Robinne Lee: Mary Jane Paul Is Not A Role Model, She’s Entertainment

February 19, 2014  |  

“Being Mary Jane” has received its share of criticism for allegedly glorifying the life of the side-chick, but actress Robinne Lee, who plays the part of the blindsided wife, Avery Daniels, is defending the show’s lead character, in a manner of speaking. When we asked Robin what she thinks about all the backlash over the new BET series and it’s portrayal of Mary Jane and Andre she said this:

“To Mary Jane’s defense… she did not know that Andre was married when she got involved in this relationship and it kind of took her by surprise and I think by the time she found out she was already falling in love with him. It wasn’t just sex, in her mind it was a relationship and he could be the one and this could be great, so I understand why it’s been difficult for her to cut him off and just walk away.

“[But], it’s drama and we’re going for ratings and if everything was happy and neat and tucked away, we wouldn’t have people tuning in all the time. I don’t think that Mary Jane, herself, is a role model for young black women out there to say ‘let’s go find someone else’s husband and sleep with him,’ but I think that she, as a flawed character, is entertaining.”

Judging by the show’s season 1 ratings, clearly a lot of people agree with that last point.

Check out the full interview with Robinne Lee in the video above as she dishes out advice for women in her character’s position and speaks on Gabrielle Union’s admitted mean-girl past. What do you think?

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  • MissReal

    Black people are so quick to put down their own. Last time I checked there are many programs that have adulterous characters/story lines. However when it is a black woman involved there is an uproar e.g ‘Scandal’ and ‘Being Mary Jane’. You people are the same ones that end up promoting imbecilic monstrosities with no moralistic substance like Kim Kardashian without batting an eyelid. Shut up, stop moaning and please realize that FICTIONAL programs like ‘Being Mary Jane’ are a depiction of real life situations that people from all walks of life can experience. I am sure if this was a popular mainstream show with a white protagonist, black people would have nothing to say, they’d probably be promoting it to no end. All I see is a good show, with a good black cast displaying their talent and earning money. Is the message of the show entirely wholesome? No (Considering it is for an ADULT audience I don’t think that entirely matters). Are the actors, producers etc earning an honest wage? Yes. So shut up people. Quit the criticism.

  • B Cooper

    I think that was a dig at Avery (the wife) after she fronted her at the table. Remember her saying she left her “real” speech in her purse at the “table”?

  • Live_in_LDN

    Main characters can be flawed characters too. Many TV writers create main characters that they know the audience won’t agree with to show complexity and dimension. Just because a main character does or says something wrong, the writer is not ‘glorifying it’.

  • Shawndrea Rachelle

    This show is soooo boring. I will never understand people who can sit through a whole episode

    • JaneDoe

      Not to mention the acting sucks


    I like the fact that in this perfect world of Mary Jane, she has just as many flaws as what a human is portrayed. She comes from the ideal of a perfect family–Jack & Jill members–la di da…she lives in a absolutely GORGEOUS house, she is college-degree-d with an awesome job, clothes, car, gorgeous face, body…just part of the Top 10 world…but, the child has issues, her family has issues–things ARE not all what may appear. That is what I like

  • positivebeatsnegative

    I don’t get why some people are complaining about the fact that MJ’s and Olivia are portraying a mistress as part of the story-lines ..have we not seen white actress portray a mistress for years. Some black women do become a mistress in real life, correct? What is the problem. I feel like some black folks want us to be portrayed unrealistically perfect like we don’t do certain things or act a certain way when we all know we do. (not all of us but some of us) I’m just estatic that we have two successful show with the lead being a woman of color.

    • gigi

      Thank you. There’s an entire show on abc called Mistresses starring Alyssa Milano.

  • Jay Lane

    See this is where the conflation comes in. Nobody said a word about being perfect. However, I’m saying SEVERAL about complexity and depth of character. More succinctly, Ho $hit doesn’t = depth (or even interesting, for that matter). Can we get some balance? Do the precious few shows with a black female lead ALL have to have them being someone’s side piece? A side piece in Burberry but 2nd thoughts nonetheless. Hell no, I’m not entertained by that; I’m bored by it.

  • me

    Last night’s episode was the best one yet. I like how they have developed the characters. If people could see past that they would see it’s actually a good show that’s pretty realistic – especially the elements of Mary Jane’s family.

    • Yvette

      So true! There are several similar dynamics in my family that mirrors Mary Jane’s family.

  • Stefanie

    I agree with her 100% IT”S TV!!!!!

  • hollyw

    Thank you! It is a tv show, a good one at that! I grow so tired of [some] black folk criticizing anything that doesn’t show “the community” in a perfect light. It’s entertaining and also relatable to the successful, young black woman today…minus the adultery, but yes in the otherwise relationship messiness lol. Can we live?!

    • Yvette

      Thank you Hollyw. I was thinking the same thing. It’s like darned if they do, darned if they don’t. I remember reading numerous complains about there not being enough shows on the air with african americans. Now that we have it some folks want to criticize them to death. Shonda Rimes (Scandal) and Mara Brock Akil (Being Mary Jane) are brilliant writers and producers and I hope they continue to strive. I will continue to support them. One thing of many things that I have learned about this journey we call life is that you can’t please everyone so don’t even try.

  • Hump Day

    I don’t watch this show but I don’t understand the criticism of her character anyway. It’s a TV show and shouldn’t be taken seriously. Same thing with Scandal, Revenge and any other TV drama on the air right now. These networks are trying to make money! Point Blank Period. If every show was wholesome and clean cut then nobody would watch it. If someone doesn’t agree with the “message” being showed then you have every right not to watch the show, turn on PBS and keep it pushing.

    • currvalicious

      Thank You. you said that so well, no need to add anything more.

    • hollyw

      Exactly. Multiple shows with heroines; two are black and so they must be perfect, just like aaall of us black women are…lol? I get both BMJ and Scandal had adultery in it, but for BMJ, very briefly, and otherwise carries a pretty solid and different storyline. Smh we all watch tv for the same reason unless your favorite channel is the Discovery channel!

    • enlightenment

      Thank you! Who wants to watch someone who’s perfect, prim and proper? Haven’t people heard the expression “perfect is boring”?

  • FYI

    Her name is Robinne Lee with two “n’s”

  • Auntieruckus

    No accountability what’s so ever..