‘The Game’ Creator Mara Brock Akil Talks Drake, Drama And Creativity

Mara Brock Akil pictured at far left

Tonight, BET re-introduces “The Game,” one of my favorite dramas.

Beginning on CW, “The Game” follows couple Melanie and Derwin Davis as they navigate the politics of life in the pro football league. On Monday night in New York, Parlour screened the first episode of the season and we must say, we were impressed. And not just because we spoke with the show creator, and the mind behind “Girlfriends, Mara Brock Akil.

Here’s the run-down; Melanie and Derwin are happily married, Kelly and Jason Pitts are unhappily divorced, Malik is struggling with his ego and Tasha Mack, his mom-ager is sleeping with Terrence J. Yes, the “106 & Park” host.

During the debut episode, Melanie has to decide whether she’s going to leave the baby Derwin had with another woman, Janee, alone. Does she give the baby a paternity test? Or does she leave well enough alone?

I won’t spill the beans on that character thread, but I will say that Wendy Raquel Robinson making out with Terrence J was “Just Wright”-worthy. (Read: I had to cover my eyes.) I’m not sure why their casting gave me the willies because, traditional speaking, Terrence is a cutie and Wendy’s a beautiful woman. However when he walks into his first scene of the show, wearing only a towel, I literally cringed. That said, I applaud the kid for following his dreams of acting and hosting. And their story line presented my favorite line of the show, delivered by Tasha, of course. “You got a damn stable of golden girls up in here,” she says to Dante, played by Terrence, after she realizes he’s got a taste for cougars.

Before the screening, the creator of “The Game,” Mrs. Brock Akil spoke exclusively with Parlour about new beginnings, her creative process and why she loves a good aggressive rap song.

“You do have a few butterflies here and there but more than anything, I was excited and ready to answer the call. When people go to bat for you and the fans show up for you on that level, it was like watching my own reality show. Like ‘Really? People are fighting for us? This is exciting!’ I think what kicks in for me is not letting anyone down and the fighter in me and our team is like ‘Let’s make them beyond proud, let’s blow their minds!’ Not the industry’s mind, which hopefully will come, but let’s answer the call to our fans and that kind of took over.

Including Salim [my husband and co-writer of ‘The Game’] and myself, there are eight writers. Most times Salim and I first have to take a lot of car rides. We drive to Malibu and back just trying to get a framework, a vision of what we portray. You have to know where you’re going to get there. I mean you can [get lost] and it’s fun but most of the times you know you’re going to New York, or wherever, whether you’re going to take a plane, car or bus. So we set a framework first, then we pitch that to the writers and tell them what we see as the vision for the show. They then say all the things that they have been thinking about and we find the things that’s match up. We might change course or compromise, but it helps to have a focus for writers to pitch to and for us to structure a season. And then we get busy on the writing. We have fun, sit and hammer it out. We debate intensely sometimes. You know what’s funny, this season … I’m kind of getting away a bit … but whether or not Melanie should swab the baby or not, we had to intense debates.”

And of course, here are Mara’s five songs that she can’t live without:

1. “Hot Chocolate Song” from Polar Express – “I have to sing this song for my little one, Salim and I have two kids six and two years-old. We just went through the holidays, so ‘Hot Chocolate’ is big, I’m singing that quite a lot these days.”
2. Usher’s “There Goes My Baby” – “Salim dedicated this song to me, and I love that.”
3. Drake’s “Over” – “I love Drake’s … I love the hook … ‘Who the fuck are ya’ll?’ (bursts into laughter) I love that song, always hustling.”
4. Jill Scott’s “Golden
5. Ray LaMontage’s “Be Here Now

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