Love stories were made for the screen. There is a magic that comes with falling, diving in head first, and allowing yourself to become connected and enraptured with another soul. In romance films, the audience is pulled under quickly, caught up in the first mesmerizing moments of desire and lust. However, television allows artists and audiences to unpack the nuances of love. We are able to suss out the grit and imperfections that come with entangling two lives together. The enchantment is still there obviously, but there is also space for the reality of it all, the past relationships, finances, and the grind of daily life.
Set in Los Angeles in the 1990’s, married Hollywood dream team Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil — who’ve brought us series like, Girlfriends, The Game, and Black Lightning, present Love Is__. A love story based loosely off of their relationship, the gorgeously shot drama follows Nuri (portrayed by Michele Weaver) and Yasir (portrayed by Will Catlett). Told from the perspective of the couple twenty years into the future, wiser Nuri (Wendy Davis) and Yasir (Clarke Peters) reflect on their initial spark. At different points in the lives and careers when they first meet, the pair sees something special in one another. When they first connect Nuri is a new homeowner with a coveted position in the writer’s room on a new black sitcom, Marvin. Yasir, on the other hand, is struggling in LA. A recent transplant from the Bay – he’s an aspiring writer/director who is trying to make his last two unemployment checks stretch as far as possible. A week before the Love Is__ series premiere, I sat in the OWN offices in Los Angeles to chat with the Akils, Catlett, and Weaver about bringing the sexy and rich love story to the big screen, what it was like to reflect back on the ‘90s, and why seeing Black love on screen is so healing.
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