What do Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating, Mary Jane Paul, and Cookie Lyons all have in common? They are Prime time televisions power quad, and America can’t get enough of them. Since 2012 when Scandal premiered, Kerry Washington’s character “Olivia Pope” stepped on the scene with nothing less than pure wit. Miss Pope not only blessed us with her beauty and grace, but she also blessed us with the idea that a Black woman could play a lead role and earn the top spot on Prime time television. Shonda Rhimes, who now has three successful Prime time shows, is essentially the mastermind behind this. After her success with Grey’s Anatomy, Rhimes launched Scandal which became an even more popular show than Grey’s, and then last year she introduced her newest and greatest show yet to come… How to Get Away With MurderHTGAWMwas an instant success because of Rhimes success with Scandal. And to put the cherry on top, the lead role for the show is indeed a black woman who is played by none other than Viola Davis. Davis was the first Black woman to win an Emmy as Lead Actress in a Drama Series. In Davis’ acceptance speech she says that “the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.” Davis then goes on to shout out the likes of other Black women who hold it down for Prime time television slots such as Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Meagan Good, and TV’s favorite new sassy sister, Taraji P. Henson who plays Cookie Lyons on FOX’s hit show Empire.

Empire has achieved some of the highest ratings in television history and it is one of the only shows to break it’s own record for more viewers each week after the next. Cookie Lyons is a fierce and independent woman looking to win her throne back at Empire records while trying to mold her family back together. Season 2 premiered last Wednesday, and we’re excited to see what tricks Miss Cookie has up her sleeves. Our fourth lady of the hour is Mary Jane Paul. Mary Jane Paul is played by the long loved Gabrielle Union. Union brings with her her flawless skin, her attitude, and a whole lot of Black power. Season 1 focused on a love affair, while Season 2 focused on her life and the many branches of it. She struggles with love, fertility, and identity in this season. Mary Jane believes her job has helped her lose a sense of who she is and if she (and the rest of the Black female population) is beautiful. Mara Brock Ali, another successful Black producer, created this show back in 2013. Brock Ali is also known for her other successful projects such as Girlfriends, The Game, and Moesha.  But why are all of these roles so successful? Because these women embody what it means to be a Black woman in America. Sometimes you question your worth as a Black woman such as Mary Jane. Sometimes you need to show that you can play with the guys such as Cookie Lyons. But what also makes these figures successful is that they are role models. Their real life achievements along with the characters they play all provide not just young Black girls, but Black women with the idea that you can do what you want if you put your mind to it. These characters are not just fictional to us. We can identify with their problems as well as their successes. So again, what do Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating, Mary Jane Paul, and Cookie Lyons have in common? They are Prime time televisions power quad, and they are here to stay! Empire (Wed. 9PM), Scandal (Thurs. 9PM), and How to Get Away With Murder (Thurs. 10PM) are all back on the air. Each had their season premiere last week, so there’s still time to catch up. Being Mary Jane is set to return Tuesday, October 20th at 9PM. I encourage you all to watch these shows. They are amazing and all have a unique story line unmatched with any series before it. 

Rasheed Davis