Here's your heads up—If you didn't see the series finale of Being Mary Jane last night, click out of this now. Spoiler on top of spoiler is all up in this.
Before getting into the series finale of Being Mary Jane, can I just say on behalf of all of us who have a long-standing history of supporting quality Black television that we're grateful it got a series finale? Some of us know that (eh hem) certain networks have done some of our favorite shows wrong in the past (Living Single and Girlfriends immediately come to mind. New York Undercover did have a finale although it ran almost six months after FOX canceled it; the show is reportedly getting a reboot, though). So yeah, although the last episode Being Mary Jane aired in the fall of 2017, it was still good to see everyone—both on the show and watching it from home—get some much-needed closure last night.
Being Mary Jane/BET
The writers didn't waste any time, either. In the first five minutes of the finale, Mary Jane got engaged to Justin (Michael Ealy) and found out that she was pregnant—the two things Mary Jane has been wanting, basically since we've met her. However, conception was not due to some make-up sex with fine-and-some-mo-fine Andre (Omari Hardwick) after he officially ended things with his wife (season one will always be my absolute fave!) or a quickie from that absolutely breathtaking piece of Godiva chocolate football playin' man Brandon (Thomas Q. Jones). Nope. It was because, many moons before, Mary Jane and Justin broke up and—surprise, surprise—she did something erratic: she went to a sperm bank and got some donor sperm. 48 hours after their break-up.
Needless to say, this didn't go over well for Justin as he said to Mary Jane what it seems all of the men in her life—family, friend, boyfriend or sex buddy—have said to her since episode one of the show: "It's always about what you want" and they broke up. Again.
Fast forward into Mary Jane showing—by the way, Gabrielle, you continue to show us your strength. You've been so open about your fertility journey and although you have your own little bundle of joy in Miss Kaavia James now, I can only imagine what it was like to pretend that you were pregnant for so much of this finale. She's again not listening (this time about what her diet choices should be while pregnant) and ends up throwing up in a trash can. Then an old flame walks up. Let's pause here. If there's one thing that Gabrielle Union and Morris Chestnut have in common, it's how exquisitely they age. Well, that and the fact that cameras really seem to like them together because this isn't even close to being the first time they've shared the screen together.
Being Mary Jane/BET
Anyway, this time Morris's character's name is Beau (short for Beauregard, go figure). He and Mary Jane used to date in college (according to Mary Jane's family, he was quite the nerd. Apparently, we should look past nerds up on IG to see what's up). They start to date. He's not bothered by her pregnancy. Not in the least.
OK, allow me to get in my feelings for a moment. Although Gabrielle and Morris always look beautiful together and have great chemistry (I personally appreciated the pregnancy sex scene; we don't see women portrayed as mad sexy on the tube nearly enough), I have to admit didn't feel super connected to them. I think it's because up until last night, I don't recall ever even hearing about Beau. Although I knew that Shelden (Gary Dourdan) and Lee (Chiké Okonkwo) returning were long shots, I know I'm not the only one who thought that maybe, just maybe, time would heal all wounds and mature some things so that Mary Jane and David (Stephen Bishop) could finally end up on the same page. Yeah, David did some crappy things (they both did), but their storyline was written so well that I couldn't help but be somewhat emotionally reminiscent, invested and…hopeful. Nope. Guess he's still a millionaire and with the 6.5 model and his daughter.
Back to the recap. In between all that Mary Jane had going on, her family had their own stuff too. Before last night, her parents were on the outs and her dad (an also fine man, Richard Roundtree) put their family home up for sale. Well, guess who bought it? Cutie pie—and I mean that in the best and most grown up way possible—PJ (B.J. Britt). Let me also pause here and say that, as a woman who is oh so very fond of tall, dark and handsome, Being Mary Jane has always been consistent in showcasing just that. THANK YOU. OK, back to the house. Guess what one of the rooms consists of? The beginnings of Mary Jane's niece, Niecy's (Raven Goodwin) beauty salon.
And can I just say this about Raven? She looked really beautiful last night. I've been checkin' for her ever since she played the little girl in the movieLovely and Amazing. Niecy ends up finding love with a man who helped her put her business plan together. Black love and partnership. Dope. Niecy's dad (Richard Brooks) also looked great last night. Still sober and clean. Also dope.
Being Mary Jane/BET
Then there's MJ's bestie, Kara (Lisa Vidal). Whew. Kara had a lot going on. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and got a double mastectomy. The scenes with her and Mary Jane right after surgery and then Kara's man, Orlando (Nicholas Gonzalez) proposing while she was recovering in the hospital probably got to me the most.
Real love is when you're adored at your "worst", not your best. Memo received.
OK, so back to Mary Jane. Without MJ's knowledge, Kara asks Justin to fill in for her until she could come back to work. However, really what Kara was doing was playing matchmaker. Clearly, she was onto something because when Justin and Beau run into each other in Mary Jane's office, Mary Jane introduced Beau as "her friend" (ouch). You kinda knew where Mary Jane stood after that.
As far as she and Justin go, probably my favorite scene with them was when she went out to his home/farm/compound and he told her about herself. Justin described Mary Jane as being "curious, persistent, passionate, driven, courageous" and "frustrating, stubborn, difficult and selfish as hell". Honestly, I think all of those adjectives are what kept us attached to Mary Jane for so long. No matter how mad we got at her at times, more than anything, it was probably because she reflected some of the best and worst parts of our own selves. Wanting love but not always going about the right ways to get it. Exuding strength while being extremely vulnerable. Being accomplished but never fully satisfied. Making erratic decisions that reflect all of these things.
Being Mary Jane/BET
The writers were kind to MJ, and us, by granting closure. Oh, but it wouldn't be a true Being Mary Jane episode without some last-minute drama—and there was. When Justin came to her place to meet her son, Albert James (AJ for short), while Justin was in the bathroom helping AJ get through a night of cholic, guess who shows up? Again, not David (le sigh). It was Beau. Beau with a ring (of course, with a ring). Justin walks in and then…the next scene is Mary Jane in that killer wedding dress.
Do you really have to guess which man she chose? I mean, c'mon now. Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed" played at the wedding. I was giddy to see—and hear—Lalah Hathaway sing "Angel" at the reception. I must say that, for nostalgia's sake, I did wish that Mary Jane's old ATL neighbor Mark (Aaron D. Spears), her on-again-off-again homie and publicist Nichelle (Brely Evans) or even the couple she put through the ringer Chris (Chris Spencer) and Valerie (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) were present. But still, between Mary Jane getting married to a man she really loved—yes Justin—and not just a man who wanted to marry her, her parents reconciling and everyone being happy and healthy, it really is good to not be stuck ever-wondering what happened to everyone (like we still are with Living Single and Girlfriends…SMH).
And although we didn't get this finale wrapped up in a Post-it, one of the last things to come out of Mary Jane's mouth are definitely words to live by—in her world and in our own.
The second you get out of your own way and stop orchestrating, it happens.
If you retain nothing else I said but that, it's more than enough.
Take care, Mary Jane. Enjoy the rest of your life…just as it happens.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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