The highest form of representation is when it leads with authenticity. To ensure this mission for Black women, Hallmark created a first-of-its-kind collaboration. Based on the company’s longtime Black greeting cards, it launched a Mahogany banner, where Black storytelling can live to its fullest. The first film under the new banner is Unthinkably Good Things, which stars Karen Pittman.
Directed by Terri J. Vaughn and under Crown Media Production, the movie follows Allison, who reunites with her girlfriends in Italy during a pivotal time in both her career and love life. While she is left to make challenging decisions, her confidants Melina (Joyful Drake) and Reesa (Erica Ash) are at a crossroads in their own lives.
The cast also features Jermaine Love and Lance Gross. Unthinkably Good Things is executive produced by Korin D. Williams, Monique Nash, and Cristina Giubbetti. David Wulf serves as the producer and the script is by Cas Sigers-Beedles.
The Mahogany banner is telling universal, relatable stories through Black voices and lenses.
For Vaughn, the storyline centering around friendship is a reflection of her everyday life. From the way Black women interact to their signature hairstyles, the director, along with her team, was committed to the film being as real as possible.
“I wanted to make sure that I didn’t water down any of our sass. That was really important to me,” Vaughn recently shared with Shadow and Act. “One of the characters wears braids in the movie, like that was important to me. I really wanted to make sure that we got permission to do that, so I really fought for that. Knowing that we had to fit it in the Hallmark brand, but being able to merge the two…but not being so shell shocked that it’s so outside of the brand. And that the girls felt free and had fun and were able to be themselves. Not have to be inside of a box that was created for them, but that they can breathe and put their sauce and flavor on it.”
Black women led throughout the film’s production, and they also played a significant role in making the dream even become reality.
Toni Judkins, Crown Media’s senior vice president of programming development, was instrumental in the banner being birthed alongside Wonya Lucas and the Hallmark team. As an avid fan of Hallmark’s Mahogany herself, the veteran programming executive was eager to bring the cards’ experience tenfold to the screen.
“I wanted to take that experience and the knowledge that I’ve gained over my career and create content for Black women that they would look at it and say, ‘This is for me,'” she expressed. “That’s what I truly believe Unthinkably Good Things is and the films that will follow that African American women will look at it and they will see that it fits on Hallmark, but it is definitely for me.”
Before even knowing she would be directing the film, Vaughn got to watch how things all came together thanks to Judkins’ vision.
“It was exciting for me to just know that somebody that’s in a position that can greenlight the movie that she was so into making sure that we were authentically telling a story about Black women and how we move, look, do our hair, dress, and vibe with each other. Being a part of that I just feel like I’m so in my purpose because this is all I want to do.”
Mahogany fans can expect more films before the year closes out including a To Her, With Love (September) that is a nod to Sidney Poitier’s 1967 film To Sir, with Love. It’s a story that centers around romance, as well as how educators help students expand their dreams. Additionally, the first Mahogany Christmas film is set for December.
“With all the streamers, the cable channels, and everyone making content in the African American space — and in every space — [we were] able to carve out this lane where you can come and say, ‘I want to feel good. I want to lean into love, hope, and possibilities.'”
Unthinkably Good Things is now airing on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.