“I keep my Mahogany cards,” writer Cas Sigers Beedles shared during a TCA press conference for Unthinkably Good Things, the first Mahogany-branded film from Hallmark. First introduced in 1987, the Mahogany card line has provided meaningful messages for African Americans, with notably contributors including Jill Scott, Maya Angelou, T.D. Jakes, and Iyanla Vanzant. “My sister has had a battle with breast cancer and so I just remember specifically going to the Mahogany cards and wanting a card that made her feel like this is for me and not just a generic card. I remember canvassing the aisles, and finding that perfect card… That card is very special for me.”
Cas Sigers Beedles drew inspiration not only from Hallmark’s line of Mahogany cards, but also from her own life. “My character, Melina, she was really going through a life-altering situation, having overcome breast cancer,” actress Joyful Drake revealed. “I have a friend who was dealing with breast cancer and she kind of kept it to herself and we found out after everything was fine. So for this character to really lean on her friends for that support and them to ultimately bring her out of her shell and back to life, it really attracted me as an actor because I think we've all gone through certain things that have demurred our spirit a little bit. I don't think Melina would have come out of that if it wasn't for her two besties.”
Unthinkably Good Things debuts on Sunday, August 28th, at 9/8c on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and represents the core values of the Mahogany line. “Friendship, family, community, and love through the unique lens of Black women,” explained Wonya Lucas, Crown Media Family Networks President and CEO who assumed this role in 2020 and pitched a line of Mahogany films during her interview. Spearheading the initiative is Toni Judkins, Senior Vice President of Programming for Mahogany films.
“What was important was to fuse essential elements of the Hallmark brand with the Mahogany brand,” Toni Judkins shared about the approach, with two more Mahogany films coming soon. “It’s about finding magic in the middle of whatever you're going through, whatever decision that you're trying to make at a particular point in your life. Being if you've retired from the military or if you're making a decision where you've stumbled upon a love that you haven't even recognized is a great love that makes that decision a little bit harder for you to make. Or if you're recovering from an illness, believe it or not there is magic within all of that.”
The film’s main character is Allison, played by Karen Pittman, who is on a work assignment in Italy when her two best friends pay her a visit. “One of the great parts about this story is the importance of not just friendship, but in the African American community we call it sisterhood because it’s more than just being friends,” Karen explained. “It’s more than, just caring about each other. It’s feeling connected and being family with each other.” Filming in Italy helped the cast bond like sisters. “Whenever you're traveling with someone it becomes the test of what that friendship and what that experience and relationship is going to be. And it was just so joyful.”
Helming the first Mahogany film is director Teddi J. Vaughn. “It was important for us to stay true to the brand but introduce something new that represented us and how we move and how we flow and how we talk, how we laugh, but still making sure that we were honoring the brand that has been around and very successful for so many years,” Teddi explained. “Toni had a lot to do with that, making sure that as we were going forward and shooting everything that we stay true to what the brand was… It was very important that we stayed authentic. When we went into this, we definitely were focused on telling an authentic story about a friendship between these three women.”
“I hope that everyone can see this movie and see themselves represented in it,” shared executive producer Korin D. Williams. “It’s for the masses as well. They get to see movies that all people can relate to because it’s about friendship at the end of the day. And it’s about learning about female friendships, and so I hope that everybody can look at this movie and see what we get to do, how we interact, and treasure and value that.” With so many Black women both on screen and behind the camera, it was a special project for executive producer Monique Nash as well. “We really recognize how special it was to be in this great group of women making this beautiful film,” Monique added. “It’s something that has been all too rare and we’re just so grateful to have now an avenue where this is the norm. Really creating a new normal and blazing a path forward.”
Don’t miss Hallmark’s first Mahogany film Unthinkably Good Things premiering tonight at 9/8c on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.