We've All Been Mary Jane11/03/2015
by Raquelle Harris It’s no secret that the representation of Black women on TV continues to lag behind our White counterparts. It speaks ...
by Raquelle Harris
It’s no secret that the representation of Black women on TV continues to lag behind our White counterparts. It speaks volumes that after almost 70 years of the Emmy awards’ existence, Viola Davis is the first African-American to win for Best Actress in a Drama. As Viola indicated in her acceptance speech, the opportunities for Black actresses remain limited. Characters like Annalise Keating (How To Get Away With Murder), Olivia Pope (Scandal) and Mary Jane Paul (Being Mary Jane) are examples that progress has been made, however, this ‘progress’ is constantly challenged and critiqued.
Recently, I saw a Facebook post that said, “Getting ready to watch Being a Successful Hoe oops I meant Being Mary Jane.” I immediately responded by saying that I disagreed and expressed my opinion about why I believe that Being Mary Jane is quality entertainment; it’s raw, realistic, and relatable. The lady replied, “I disagree. That’s your opinion and I have mines.” Several other ladies shared my opinion that Mary Jane is not a “successful hoe.” Her choices about her sex life make her a human being fulfilling her innate and carnal desires, not a hoe. Mary Jane, like many of us, simply wants to be happy. But, she is still figuring out how to achieve long term happiness.
The complexity of Mary Jane draws you in, like bees to honey. She is a paradox, because she manages to be strong, shrewd, and supportive of her family and friends, while also being weak, messy, and judgmental. She is self-assured in her career, unafraid to challenge her employer, as she breaks through the proverbial glass ceiling. Yet, she is haunted by being unmarried and childless. And although she is a busy career woman with a housekeeper, she has penchant for baking cakes. Mary Jane is the epitome of contradictions and shenanigans. She is a woman working her resilient Black Girl Magic, despite her flaws. When she’s stopping a friend from committing suicide, exposing human trafficking, or mentoring her wayward niece, Mary Jane is Super Woman. But, when she’s trapping her ex into having a baby, being a self-righteous bitch, or downing too much tequila, that “S” on her chest disappears. Just as you’re ready to delete her from your DVR line-up, Mary Jane shows that she is a work in progress that deserves another chance.
We’ve all been Mary Jane at some point or another—some of us still are Mary Jane. How many are willing to admit that?
Raquelle "Rocki" Harris aspires to be an on-air radio personality and an author. She has an immense love and passion for music, reading, and writing. Find more of her literary gems at: Rocki's Reality