Raven Goodwin, who plays a pregnant teen mother on the show, said it could be viewed as the same old depictions recycled and warmed over if the issues weren’t handled so well.
“It can come off stereotypical, but I think the way that [creator] Mara [Brock Akil], her vision, was to touch on those issues and the issues of light skin vs. dark skin and big vs. small and all these issues every day—that I face everyday—and making it come to life in a sometimes funny way, sometimes we shed-a-few tears way,” Raven told Sister 2 Sister.
“Being Mary Jane” is one of the few Black series on TV now that’s not a comedy. However, that’s not the only reason it stands out from the rest.
“I would say it’s different because it’s done so tastefully, so it’s not cliché,” she said. “How can it be cliché or stereotypical if it’s real? It’s not Black women. It’s White woman. It’s Latino women who are young having babies… I don’t think it’s cliché or stereotypical because it’s real. Period.”
Raven said her “BMJ” character, Niecy, is “the realest thing” she’s ever done, and she expects many viewers will connect with “naïve” teen mom and many of the other characters.
“I think every girl is Mary Jane, is a Niecy, even Margaret Avery on the show [Helen], women can identify with her, too,” said Raven. “I just think the problems that we deal with on ‘Being Mary Jane’ are so real. People can definitely relate for sure… I’m really, really proud of it.”
To ensure her portrayal of Niecy won’t offend or reinforce negative stereotypes of Black women, Raven said she approached the role seriously.
“If it’s not organic, if it doesn’t come off right, it can be taken stereotypical as a joke. So, I have to make sure that Niecy was real above all,” she said.
Photos: Black Actresses Speak
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