Roger- How did you come with the idea to create the #BMJReflections?
Thembisa– BET is among the most social networks on TV, so they are always looking for ways to super serve their online audience. The idea came from Creative Director Sundi Lofty, out of a need for bonus content to keep the viewers engaged while the new season went on hiatus in the Spring. Fortunately, the season is not taking a mid-season break now, so five of the Reflections were used for the new season launch, and a new one rolls out weekly.
Roger- Why is this type of social interaction an added benefit to the promotion of Being Mary Jane?
Thembisa– It deepens the viewers’ relationships to the cast. I also co-wrote them with Adam Giaurdone, one of the show’s staff writers. We wrote the Reflections to illuminate their thoughts and feelings beyond what each episode gives the ensemble a chance to fully convey. I think they are much more powerful than the usual behind-the-scenes packages because the actors are in character. They ignite insane amounts of chatter, because they touch on real-life issues, from identity to mental illness to fitness and career choices. The Reflection where Stephen Bishop sheds tears for the baby he and Mary Jane never had got up to nearly 100k views on Facebook in less than a week. They also give the network, Akil Productions and the cast fresh content that’s juicy, but bite-sized to share via social. Stephen actually retweeted his spot; he really loves it.
Roger- Where can we find the Reflections digital series online?
Thembisa– These minute-long spots live on BET.com/BMJReflections and Facebook.com/BeingMaryJane. The newest interstitial features Thomas Q. Jones, former NFL player—and he’s breaking the Internet with his character this season!
Roger-Tell us about some of your upcoming projects.
Thembisa-Just completed my first feature length screenplay, a rom com called Islamic Speed Dating. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the docu series I am executive producing about the LGBT ballroom scene: Throwin’ Shade: House of NY. I co-produced a family drama called “Biscuit” with writer-director Tank Burt. That short will be out this Spring. I am also working closely with Jabari Baraka Davis, a brilliant comic who is a true rising star on his film and TV endeavors. His signature event is 3 The Hard Way Comedy—co produced with Danielle Beckmann, happening February 24th and March 6th in New York City: https://www.facebook.com/events/1543807195892177/
Check out some exclusive pictures with Thembisa and the actors from the BET hit drama, BEING MARY JANE.
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