As the star of two young adult shows, Disney’s Good Luck Charlie and Nickelodeon’s Just Jordan, 21-year-old Raven Goodwin had to take a leap of faith to star in more adult fare. On Being Mary Jane, she makes that leap, playing Atlanta based TV anchor Mary Jane Patterson’s pregnant niece, Niecy. On the show, Goodwin is dealing with self-esteem issues and single motherhood as a teenage mom with another child on the way. The breakout success of the show, the brainchild of Girlfriends and The Game creator Mara Brock Akil, has caused many to question storylines that include infidelity, addiction, family dysfunction and more.
But the show has been embraced by a rabid audience on social media that make it a trending topic on Tuesday nights, much like that other TV show with a Black lead actress. The 2- hour season finale airs on Tuesday at 10 p.m. and promises to leave viewers hungering for more, though a second season has yet to be confirmed. We talked to Goodwin to get some clues about what’s ahead.
Blackamericaweb.com: Niecy starts out one way on the show, but by the season finale, it seems like she’s starting to change up. How did you feel about her evolution?
Raven Goodwin: When I first got Niecy, I thought she was so rachet. But she’s not. She’s a young girl who got caught up who’s a lot smarter than people may think. In this episode that recently aired, I think it was a big wakeup call for Mary Jane. She had to reflect and realize we’re no different. She’s having an affair with a married man and she has no her own demons. That’s what Mary Jane needed to realize that her and her niece were more alike than she thinks.
Were you surprised by the overwhelming response to the show? It was never a doubt in my mind what this show was going to do. When you put veterans on the show with up and coming talent like B.J. Britt (Paul, Jr.) Latarsha Rose (Lisa) and myself in an environment with Gabrielle Union and Richard Roundtree and Margaret Avery, and Lisa Vidal, great things are bound to happen. And I knew from the first table read that this show would make a huge impact on the world. It’s like college for me.
How do you respond to critics who say this show reinforces negative stereotypes of Black women and Black families? I think Mary Jane is more than an African-American woman. A white woman can have the same issues. A Hispanic woman can have the same issues. I think they need to look at it as entertainment and the actual real problems that women have whether they’re Black or whatever. Mary Jane is a professional, she’s educated but she also has things she’s battling with and I think every woman can relate to that. I don’t want them to put it in a box as another Black show. It’s not a “Black” show. It’s a phenomenal show.
What can we expect from the finale? I want to leave a little bit to the imagination but it’s going to be juicy and it’s going to be babies and this and that. I think everyone should tune in and see what we’ve done. It’s absolutely phenomenal and it’s nothing but a teaser for what’s to come for Mary Jane.
So will there be a second season? We’re all waiting to hear the news. Hopefully. We’re playing a waiting game.