Love is patient, love is kind, and love can also get a little complicated. OWN's new summer series Love Is ___ is the true story of the journey that two complex individuals from opposite worlds navigate while falling in love and finding themselves in an even more complicated world; and the trailer will give you all the feels.
Last year, the network called on the creator of Being Mary Jane, Mara Brock Akil and her husband, Salim Akil to executive produce an hour-long romantic dramedy set primarily in the 90's that will depict the narrative of their unconventional love story. The network recently announced the release date for the series, and its honest perspective of relationships in the black community will challenge the lack of authenticity that exists in mainstream media.
The tale will chronicle the lives of the modern-day power-couple and how a relationship that started 20 years ago influenced the lives that they live today. Individually, they are both legends in their own right; but together, the couple have had a hand in writing and/or producing over 350 episodes on prime time TV for shows including The Game, Girlfriends, and Soul Food and have garnered a multitude of respect in the industry from some major players. Oprah said:
"I've dreamed of working with the Akils. I've been a huge fan of their work since first viewing 'Girlfriends.' They know just how to hit the cultural nerve to make you think and laugh at the same time."
Mara and Akil met on the set of Moesha and married in 1999. Despite her issues with abandonment and his battle with depression, the Akils are proof that love really does conquer all. The two seemingly came from different worlds: Mara was privileged with high expectations and wide-eyed for opportunity, and Salim had a tough upbringing and had fathered his first child by age 13. It took Salim a year after meeting his one-day wife to gather up the courage to ask her out, and after their first meal together he asked:
"Can we cut the bullshit and get on about the business of living a life together?"
Later, Mara encouraged Salim to quit his full-time job working with the mentally ill and pursue his writing career and now, they are both industry leaders and recipients of a number of awards and accolades for their work. Their story is a reminder that your wife can determine the trajectory of your life, but the couple's unconventional fairytale didn't come without some bumps along the way.
Love Is ___ will give us the opportunity to experience the magic all over again.
The series chronicles the chaotic romantic and professional life of a character based on a Young Mara named Nuri, played by Michele Weaver, who much like all of us, is just trying to figure it all out. The show is a truthful reminder that love can be complicated, but it's worth it in the end. Cast members said that the show would give an honest look at the challenges and imperfections that it really takes to make this love thing work. Weaver says in the trailer:
"Love is authentic, it's refreshing, and it is passionate. It's taking love between two people, and showing it through tons of different perspectives."
"You're gonna see yourself. You're gonna see your friends. You're gonna see your mom, there's so many voices being heard on one show."
Nuri is literally every woman in her 20- to 30-somethings - ambitious and along for the ride, always willing to accept any bumps and bruises that come with the territory; but not fully understanding that those bumps and bruises can cause pain or happiness for a lifetime. On the show, Nuri plays a sitcom director with big dreams who's seeking a legitimate partnership with men who tend to keep coming up short. She meets Yasir, inspired by Salim Akil, who seems to be a perfect match.
Except for the fact that he's unemployed... and still involved with his on-again-off-again ex-girlfriend.
Just because a relationship is beautiful, doesn't mean it's without imperfection.
The Akils' story gave me some serious nostalgia about falling in love and it made me reminisce about my past lovers, unlike most romantic dramas, it didn't make me sad. The trailer for Love Is ___ reminded me that love doesn't have to be "normal" because it just feels so much better when it's real.
The cast of the show features some familiar faces, including Loretta Devine, Tim Reid, Tammy Townsend, and Vanessa Bell Calloway, and is set to premiere June 19. If you're like me and can't wait to find out more about this dope couple's story: check out Mara's instagram to get a sneak peak into the Akil's imperfectly perfect love story.
Check out the trailer for Love Is ____ here.