In Being Mary Jane, a hip, smart, sexy, funny new BET series, Gabrielle Union is Mary Jane Paul, a single, highly driven career woman who works in television while grappling with the complications of family and personal life. Omari Hardwick and Tika Sumpter co-star. It's a well-conceived and relatable show (producer/writer is Mara Brock Akil, Girlfriends) and a terrific starring vehicle for Union, last seen onscreen in Think Like A Man. At the same time, it's wholly refreshing to see the continued emergence of prime-time television series anchored by compelling Black women.
Expected to turn platinum upon its arrival next week (thanks to a deal with Samsung), Jay-Z's 12th studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, is not just the kind of sprawling epic we've come to expect from the rap kingpin; it's the musical event of the season, complete with Hov's signature blend of delirious production, hard-hitting rhymes and appearances by A-list colleagues, namely Justin Timberlake ("Holy Grail"), Frank Ocean ("Oceans") and force-of-nature wife Beyonce ("Part II (On The Run)").
At the very top of my summer reading list, just above John Grisham's engrossing The Chamber is Sydney Poitier's spiritual autobiography The Measure of a Man (Harper San Francisco), a candid and sensitively penned compendium of a living legend (to say the least) who's made the trek from curious boyhood on Cat Island in The Bahamas to Hollywood royalty, the first Black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. Poitier writes in spare prose with the grace and eloquence with which he has become synonymous.