At this point, Mara Brock Akil is almost as much of a disappoint as Tyler Perry and that’s saying something.
Episode eight of Love Is, which aired last night, is so disgusting, I almost couldn’t watch all of it. It begins with Yasir calling his momma to confirm a story he’s telling Nuri. After this call, Yasir’s momma, Rose, played by the incredible Loretta Devine, begins calling Yasir, at Nuri’s house, several times a day.
One day, Rose calls so Yasir can speak to his son, Deonte, who proceeds to tell Yasir he lost a tooth. When Nuri sees how much Yasir misses his son once he hangs up the phone, she decides to take him to see Deonte. It’s not clear whether Deonte lives so far away that Nuri and Yasir have to get on a plane to get to him, but I’m assuming so because they got a rental car and if they could’ve driven, they probably would’ve driven Nuri’s Jeep.
So to recap, Nuri just paid for plane tickets and a rental car to take Yasir to see his son who he doesn’t even pay child support for because he just got a job last week. Oh and Nuri also wrote a note to Deonte as the tooth fairy and put a five-dollar bill in it. To be clear, Yasir is so sorry, he didn’t even come up with the money his son got from the “tooth fairy.”
Shortly after Nuri and Yasir arrive at his mother’s home, Yasir finds out his son is no longer attending piano lessons and loses his shit. He’s upset because he believes Deonte will never get into private school if he doesn’t take piano lessons. First of all, it seems Yasir fancies himself as some sort of revolutionary. What kind of revolutionary sends his son to private school?? Furthermore, who the hell is gonna pay for private school, Yasir?! You work a minimum-wage job!
What Destiny, Yasir’s ex-wife and mother of his child, tells him is she took Deonte out of piano lessons because he was so far behind the other kids, which was causing him to have low self-esteem. She would have explained this to Yasir had he asked her why she did what she did instead of blowing up at her. Following this heated exchange, Rose steps in to put Yasir back in his place by letting him know parenting is a 24/7 job and he has no right to show up every six months and tell Destiny how to raise their child while he’s off chasing dreams.
This is one of the things that kills me about this show. Yasir left his child to pursue his dreams and some idiot on Twitter last night was defending this choice. There are plenty of women who chase their dreams and raise children at the same time. Why couldn’t Deonte spend the summers with Yasir in California? Oh, I remember why. Because he’d have no way to support him out there since HE JUST GOT A FUCKING JOB!
You know what really kills me? When a woman leaves her child to pursue a dream, she’s often labeled a terrible mother. A man does it and some other man will defend him by saying “he’s pursuing his God given purpose in life” and that a little suffering doesn’t matter because Yasir will end up being successful and be more than capable of providing for his son.
You know what kills me even more? Yasir’s going to end up being successful because he lucked out and met Nuri. It’s her connections in the industry, her job, that gave him access to what he wanted. He didn’t earn anything, he just met someone who knows people.
At the end of the episode, Nuri tells Yasir she’s going to finish his script, then show it to her boss and her agent. She’s willing to risk her career to help Yasir get ahead. I say risk her career because Nuri’s not really in a position to put someone on. She’s just a staff writer, she hasn’t even had a writing credit on Marvin yet. Meanwhile, Angela, having no Black woman to compete against because Nuri is too busy taking Yasir on vacation, just got offered a job writing for a show starring Whitney Houston.
Nuri also offers Yasir a room in her house to use as his writing room. Nuri would say she’s falling all over herself to give Yasir things because she’s “in love.” I would argue Nuri’s doing all this because she’s been socialized to believe this is what a good girlfriend is, a woman who does for her man. A woman who helps him when he’s down and out. This is such a shame because it seems Nuri’s mother taught her better than this, but sexism is a hell of a drug.
Nuri would give her last dollar to Yasir, but what’s he prepared to do for her other than check her when she’s wrong? Not much.
The thing is I’ve been Nuri. I’ve let a man drive around in my car while I was at work. I’ve let a man live with me for two months without paying a single bill or contributing to the rent. I’ve paid for plane tickets, toothbrushes and many other things for men. I even gave an ex some money to get his car back after it was repossessed…after we were broken up. And you know what all of that got me? Nothing. I’m not with any of those men now. And honestly, I don’t know if any of the men I’ve given money to, or the “man” I let stay with me, would do the same for me if I needed it. God as my witness, I will never do for a man like that again.
Nuri is giving Yasir everything she has to give because his dream is important to her, but when a man gives a woman money, a car, a plane ticket or takes her on a trip in American movies or TV shows, it’s not because he cares about her dreams, it’s because he wants to impress her. In fact, in many of these situations, the woman is expected to be satisfied with having money and nice things and not desire to have a career or anything she wasn’t given by the rich, successful man.
Where are the men who want to support women while they work towards their dreams? Where are the men who want to use their connections to get women jobs in their industry? Oh and I mean without sexually harrassing/assaulting the women first. The men who simply see a woman with talent and want to help her.
Here’s another question: why do men often need a woman’s help to make it? Ryan Coogler’s wife, before they were married, bought him Final Draft, a program used to make script writing easier. Yet, Shonda Rhimes and Issa Rae worked 9-to-5 jobs, then came home and worked on their crafts until they made it. Oprah didn’t get to where she is because of her boyfriend.
I have two connections to the entertainment industry. One came to me via someone I met in my BarBri class and one is my co-worker. Both of these people are women. It doesn’t look like I’ll need a man to make it in the entertainment industry either, though I’m not opposed to it. After everything I’ve given men, I think I’m owed at least that.
I hope Yasir is nothing like Salim Akil was when he met Mara Brock Akil and that most of this is in the show just to make it interesting. I’m going to keep watching Love Is____, if only because I love complaining about it so much.
If you enjoy these reviews, let me know in the comments and I’ll keep writing them. If there’s a show you’d like me to review, you can let me know that too and I just may do it.
Until next time…