“Lifetime Movie Network” teamed up with the anchor to retell the life and story of the Great American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. Roberts, who also produced the documentary ‘Tuskegee Airmen” expressed gratitude for her partnership with Lifetime, for granting her the freedom and space to tell these types of stories. “Look, I love saying, ‘Good morning America.’ I love setting the tone for people in the morning, and to be able to inform people, enlighten people. But I needed to stretch another creative muscle.”
The revered icon and trailblazer, Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson born in New Orleans, Louisiana, is considered one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century and is known as the “Queen of Gospel Song.” Mahalia raised social conscience from the pulpit to the smallest and biggest “jook joints” across America with her resolute rich contralto soul-stirring vocals, letting everyone know about the suffering and injustices taking place across this nation.
The biopic is directed by Kenny Leon who prepared for the film by researching innumerable number of books and literature about Jackon’s life. He examined the history of Black theater in the U.S., the Tuskegee Airmen, and the essential works of influential Black writer James Baldwin. Leon explained “that all of this reading was essential to painting an accurate picture of the time period and to capturing what Jackson symbolized for so many people. So when people see this they will, of course, want to go and read more about her, but not just about her, about people that lived in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.”
Danielle Brooks was tapped to play the icon, and is elated to have been handpicked for such a major figure. Brooks, herself a very proud Southern women is an actress and singer who starred in the Broadway production of “The Color Purple.” “Mahalia a powerhouse of a singer, who also exuded excellence and grace with every ounce of her being. She knew that the only way to survive this world was to be a giver of love. What better way to celebrate this movie than with people whose spirits we love and artistry we respect.”
Make sure to tune in and watch the premiere –Robin Roberts Presents:” Mahalia” airing Saturday April 3, 8:00pm/ET 7:00pmCT on LifeTime Movie Network.