Mara Brock Akil
In the high-powered world of Hollywood TV where cable channels are producing dramas and sitcoms that rival (and sometimes surpass) those produced by the major networks, Mara Brock Akil stands out. She is a successful writer and producer of such shows as "The Jamie Foxx Show," "Moesha," and UPN's "Girlfriends," which began in 2000 and ran until 2008. She and her husband, TV director Salim Akil, are Sufi Muslims who are also teaming up to write and produce a film for the Weinstein Company.
Akil has expressed pride in her faith, but tends to keep it out of her work. Some have called "Girlfriends" the black "Sex in the City." Akil saw her show as a forum for bringing to light important issues facing black women. Akil has worked hard to gather a diverse behind-the-scenes staff for "Girlfriends" and more recently "The Game." In a 2004 interview with Northwestern University's magazine, Akil said, "There are a lot of women in top positions, black, white, Asian, Polynesian, Latino, gay, and Jewish. It's a beautiful, 'We are the World' thing, and it's one key to the successes of [my] shows."