When Scandal first aired, I distinctly remember my family discuss the infamous "Earn me" line which definitely peaked my interest, but I didn't start actually watching the show until it entered it's second or third season. When I did finally give in, I set up my laptop in my bathroom and tried to stay attentive as I retwisted my locs. From that moment, I fell in love with Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope and the Scandal universe.
I don't remember exactly when I started watching Being Mary Jane, but I also remember being similarly captivated by Gabrielle Union and her portrayal of the titular character Mary Jane (or MJ).
What I love about both of these characters, besides the fact that they are played by two of my favorite actresses, is that they gave me images of successful Black women who were where I wanted to be. I started watching Scandal around the same time I decided I would attend Howard, so of course I practiced my "It's handled" and imagined myself doing the Olivia Pope Strut™ in the streets of Washington D.C.
Over the years, I fell more and more in love with these characters and lived vicariously through them both, rooting for their every success and feeling their every failure. Both women reinforced that being a Black woman in a position of power and success was not only possible, but the standard.
With that being said, it definitely came as a shock when I heard that both of the shows will be ending. Scandal's creator Shonda Rhimes alluded to fans that the show's already 5-year run wouldn't last for much longer (which I understood and agreed with, but now that the final season has actually started, reality still hasn't hit. Being Mary Jane, on the other hand, came as a complete surprise. A report from Deadline explained that the series would not be returning for a fifth season and the BET show will instead close out in 2018 similarly to how it started-- with a 2-hour movie.
I also felt disappointed that two shows that spearheaded a movement of expanding the representation of Black women in TV would no longer exist. However, with newer shows like Issa Rae's Insecure gaining deserved notoriety, I am confident that more of our stories will continue to be shared in television and movies. We will obviously never have two characters as powerful or complex as Olivia Pope or Mary Jane Paul, respectively, but these characters and the equally commanding women that portrayed them have definitely left a mark in the industry that still actively works to keep stories very similar to their own in the dark.
And although we have a minute until these shows actually end, it definitely leaves plenty of time to bet on our series finale predictions. What are your predictions for the final season of Scandal? Let me know in the comments!