There haven’t been many (if any) projects helmed by real life power couple Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil that we haven’t thoroughly enjoyed and it’s no surprise that their latest project Love Is is at the top of our list of must-see TV this summer.
Here are 5 reasons to tune in to the new show on OWN:
It’s mostly true. Kind of. The series created by Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil is based on their own real-life romance with Will Catlett (Yasir) and Michele Weaver (Nuri) representing fictional versions of Salim and Mara. Each episode is supposed to feel like an indie flick examining one element of romance. “Early on, there’s both truth and facts,” Brock Akil told EW. “and as we go through the series, it’s more of the truth — i.e., the essence of us — than the facts.”
The cast is incredible. Will Catlett (Black Lightning) and Michele Weaver (Illicit) have an undeniable chemistry and it’s clear they really latched on to the messages the Akils were trying to send in this semi-autobiographical dreamed.
“I think what it shows is a realistic approach to love and career. It’s great because the woman who is writing [it] has already experienced it. They say, “Write about what you know,” and [Brock Akil] knows the journey of climbing the ladder in Hollywood, especially as a black woman starting in the ‘90s. And she also knows what it takes to keep a relationship alive in an industry where a lot of relationships fail just because of the pressure of the career,” Weaver told Newsweek. “That’s just something I appreciate as an actress and also an actress who is very much like Nuri—I’m very much in the beginning stages of my career, I’m not married, I don’t have a family. It’s great to see that you can have your cake and eat it too, but you also have to know the truth that you are gonna have to sacrifice some things. You are gonna have to fight for some things. You can’t just show up and get what you want. You have to show up and fight for it, and that’s also a part of Love Is_. It has this truth element to it. It’s lighthearted, beautiful and hopeful, but it’s also real. Love is gonna take everything that you got. Are you willing to give everything you got for what you want?”
The premise is genius. Instead of telling us a love story from beginning to end, the Akil’s decided to take a different approach that makes things a lot more interesting. Set primarily in 1990’s Los Angeles against the backdrop of Black Hollywood, Love Is ___ follows Nuri (Michele Weaver) and Yasir (Will Catlett), a couple from seemingly opposite worlds, as they chase their dreams and learn to follow their hearts. Told from the perspective of the couple’s present-day selves, the romantic drama also revisits the social issues and vibrant black culture of that time reflecting on how it all aligned to shape the couple they have become nearly 20 years later — a power couple navigating a complex set of social codes while also balancing successful careers and a beautiful family. Drawing inspiration from the Akil’s real life relationship journey, the series explores the highs, the lows, and the magic of falling (and staying) in love.
In the first episode, Nuri and Yasir celebrate their 30th anniversary and take us back to the time they first met when Nuri’s career was on the rise and Yasir was professionally and personally struggling.
Check out the preview:
Love Is____ premieres tonight on OWN.