"It ain't no way for me to give you all you need. If you won't let me give you all of me. " - Aretha Franklin
When Mara Brock Akil’s Love Is__ was set to premiere on OWN. I was more than excited to watch! Not only was it set in the '90s. It was based on Mara's real-life relationship with her husband, Salim Akil. The show is all about two writers falling in love. But when I started to watch the show, it hit a little too close to home. The first episode showed the couple having an all-night conversation at a coffee shop—my heartache at the similarity.
When Sincere and I first met, we stayed up all night talking at Tim Hortons. While I loved that I had something in common with one of my favorite writers, it was slowly killing me inside. As the show continued, my relationship deteriorated, and I didn't have the heart to keep watching. Fast-forward two years later, and I see Love Is sitting on my brother’s Amazon account. It took me nearly two weeks to watch the show. And even then, I took it slow. The show was like relieving and grieving my own failed relationship.
For most of the break-up, I spent time obsessing over what went wrong. But while watching this series, I was reminded of those earlier moments for the first time in a long time. It was nice to be reminded of all those special moments that built our bond. Then shit started to take a turn. If you watched the show, it was around the time Ruby had plastic surgery. If you haven't watched it, this was the episode where Yasir (Salim) declared that he didn't believe in Valentine's Day.
So Nuri (Mara) proclaimed that she didn't believe in it either. She then spent the following day in her feelings while everyone around her celebrated. Spoiler alert, the episode ended with Yasir having a change of heart. He didn’t do anything over-the-top thing. He simply declared that he would make every day Valentine’s Day. As I sat on my couch in a pool of tears, I couldn’t help but think that I had it all wrong. Maybe I wasn’t the Nuri of this love story? Maybe, I was Ruby all along.
Ruby was the woman before Nuri. She was the one who helped Yassir get on the road to turning his dreams into a reality. While she worked to provide for both of them. And unfortunately, in the end, she was the one who Yasir left for Nuri. It wasn't that I identified with Ruby being left high and dry. It was Yasir's actions that touched me most. His actions showed me that if a man is serious about you, he will make adjustments and accommodations for the woman he loves. When a man (or woman) wants you, he will let it be known.
He will be transparent in his actions and intentions. As well as go out of his way to remove all doubts about where he stands in your life. As hard as it was for me to admit it, those were the missing qualities in my relationship. I was doing all this stuff to "better" myself, just so that I could prepare myself for the inevitable. Watching Love Is taught me what was not in my relationship. I can identify with Nuri wanting to be loved, nurtured, and protected. But looking at this series through a more mature lens, I can see some red flags with Yasir.
He was controlling, and Nuri was just a little naïve. While I believe they had a great romance. I can't help but think that Yasir's pride always seems to overshadow Nuri's shine. In the middle of the Love Is_ series run, there was a sexual allegation launched towards Salim. Due to the rumors (and lawsuit), the series was canceled. Meanwhile, Salim's Black Lighting series continued and ended on the creator’s (Salim) terms. If you didn't watch Love Is, there was a scene towards the end of the series where Yassir ruined a career first for Nuri.
She had just written her very first script (after fighting for it), and instead of using this opportunity to bask in her glory. Nuri chose to share this moment with Yassir by inviting him to the live taping. She planned to introduce him to some agents and the head writer. Long story short, Nuri missed her moment in the spotlight because Yassir was late and got into it with the doorman. Not only did he embarrass her at her job, but he also made the moment entirely about him! Now flashback to the present, you can't help but see how this pattern continues to play out
in this couple's life.
Love Is being canceled is messed up. But I don't believe it's entirely based on Salim’s allegations. The show started off very strong initially, but it took a nosedive at the end, unlike any of Mara’s previous work. Perhaps Mara knew that this allegation was coming, and it hindered her from completing her story. Either way, it's sad to see this big moment fall flat. But it all taught me a valuable lesson: the person you choose to marry can make or break your life(and career). I've watched countless biopics where powerful women's careers were nearly ruined because of an insecure man.