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BET Aims to Broaden Image of Black Culture With New Original Drama Series, Described as 'One of the Most Sexually Frank Shows' on TV LA Times

BET on Tuesday will debut “Being Mary Jane,” the first original scripted drama developed for the network, after years of criticism that its programming doesn't reflect well on African Americans, the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker reports.

Executives are viewing the program, which stars Gabrielle Union as a cable news network host, as a “game changer” because it “is seeking to broaden pop culture's image of African Americans,” the story says.

"Our programming can never be all things to all black people," Loretha Jones, president of original programming for BET Networks, told the publication. “But by expanding, we're showing more representations that are reflective of the complexity of our culture."

BET also started recently airing reruns of “Scandal,” the ABC drama starring Kerry Washington.

"Being Mary Jane" is about a successful TV news star whose personal life is messy, as she financially supports a large family and is attracted to men who don’t view her as marriage material, the story says.

The drama may be out to “push buttons,” the story says.

“‘Being Mary Jane’ may be one of the most sexually frank shows on non-premium television," the report notes. "In one scene, Mary Jane uses a vibrator before meeting a date for a late-night meal. In another, her 19-year-old single niece, who is pregnant and already the mother of two children, announces she is considering a porn career because she's good at sex."

gabrielle-union.jpgGabrielle Union