers are poets. A lot of times we’ll be on the phone and I will literally write down exactly what he says and put it in the show.


ABIB:  I know that you write most of the show, in addition to being the head writer and the creator and the show runner, but some of the reads on the show…. in the finale Tommy says to Ghost, “No matter how much your suits cost or how many clubs you ever own, you just a ghetto ass corner boy from around the way with a drunk for a daddy and no mama. You ain’t changed at all.” I’m like, Oh God. Pause the show. Is that all you or is that the collection of writers? 

Agboh: I’m a very angry person. Just because I didn’t grow up with guns, doesn’t mean I don’t secretly go off in my head occasionally. As a writer, you get to have characters express things that you wouldn’t say out loud, you know? I’m wearing a pencil skirt and a little cardigan while we’re talking, but I just wrote a scene where one character pulls a gun on another. It’s part of the imagination, and that’s how I talk in my head.


ABIB:  I love it! I wonder what you thought about the show’s comparisons to Empire? Fiddy was very vocal about it. Are you flattered to be compared to the other show or is it unfair because they’re comparing two shows just because they’re Black and they’re really not very much alike?

Agboh: It’s tiresome and bordering on racist. Nobody compares “Breaking Bad” and “Nashville”. No one says Dynasty was the same as Hill St. Blues. Those shows are so different. So many people approach me and ask me, ‘what do you think about Empire?’ I told 50 a while ago: "show runners do not make diss records. We don’t beef publicly. It doesn’t work that way." It’s just a show and we’re another show. I have much respect for Ilene Chaiken who is the showrunner over there. No one ever talks about her. I have respect for the actors. I think it’s an obnoxious comparison. I guess people have to make it and have to cover it but our show premiered a season prior [to Empire], so it’s at little like, “huh?”


ABIB:  We hear a lot of talk about he disadvantages of being a Black woman in Hollywood, what are the advantages? 

Agboh: The advantage is that people still think I’m a unicorn. So sometimes I get to have these experiences that other people don’t get to have. I get to mentor young Black women. I get to chose who I hire behind the camera. I get to say unpopular stuff out loud and have a platform. I get to say my truth.




ABIB:  I know you’re very active on Twitter, but I’m not sure how closely you follow the TV recaps and blogs about the show. Has there been anything that audience latches on to and you’re just like “really, people?” 

Agboh: My number one bugaboo is Black women that say Ghost is somehow dissing Black women by being with Angela. I’ve never told anyone else this, I’ll give you an exclusive. We were doing testing for the show, and when you do tests, you also do quadrants of people. There were a number of people who wrote when they first saw the pilot and said Ghost wouldn’t have been with a woman as dark as Tasha.


ABIB:  Wow. 

Agboh: And do you know who those people were?


ABIB:  Black women. 

Agboh: Black women! Why the hell do we hate ourselves so much that we would think that? Its’ so amazing what we do to each other, that we’ve internalized that much hate, and carry it around in ourselves. Ghost isn’t trading up with Angela. That’s his first love. That’s the one thing that I’m like, “Ugghhh! you’re missing something!”

The other thing is when people say Tasha is “ride or die”. If you go back to the first season, Ghost says to Tasha, “I want to be more” and she says, “What more?! We have everything!” He literally says, “Can you get on board? I want to go legit” and she says, “I don’t want to do that. I want you to be what I want you to be.”


ABIB:  Sometimes I feel very sorry for Tasha. She has a man who wants more and she can’t see it. She is very limited in the way she thinks.

Agboh: Tasha is complicated. She once had ambitions of her own. She wanted to be a singer. She has half an accounting degree. But she decided to supplicate her desires and get on board with this man and she made a bad bargain with Ghost.

Tasha is one of my heroes on the show. Tasha is growing. What we see in the first episode, in the pilot, Tasha has the first line of the series. There’s a reason we start with Tasha. She says to Ghost, “Tell me I’m beautiful.” She doesn’t own her own beauty. She needs Ghost to tell her about it.

Over the course of the series what you’ll see is that she begins to figure out for herself her own worth and that her worth is beyond the outside package. At one point we talked about getting rid of the nails and the weave, then Shonda did that sh-- on HTGAWM and we were like nah, we’ll go another way. But we are going to explore the idea of who is Tasha under all that. She’s trying to navigate a situation with not a full set of maturity. One of the things that’s there if you look, those twins are 10 years old in the show; she just turned 30. So how old was she when she had them? She didn’t have a lot of childhood or post adolescence. She kind of hustled into this. We’ll see her grow.


Part 2 of my interview with Courtney Kemp Agboh will post tomorrow. :-)