( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Lifetime’s “Mahalia” Showed Life of Gospel Singer Mahalia Jackson With Danielle Brooks, Olivia Washington, Joaquina Kalukango, Jason Dirden, and Rob Demery
ENSPIRE Contributor: Octavia Johnson
Lifetime’s highly anticipated gospel biopic “Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia,” premiered April 3 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Starring in the film is Broadway stars including Tony® nominee Joaquina Kalukango (Slave Play), Jason Dirden (Fences), Olivia Washington (The Butler), and Rob Demery (Lovecraft Country) and directed by Tony® Award-winner Kenny Leon and stars Tony Award nominee, SAG and Grammy® Award-winning actress Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black) as the gospel legend and civil rights trailblazer.
Born in New Orleans, Mahalia Jackson began singing at an early age and went on to become one of the most revered gospel figures in U.S. history, melding her music with the Civil Rights Movement. Her recording of the song “Move on Up a Little Higher” sold millions of copies, skyrocketing her to international fame, and allowed her to perform in diverse settings including in front of a racially integrated audience at the prestigious Carnegie Hall and John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball. An active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, Jackson sang at numerous rallies, including the March on Washington in 1963 alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in hopes that her music would encourage and inspire racial equality.
From Rock’n Robin Productions and Lincoln Square Productions, “Mahalia” is executive produced by Robin Roberts and Linda Berman. Danielle Brooks and Kenny Leon are co-executive producers. Leon directs from a script written by Bettina Gilois and Todd Kreidler.