Creator of Girlfriends and Being Mary Jane, Mara Brock Akil, is back with a new series for black women. Love Is __ is the latest romantic drama brought to OWN taking a dive into the beginnings of the relationship between TV’s power couple Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil.

Akil spoke about the project at this year’s American Black Film Festival (ABFF).  She shared that Black women frequently inquire on how she maintained a strong relationship with her husband within Hollywood. “I wanted to share what my journey is like and what his journey is like. I think now is a time in which we need love in a narrative. It has been missing for some time in a sincere way … This is not a blueprint. I’m not offering a how-to. The how-to is hopefully to be inspired by figuring out what you want as an individual and share it with another individual to build something together, whatever that may be,” she says.

Love Is __ is based in Los Angeles during the 90s. The series stars Michele Weaver, who plays Nuri, and Will Catlett, who plays Yasir. Nuri and Yasir are a couple from totally different worlds who learn to follow their hearts while chasing their dreams. Beyond the series being based on Brock Akil’s own relationship, Love Is __ will include their real experiences with fictional ones to reflect the experiences of humans in general. Overall, the romantic drama will focus on the good, the bad, and the magic of falling and staying in love.

Brock Akil also spoke on how she ended up directing the series, “Salim was supposed to direct the pilot, then when he couldn’t, and someone said we have to find a director I was like oh, hell no!” She adds, “It was Mara, the 23-year-old, who came to LA and finally raised her hand and stopped being scared… I was nervous but it ain’t no stopping me now. I have a full expression of my work and I am very proud of it.”

Love Is __ will premieres TONIGHT on OWN.

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