Netflix has brought Girlfriends to its platform just in time for the series’ 20th anniversary. The series is the brainchild of Mara Brock Akil and includes a lot of references to people and shows that influenced her life. Check out three little-known facts about the series and Akil below.

1. The girlfriends are named after powerful Black figures

Akil revealed in a 2017 Instagram post that she named the main four characters after Black role models who positively affected her life.

“For the pilot of #Girlfriends I only had the name of one character…#Joan,” she wrote. “I named the #heartbeat of the show after my #mother, the woman who is my biggest champion and supporter.”

The other women on the show are named after influential Black authors. Toni, she wrote, was named after Toni Morrison, Maya after Maya Angelou and Lynn after E. Lynn Harris.

2. Moesha‘s connection to Girlfriends

Akil revealed Sunday on Instagram that her first episode of television was written for Moesha.

While reflecting on Girlfriends‘ 20th anniversary and its current streaming run on Netflix, Akil wrote, “This picture is of me on the night my first ever episode of TV was produced. I was a #staffwriter on #Moesha and my episode was entitled #TheJob. Such a full circle moment.”

Akil’s mark on the show can be felt in That’s My Mama, in which Golden Brooks’ character Maya made a cameo. Maya’s husband Darnell (Khalil Kain) and son Jabari (Kendre Berry) also made appearances as well.

3. Akil’s inspirations for Girlfriends

A lot of fans have compared Girlfriends to Sex and the City for years. Turns out, the comparisons are apt. Akil was inspired to create the series after seeing Sex and the City‘s lack of representation. She also drew from her love of Living Single.

“…[W]hen I saw Sex and The City, I didn’t see myself represented,” Akil told Vibe in an interview. “Also, the type of shows that were on for Black people were more like family sitcoms. I wanted to do sophisticated [shows] for young adults. Yvette Lee Bowser had Living Single, and I wanted to build upon that and do something sexier and edgier. I thought, ‘My friends are a lot like that’ and that’s what motivated me to create Girlfriends.”

Girlfriends is currently streaming on Netflix.


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