Mara Brock Akil teams up with Netflix to create original content

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Akil’s Girlfriends to premiere on Netflix in the US on September 11 in celebration of 20th anniversary

Hollywood, Calif: Netflix has announced a new partnership with prolific writer-producer-director Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends, The Game, Being Mary Jane, Black Lightning) to create new original content. As part of the multi-year agreement, Brock Akil will write and produce scripted content and other creative projects for Netflix. 

Netflix recently announced Akil’s celebrated series will be available to members for the first time – The Game is available now and Girlfriends is set to premiere on September 11 in celebration of its 20th anniversary. Fans can join the Girlfriends 20th anniversary celebration on Instagram live on Friday, September 11 at 5 pm PT hosted by Akil on @StrongBlackLead along with surprise cast and guest appearances; and immediately following on Twitter as Akil hosts a live watch party of the first two episodes of Season 1 at 6 pm PT #GirlfriendsOnNetflix. 

“It is a dream to partner with the force of Netflix, for we have the same goals: telling human stories for a global audience.  I’m excited to have a home that allows me the creative freedom and support to do what I do best: paint portraits and murals of women, Black people and anyone else whose story is missing from this golden age of television. Representation matters and so does who you build with; I can’t wait to work closely with Channing Dungey and her team to launch some great stories,” said Akil.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mara Brock Akil to Netflix. Her signature storytelling, authentic perspective and captivating characters have long entertained audiences and proven to be relevant, timely and endlessly engaging. We look forward to bringing her distinct voice, vision and passion to our global members,” said Channing Dungey, VP Original Series, Netflix. 

Mara Brock Akil has written and produced over 400 episodes of television, truly leaving her mark on Hollywood. Groundbreaking in many ways, Akil created the seminal television series Girlfriends in 2000. The series was a witty, intelligent and honest exploration of the many facets of Black womanhood. During its 8-season run on air, it was one of the highest-rated scripted shows among African-Americans aged 18-34. Additionally, during that time, Akil developed the spin-off series The Game, which premiered in 2006 and also quickly became a fan-favorite. In fact, loyal fans of The Game rallied behind the series upon its cancellation in what was then an unprecedented way, taking to social media to launch a campaign to save the series. Taking notice, BET stepped up and struck a deal to renew the series and develop additional episodes.

When season 4 of The Game premiered on BET in 2011, the series exceeded all expectations, drawing in 7.7 million viewers, becoming the most-watched scripted-series premiere ever on ad-supported cable. The series continued on for a total of nine seasons, earning praise throughout its run for its verisimilitude and, during the reality television boom, was one of the few shows on television that felt truly specific to its moment. In 2013, Akil developed her first one-hour drama, BET’s Being Mary Jane, further cementing her ability to tell powerful, and engaging stories that speak to women through honest, true-to-life reflections. Unquestionably, Akil’s work put BET scripted series on the map for the first time ever with back-to-back hits gleaning such large audiences. Akil has continued that legacy and passion through her most recent projects, including The CW’s Black Lightning and others. 

Beyond her work as a writer and producer, her peers have consistently recognized Akil as a leader in the industry. In 2019, Akil was honored with the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award by NATPE for exhibiting extraordinary passion, leadership, independence and vision through her work, as well as for her contributions to the medium of television as a content creator. In 2017, she was inducted into Northwestern’s Medill Hall of Achievement and received the distinguished Northwestern Alumni Medal, the highest honor bestowed on alumni by the Northwestern Alumni Association. She garnered both these prestigious awards from her alma mater within the same year. Among her prior accolades include Essence magazine’s Visionary Award during their annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon and being named to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter’s Showrunner Power Lists, as well as The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power100, multiple times.