Mara Brock Akil
Television writer-producer Mara Brock Akil was familiar with the dilemmas facing young African-American career women and the balancing act that came with the territory. She, like so many others, strove to make peace with the myth of "having it all." Still, she had her own thoughts on simultaneously trying to cultivate personal and professional lives and transcending the predetermined expectations of racial identity. With a passion for writing at hand, she poured those thoughts into the creation of her first sitcom, "Girlfriends" (UPN, 2000-06; The CW, 2006-08), which became the anchor for UPN's long-running comedy lineup and propelled her creative voice to the forefront of primetime.