Writers on Writing with Mara Brock Akil

Writers on Writing with Mara Brock Akil

About This Event

Powerhouse writer, executive producer, and showrunner Mara Brock Akil is the storyteller and heart behind hit series such as Girlfriends, The Game, Being Mary Jane, and OWN's latest critically acclaimed series Love Is__

On this special evening, Akil shares her process for creating her shows, her journey climbing the ranks in the TV industry, and her experience developing a series based on her own real-life relationship with husband and producing partner, Salim Akil. 

Moderated by Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor, Mom, Community).

Doors open at 7pm. Event starts at 7:30pm.

All events advertised on our “Events” page are open to anyone who wants to buy a ticket – not just WGA members!

In the case the event is sold out, we will have a first come, first serve stand-by line at the event. The stand-by line does not guarantee entry into the event.

Proceeds benefit the Foundation’s library, archive and other outreach programs.

Got a question about events? E-mail us at events@wgfoundation.org.

Location / Venue

  • Address:
  • Wgf/Wgaw Headquarters
  • 7000 West 3rd Street, 2nd Floor
  • Los Angeles, CA 90048
  • USA
  • Time:
  • Oct 23, 2018 07:30 pm to
  • Oct 23, 2018 09:00 pm
The Writers Guild Foundation

Event to Support The Writers Guild Foundation

Founded in 1966, the Writers Guild Foundation is the premier resource for emerging writers and movie and TV lovers in Hollywood. Boasting a busy calendar of high-value events and a vast, seemingly bottomless toolbox for writers, the Foundation is unmatched in its mission to promote and preserve the craft, history, and voices of screen storytelling.  A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we’re proud of all we do for the community, including our Veterans Writing Project, our Volunteer and Mentorship Programs, our Archive, and the Shavelson-Webb Library – the world’s only library devoted entirely to writing for the screen.

About the Panelist

Writer and producer of over 300 episodes of television, Mara Brock Akil has truly left her mark on Hollywood.Beginning her career as a writer on series such as South Central, Moesha, and The Jamie Foxx Show, Akil quickly rose in the ranks proving herself to be both a pivotal voice in storytelling, as well as an incredibly talented producer. Following her work on those shows, Akil went on to create the seminal television series Girlfriends in 2000. Groundbreaking in many ways, the series was a witty, intelligent and honest exploration of the many facets of black womanhood through the lens of four very different women. The series aired for 8 seasons, during which it was one of the highest-rated scripted shows among African-Americans ages 18-34 and bravely tackled an endless number of issues, including colorism, AIDS and class issues. Additionally, during that time, Akil developed the spin-off series The Game, which premiered in 2006 quickly becoming a fan-favorite, as well. This fandom became undeniable in 2009 when, upon cancellation, loyal fans of The Game took to social media to launch a campaign to save the series. Taking notice, BET stepped and struck a deal to renew the series and develop additional episodes, which ultimately garnered record-breaking ratings when the show premiered on its new home. In 2013, she and her husband/producing partner Salim Akil, developed their first one-hour drama, Being Mary Jane, which debuted to over 4 million viewers further lamenting her ability to tell powerful and engaging stories that audiences are drawn to. In 2016, The Akils moved their company, Akil Productions, to Warner Bros. Television with a multi-year overall deal. The pair have been busy since making the move and, in 2018, launched 2 new series under the pact – Black Lightning, which premiered in January on The CW, and Love Is__ , which debuted on OWN in June. Both series have resonated with critics and audiences alike, and have each earned second season renewals.

Beyond her work as a writer and producer, Akil has consistently been recognized by her peers as a leader in the industry. In 2013, she was honored by Essence magazine with their Visionary Award during their annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, as well as being recognized as an honoree during that year’s Black Girls Rock Awards. Additionally, Akil has been named to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter’s Showrunner Power List multiple times, and has made The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power100 for the past 3 years and running.

Akil’s impact transcends entertainment as she dedicates a great deal of time to philanthropic efforts. She held leadership roles and contributed to LAXArt, The Underground Museum, The Samburu Project, Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Studio Museum of Harlem. In 2014, Girls, Inc. honored Akil for her work inspiring and advocating for girls everywhere. Additionally, she serves on several boards, including the advisory board for the Humanitas Prize, WGA West’s Board of Directors, and Northwestern University’s School of Communication National Advisory Council. In the Fall of 2017, Northwestern honored Akil for the positive impact she has made in television and film by presenting her with their prestigious Medill Alumni Award and inducting her into the Medill Hall of Achievement.

Akil currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.

[Photo credit: Emily Knecht]



About the Moderator

Yvette Nicole Brown is perhaps best known for her starring role as the opinionated but sweet “Shirley Bennett” on NBC’s COMMUNITY. She recently starred on ABC’s THE MAYOR and currently has a recurring role on MOM for CBS. Prior to that, she co-starred for three seasons alongside Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon on the CBS comedy, THE ODD COUPLE. Yvette starred in the critically acclaimed six-hour BET miniseries THE NEW EDITION STORY and appeared on UNSOLVED: THE MURDERS OF TUPAC AND THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. for USA. She also recently served as host and moderator for THE WALKING DEAD's 2015 season premiere at Madison Square Garden for an audience of 15,000 people. Yvette has emerged as one of the most recognizable actresses in Hollywood, highlighted by memorable appearances on numerous hit TV shows including: HOUSE, ENTOURAGE, DRAKE AND JOSH, THE OFFICE and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM.

Yvette’s work in film includes roles in PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE SEA OF MONSTERS, 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, REPO MEN, THE UGLY TRUTH, and TROPIC THUNDER

She recently completed work on the Independent film LOVE AND OATMEAL starring Ben Platt and Lola Kirke and is overjoyed to be playing "Aunt Sarah" in Disney's live-action reimagining of LADY AND THE TRAMP both due in 2019. 

Her extensive voiceover career includes series regular roles in ELENA OF AVALOR, POUND PUPPIES, DC SUPER HERO GIRLS, SUPERMANSION and LEGO STAR WARS: THE FREEMAKER ADVENTURES.

Yvette is also in demand as a guest and guest co-host on various talk shows including: THE VIEW, THE TALK, THE CHEW, THE REAL and THE TALKING DEAD and she's also appeared on just about every game show known to man. 

Yvette is also an extraordinarily talented singer. In her teens she signed with Motown Records and featured on the Motown album “The East Coast Family Vol.1,” which included the Top 20 single, "1-4-All-4-1." As a part of the East Coast Family, a group of talents discovered by Michael Bivins of New Edition and B.B.D. fame, Brown appeared on MTV, “Showtime at the Apollo,” VH1 and BET.