Salim Akil and Mara Brock’s “Love Is_” drama on OWN has been canceled after Akil was accused of domestic abuse by Amber Dixon Brenner. These allegations come weeks after Brenner said that she had been conducting an extra-marital affair with Akil, according to a Variety report. Brenner said the relationship lasted for 10 years and ended in 2017. Brenner has now filed a lawsuit against Akil. Akil denies all of the allegations against him.
Akil and Brock were married in 1999, having met on the set of “Moesha.” The couple has two sons together. They are practicing Sufi Muslims. The couple is in the midst of a deal with Warner Brothers Television following their success on BET with, “The Game” and “Being Mary Jane.” The latter starring Gabrielle Union. At the time of writing, that deal remains intact.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Brenner Says That in One Instance, Akil Made Her Lick the Wall of a Parking Garage
According to Brenner’s lawsuit, Akil forced his former mistress to perform sex acts on him while also hitting her. She says Akil took photos of their sexual encounter without permission. Brenner said that once, Akil urinated in her mouth. On another occasion, Brenner says that Akil marched her to a parking garage where she forced him to lick a wall.
Brenner says in her lawsuit that she is also suing Akil because he allegedly used her script to pitch an idea without giving her proper credit. That script was about her and Akil’s alleged affair. Akil said in a statement in November 2018, via the Hollywood Reporter, “These allegations are deeply upsetting — but they are also totally untrue. We will defend Salim to the fullest against the false and offensive claims that a woman with whom he had a past relationship has included in multiple unsubstantiated lawsuits. Salim looks forward to clearing his name and to being able to focus on his work and his family.”
2. ‘Love Is_’ Was in Pre-Production When the News Broke of the Cancelation
“Love Is_” was renewed for a second season in July 2018, by the time it was canceled, in December 2018, the show was in pre-production. Variety reports that the allegations against Akil “presented a unique challenge” for the show as the premise of the season was based on Akil and Brock’s real-life romance.
In a statement to Deadline, an OWN spokesperson said, “OWN has decided not to move forward with the second season of “Love Is _ . The TV memoir was inspired by the real-life love story of married producers Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil.” The Deadline report adds that all of the cast and crew had been paid upfront for season two. As news of the show’s cancelation spread, star Michele Weaver posted this to Instagram:
During an interview with Essence magazine, Akil said in the couple’s professional partnership, “On her project, she is the boss; on my project, I’m the boss. Whatever we need to do to maintain our friendship and relationship, we do.”
3. At the Time of Writing, Akil Remains as the Showrunner of ‘Black Lightning’
The Variety report on the cancelation of “Love Is_” says that Akil will so far remain as the show runner of the CW’s superhero drama, “Black Lightning.” The show deals with Jefferson Pierce, a former Olympian who fights crime in the Suicide Slum neighborhood of Metropolis.
While speaking at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles in February 2018, Akil said of the show, via the Undefeated, “They said, ‘We had this thing we were holding for you guys called ‘Black Lightning.’ I was somewhat familiar with Black Lightning, so I played it cool — but I wanted to jump out of the chair.”
4. Brenner Has Been Married to Oscar Winner David Brenner Since 2006
According to Brenner’s IMDb page, she has been married to Oscar-winning film editor, David Brenner, since 2006. The couple has two children together. The most famous credit to Brenner’s name is an appearance in 2010’s, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Her husband won an Oscar, along with Joe Hutshing, for their editing on Oliver Stone’s “Born on the Fourth of July.”
5. Akil Said in a 2014 Interview That He Would Regularly Book His Wife Into a Hotel & Send Her Away for 2 Weeks
In a 2014 interview with Essence magazine, Akil said that on occasion, when “Mara is feeling overwhelmed with being a mom, wife and working, I’ll just buy her a ticket and her a room at the Mercer and say “hey, go away for two weeks, because you really do need to go find yourself and be with you.” Akil added that Mara would do the same for him from time to time.